Lucent opens wireless R&D in Sydney

Lucent Technologies is expanding its research and development capabilities in Australia with the introduction of a wireless research division in Sydney.

Positioned under the Bell Labs Australia umbrella, the new division will focus on mobile technologies, specifically third generation wireless technologies for the Asian region, Chris Nicol, head of wireless research, Bell Labs Australia, said.

"The Asia-Pacific region is a very important region, particularly for wireless technologies," Nicol said.

"The telecommunications market in Australia, because of the recent deregulation, has opened up the competition and allowed new entrants to come into those markets and they come in initially to provide high-quality digital services. They don't need to worry too much about the migration path from analog -- [they] come straight in offering digital services," he said.

Other goals for the division include furthering the international reputation of Bell Labs Australia, working more closely with customers on developments, and collaborating with local and international institutions on research, Nicol said.

According to Nicol, the Sydney division plans to work closely with Bell Labs in the US; Lucent Technologies Wireless Research divisions in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands; and local institutions including Telstra Research Laboratories and the University of New South Wales.

"There's . . . a significant amount of expertise in Australia," Nicol said.

"In our opinion, there is a relatively untapped resource here."

Nicol told Computerworld that, while the wireless division will concentrate on a variety of technologies, including GPRS (Generalised Packet Radio System), third generation wireless technologies and integrated circuits will be the main focus.

"The driving force for 3G is clearly mobile internet access. The way the internet is going there will be higher and higher data rates," he said.

Nicol said the initial focus for the division will be research and development of circuits and technologies inside wireless devices. However, Nicol said he is "working on" building up product development capabilities in Australia.

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