PIPE’s Great Brisbane Duck Race Entry

PIPE has entered a duck in the Great Brisbane Duck Race.  Ordinarily this would be a $5 affair, with our duck competing against 24,999 other ducks in a competition to float merrily down the river.  This year, however, there is also a corporate version in which the ducks are larger – about a foot long, and rubber.  Also modifications are legal and encouraged.

So we set about thinking how we could do this.  After many discussions about the ‘how’ (and a few about the ‘why’) of getting a duck 100m down the river, one of our staff, Chris, realised he had two old RC helicopters at home that didn’t really work so well that could be gutted for parts.

After building a prototype, we had enough of a working proof of concept.  After fitting the propellers, it became obvious that they could move a serious amount of water.  And the duck could move.  Not very far in laundry tub, but move.  After cutting the excess metal off to balance it out, it looked a lot better, and after cutting a port-hole and sealing all the electronics inside it, it was ready for the first run in the water, and looked far less monstrous.

Testing it out in a fountain nearby showed that it definitely worked, but has stability issues.  Front-mounted skis and a keel were fitted.  We were ready for the second round of testing, and looking more professional every minute.  We also fitted a wireless camera, hooked up to a video capture card, so it could be piloted using a laptop from a great distance.  Now we were ready to test in the water (see video above).

The modifications described in the testing have all been performed, minus the passive stabilisers which turned out to be unnecessary.

Now it’s time to see what it can do against the competition!  Thanks to all staff that contributed their time, skills and ideas to this project – it has been a wonderful experience.  Everyone has had an opinion on how it could be done and how the problems could be solved.

Special thanks to:

- Jenny-Lee, for organising our entry and managing the event;
- Dale and Matt, for design considerations and technical implementation advice;
- Chris, who actually built the thing; and
- Heather & Sara, for their assistance in building and testing.

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B2 Training

The PIPE team is hard at it again, this time getting their last batch of hands-on training on the Tyco system.  This is the last formal training session to be conducted and sees all three cable stations completing the training at the same time.  It focuses on the processes and procedures for using and maintaining the systems and backs up the largely theoretical B1 training completed a few months ago.

In the picture above you can see Lee flat on his back carrying out the inspection of some high voltage terminals in the PFE after Matt and John had completed an exercise in changing a high voltage module in one of the converters.

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What is Forward Error Correction?

Forward Error Correction essentially improves the quality of a signal.  It works by adding error-correcting code to the incoming signal.  The client signals on the SLTE are clocked at the STM64 receiver at a rate of 9.95328 Gbit/s.  Error-correcting code is added to the incoming signal that increases the line rate of this bit stream to just over 12 Gbit/s.  Reed Solomon coding is one example of an algorithm used.  Recall the BER vs. Q relationship described in a previous blog entry and how the channel BER was determined by the Q of the channel.  With a forward error-correcting code added to the signal, the receiver can correct error rates as high as 1E-3 to better than 1E-13.  The Q required to achieve a set BER can be improved by over 8 db!

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PPC-1 Successfully Transmits IP Packets between Australia and the USA via Guam

PIPE Networks Limited (ASX: PWK) subsidiary, PIPE International (Australia) Pty Ltd today announced that PPC-1 has successfully completed another major milestone by transmitting Internet Protocol (IP) packets end to end between Australia and the USA via Guam.

PIPE International in partnership with Australian internet innovator Internode Pty Ltd established IP connectivity from Sydney to San Jose via Guam with initial tests proving to be completely successful.

“The PPC-1 project has been an extraordinary journey ‘full of firsts’, however we are delighted that this has been the ‘first’ that we are able to share with one of our foundation customers, Internode”, said Mr Slattery, CEO of PIPE Networks Ltd.

Simon Hackett (pictured), Managing Director of Internode said that PPC-1 passed its first tests with flying colours. “PPC-1 has successfully demonstrated its performance by allowing Internode to send Internet Protocol (IP) packets end-to-end between Australia and the USA via Guam”, he said.

“As the first customer to successfully trial PPC-1 ahead of its official launch on the 8th October 2009, Internode is completely confident in PPC-1′s readiness for official handover to foundation customers, including Internode on October 8″, Mr Hackett said.

Since PPC-1 passed first light on 23 August 2009, the teams at PIPE International and Tyco have been undertaking a rigorous testing regime on the system including full capacity testing, commissioning and acceptance testing of the Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) and Power Feed Equipment (PFE), and in the past week exhaustive confidence trials.  With these trials now nearing completion, PPC-1 has also been able to interconnect onward capacity from Tata Telecommunications to create end-to-end connectivity between Australia and the United States for testing.

The cable system remains on track for official handover to foundation customers on 8th October, 2009.

For further information please visit PPC-1 blog at www.pipeinternational.com.

About PIPE International

PIPE International, a subsidiary of PIPE Networks Limited (ASX: PWK) provides secured and fast international bandwidth from Australia to the US and Asia.  PIPE International is in the process of constructing the first carrier neutral submarine cable “PIPE Pacific Cable (PPC-1)” which is expected to be fully operational from 8th October 2009.  PPC-1 represents a significant milestone in the Australian telecommunications industry, as it has the potential to increase competition for international data traffic and offer true diversity to the US and Asia.

For further information please visit www.pipeinternational.com.

About PIPE Networks

PIPE Networks Limited (ASX:PWK) is a leading facilities-based telecommunications service provider in Australia.  The company owns the third largest metropolitan fibre optic network in Australia connecting to key strategic IT infrastructure locations.

Since its inception in 2002, the company has delivered sustainable revenue and profitability growth by offering reliable and cost effective dark fibre, managed ethernet, telehousing and peering products to internet service providers (ISPs), corporate customers and Government departments.

For further information please visit www.pipenetworks.com.au.

About Internode

Internode is a first tier IP carrier committed to using broadband technology to redefine the national telecommunications environment.  The Australian-owned company is a trailblazer that delivers broadband services to individuals and businesses throughout Australia.

Follow Internode online at www.internode.on.net/about/follow_us_online.

3 comments – Latest by:
  • trevor haney
    Well done Bevan and team.Have a wonderful launch (and lunch) on the eighth.Best of luck for your future
  • Darren Stephens
    Great to See some real traffic passing through the cable (even if it is in test mode). Im sure Simon ...

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Confidence Trial Complete

Over the weekend the Confidence Trial came to an end.  The results from the Confidence Trial will be compiled into a report which is called the ‘Commissioning Report’.  The results will be reviewed for conformity with the specifications.  Given the indications to date there are not expected to be any significant issues.

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Testing Explanation

Lars gives an update on the testing.

2 comments – Latest by:
  • Joel
    Cool Video! Thanks to PIPE networks for providing this video. I am currently studying a Diploma in Network and its good ...
  • Ben Gamari
    Thanks for the video. It's really a treat to see the actual equipment being used for this sort of work.

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Confidence Trial Underway

Over the past three weeks or so the majority of the commissioning and acceptance tests and demonstrations have been completed.  On Saturday we reached one of the few remaining milestones: the seven day confidence trial began (the “Confidence Trial”).  The Confidence Trial is concerned with recording performance data on the system over a seven day period with a view to confirming that the system meets the overall system objective (amongst other things).  At the completion of the Confidence Trial some more training will be undertaken prior to the launch.

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Tokyo POP Online!

Following Matt and Lee’s whirlwind stop in San Jose, they jumped straight on a plane and headed to Tokyo to set up the site there.  The boys arrived on Saturday night and went straight to work, getting tours, access and inductions out of the way.  The work started in earnest on Sunday and by Sunday night the site was 99% complete.  The job was an identical setup to San Jose and whilst Lee got the Cisco 15454 chassis working, Matt hit the fibre patch cords to label, clean, inspect and run required to make sure everything was perfect.  After the equipment was installed connectivity from Guam was established.

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San Jose POP Online!

At 9pm last Friday night (Brisbane time) the San Jose POP for PPC-1 came online.  After Matt and Lee installed all the equipment in San Jose they connected the POP up.  In the picture above, you can see Lee inserting the 10G cards into the Cisco equipment.

In addition to installing and connecting the equipment, 42 circuits worth of patch cords were also labelled, recorded, cleaned and installed ready for delivering services to our customers.  In fact, the patch cord installation was almost ¾ of the work!  The DCN network also had to be connected and tested, along with our environmental monitoring solution.  Finally, a number of administrative tasks were completed, such as naming the devices and asset tagging everything.

Following this, the final test before packing up was to prove that the connectivity between Guam and San Jose works.  It did and everything came up first time.  Matt and Lee then headed en route to Tokyo to complete the POP in Japan.

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San Jose – Equipment Installed

Over the weekend Matt and Lee went to San Jose and Tokyo to connect up the onwards capacity (from Guam to Japan and mainland USA).  Their first stop was San Jose.  There they unpacked and installed the Cisco 15454 chassis along with its transmission cards and optics.  They’re presently heading back to Australia but we’ll put up some posts of them connecting up the San Jose and Tokyo sites in the next couple of blog posts.

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