IPv6 was declared a winner this week, by backers and sceptics alike, as it streamed the Melbourne Cup in a live multicast to a crowd attending the IPv6 summit in Canberra.
The digital TV signal was picked up in Yarrulumla about 2 kilometres away from the National Convention Centre with a pair of rabbit ears on an engineer's desk.
"It was then injected into GrangeNet over an IPv6 multicast, so it came in across the fibre straight across the floor and into the projection screen on our access grid. Because it came through an access grid it was also broadcast to people watching [the multicast] in Townsville, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth," said GrangeNet's executive director Paul Davis. "So that's a world first."
GrangeNet started building its 10Gbps native IPv6 network in March 2002 with funding from the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) and was launched seven months later.
A number of scientists and researchers are now developing projects that rely on GrangeNet's network. Programs range from an endangered language and linguistics study, to a telemicroscopy where microscopes right across Australia are connected to GrangeNet's high performance IPv6 network.
"We have a tremendous range of people now using our network for exciting projects - particle physicists, astronomers, even sporting coaches," said Davis.
GrangeNet has recently been granted additional funding to extend its network further until December 2006. Earlier this year, GrangeNet updated its network by putting in some TDM optical switching.
"We did that because we are a high-performance network, not just one with big bandwidth. It's incredibly important, especially in real-time science that the latency and jitter is as small as we can possibly make it," Davis said.
"We're running two-and-a-half milliseconds of latency between Canberra and Sydney and jitter that is almost impossible to measure. We've also got stacks of headroom which is needed in research for moving terabytes of data from point to point quickly and suddenly."
Based on Cisco ONS15454 switches, the extended network aims to enhance the collaboration potential by extending the service offerings from traditional R&E (Layer 3) to include LANs (Layer 2) and Light-Paths (Layer 1).