ECM Faculty Focus
The Faculty wishes to offer our congratulations to WATRI's (Western Australia Telecommunications Research Institute) Research Director, Professor Antonio Cantoni and Adjunct Professor Zigmantas Budrikis who together with Avonlea's Manager/Consultant, Professor John Hullett, were awarded a Clunies Ross Award by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).
The award was given in recognition of excellence in the application of science and technology for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Australia.
At the heart of solving crucial broadband congestion problems is the work of three Perth inventors, which has netted massive revenue from major international communications companies.
The problem of congestion arises because packets of data over the broadband internet are transmitted in segmented form by much smaller component cells. One cell lost due to congestion overload therefore destroys the whole associated packet, producing a drastic cell loss multiplier effect (‘cell loss tyranny') which can reduce network goodput - or throughput of useable data ‘cells' - to zero.
The invention by Zigmantas Budrikis, Antonio Cantoni and John Hullett can maintain goodput at 100 per cent during overload by ensuring no component cells of destroyed packets can be transmitted. The solution is known as Early Packet Discard.
Their invention was assigned to Curtin University of Technology in 1997 and subsequently transferred to Australian company QPSX Communication. It has been taken up by most major international communications switch manufacturers, including Alcatel Lucent, Nortel, Cicso Systems, Juniper Networks, Ciena and R&D Data Comms for payments to date topping US$35 million.
The achievement was made against significant odds in the face of scepticism in a highly competitive international telecommunications R&D and standards environment dominated by well-resourced multinational corporations and development laboratories.
QPSX had its genesis more than 20 years ago as joint venture between the University of WA and Telecom (now Telstra) formed to develop the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) developed in prototype by a research group led by Professors Budrikis and Hullett.
The QPSX MAN became an international standard, the first for an Australian telecommunications technology, and attests to the talents of QPSX's first Chief Design Engineer, Professor Cantoni; Director Research and Standards, Professor Budrikis; and Technical and Executive Director and Director Strategic Planning, Professor Hullett - with all three holding concurrent university appointments.
The QPSX MAN represented the first step on the path to wide area broadband internetworking and has positioned Professors Budrikis, Cantoni and Hullett at the forefront of network technology their R&D and commercialisation leadership in the Australian Telecommunications Research Institute, established in 1992, the CRC for Broadband Telecommunications and Networking (1993), Atmosphere Networks Inc (1997), Australian Telecommunications CRC (1999) and the Western Australian Telecommunications Research Institute (2000).