Next time you grab a coffee and watch a video on the superfast Swinburne wireless network, spare a thought for the hardworking researchers at CSIRO.
WiFi is everywhere. Consumers worldwide have bought more than 3 billion products that use the technology, including smartphones, laptop computers, games consoles, digital cameras and printers. You might even be using it to read this post.
But what very few people acknowledge is that WiFi was invented by Australian researchers at CSIRO way back in the 1990s. A team led by John O'Sullivan and including Terry Percival, Diet Ostry, Graham Daniels and John Deane created the technology at the agency's Marsfield office in Sydney in what was then called the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics.
And it's worth a packet (pardon the pun). CSIRO has just settled litigation against three US companies who have been using their wireless local area network (WLAN) technology without a licence. The national science body will receive $220m from AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA---the biggest mobile operators in the US. They've previously successfully sued for $205m from 14 other companies including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Total revenue from the technology has already surpassed $430m.
Just goes to show the importance of patenting your inventions.
Read more on the CSIRO wireless LANs website.Image credit: flickr/woodleywonderworks