Australian Lightwave Infrastructure Research Testbed (ALIRT)

The Australian Lightwave Infrastructure Research Testbed (ALIRT) is a laboratory that spans the whole Melbourne metropolitan area – where a small portion of Melbourne’s optical fibre network is set aside for collaborative research.

The testbed consists of a continuous 76.6km loop of fibre formed from already-installed fibre – just like the fibre being used in the NBN. The loop connects world leading communications research laboratories at RMIT University in the Melbourne CBD and Monash University in Clayton.

Why is the testbed so important?

The testbed allows us to do 'field research' to investigate new approaches to continually increase the amount the data capacity of existing optical fibre networks.

Then, when we demonstrate breakthrough ideas and approaches on the testbed, we can have confidence that these technologies can be translated into identical fibres that are already installed across Australia (and around the world). This enables us to dramatically upgrade our internet capacity without needing to lay new fibres.

With access to the testbed, it allows our research team to think of new ideas, create photonic chips, and then test them in a real-world environment with our peers, all in a matter of weeks.

What can we use the testbed for?

A team including researchers from Swinburne, RMIT and Monash used this testbed to demonstrate the world’s fastest internet speed over a single mode optical fibre at 44.2 Terabits per second (equivalent to around 1000 high-definition movies in a split second). Read the full story here.

Who funded the testbed?

The testbed infrastructure was established with investment from the Australian Research Council (ARC LE170100160) by a consortium led by Dist. Prof Arnan Mitchell at RMIT University, in partnership with Melbourne University, Monash University and AARNet.

Who can use the testbed?

Anyone who works with the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC) can access the testbed. InPAC works with high quality businesses and end-users to help Australia compete with the world using advanced hardware (like photonic chips).

At the Centre we work with industry to design, prototype and scale-up these photonic chips to make new products. Now the testbed allows us, and our users, to rapidly test new ideas in a real-world setting, all in a matter of weeks.

Please contact the team for more information about how to work with us.