ACoRN Research Portfolio

The ACoRN Network is concentrated on the following main Themes. Each theme spans several research areas. You can also find more detail on individual research disciplines and applications in the Research Areas and Application Areas sections.

Mobile and Wireless Data Communications

Third-generation mobile communications systems are slowly unfolding worldwide. It is foreseen that a much harder path to success is to be encountered as compared to the instant success of existing second generation systems. This is due to a change of focus from voice services to multimedia communication over the Internet, requiring higher transfer rates and better quality of service. In addition, high-speed Wireless Local Area Networks are developing into a viable alternative, complementing 3G cellular networks. The desire to communicate freely and flexibly, inspired by the widespread use of the wired Internet, points to a structure of multi-layered ad hoc networks, as opposed to a rigid cellular architecture. End users such as equipment manufacturers, network providers, service providers and ultimately consumers will benefit from increased Australian strengths in this area.

Rural Communications

Australia's unique environment creates particular problems for the supply of telecommunications services to remote areas. While broadband communication uptake is increasing rapidly in metropolitan areas, there is a significant fraction of remote and rural Australia for which terrestrial communications approaches (such as fibre and microwave links) will remain too expensive. The supply of cost-effective broadband communications to such remote areas will require the combination of several technologies, such as satellite communications, wireless data networks and backbone fiber trunks. This enforces a multi-disciplinary approach. Provision of broadband communications infrastructure to rural areas is a necessary step towards increased use of Information and Communication Technologies, which have enormous potential to drive growth and industry.

Broadband and Optical Fixed Networks

The overwhelming success of the Internet has lead to an explosive growth in internet-traffic over the last decade. This success has been self-enforcing with Internet and telecommunications providers offering ever-increasing high-speed customer links, fuelling a demand for broadband communications. Applications include fast access to the Internet, video conference, interactive multimedia, and video-on-demand.

Typically, backbone telecommunications infrastructure relies on optical networks and wired distribution to the user's premises. The challenges ahead are found both for broadband access to the home and for high-speed, scalable optical networks. Confronting the two challenges of developing communications signal processing devices and tools for optical transmission, and designing simplified network architectures and management approaches providing scalable solutions calls for a multi-disciplinary front. Collaboration across areas of excellence in photonics and optical networks and areas of excellence in information theory, communication theory and signal processing provides a powerful constellation for innovative steps forward.

Fundamentals of Emerging Media

At the interface between communications theory and physics lies the development of new communications media, such as quantum channels, space-time channels and photonic channels. The development of such new physical media has in recent years driven enormous research and development activity. This is indicative of "breakthrough" technology which causes a re-think of the standard ways of communicating.

Deep investigation of the theoretical and empirical properties of physical communications channels lead to fundamental philosophical and technological questions. How do physical laws and the theory of information interact? With each new communications channel comes a whole range of problems - what is the information carrying capacity of the channel? How do we design effective, affordable means for communication over these channels? How do we exploit the special properties of the channel?

The above themes span several research areas. You can find more detail on individual research disciplines and applications in the Research Areas and Application Areas sections.