Photograph of the Marsfield site in Sydney, NSW.

The Marsfield site in Sydney, NSW, is headquarters of the CSIRO ICT Centre and CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science.

Sydney: Marsfield, NSW (Radiophysics Laboratory)

On CSIRO’s Marsfield site are the headquarters of the CSIRO ICT Centre and CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (formerly the Australia Telescope National Facility, ATNF).

  • 14 July 2010 | Updated 28 June 2012

This site opened as the radiophysics laboratory in 1968.

Our work here has spanned topics from fast spinning neutron stars and giant galactic structures to the fastest wireless communications networks and tiny microchip receivers.

Location summary

CSIRO’s Marsfield site, approximately 20 kilometres north-west of Sydney, houses some 210 research staff working on astronomy and information and communication technologies (ICT).

On this site are the headquarters of:

  • CSIRO ICT Centre
  • CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS, formerly the Australia Telescope National Facility, ATNF).

Making history

Several landmark technologies were developed on this site, including:

  • high speed indoor wireless local area networks (WLAN, now known as Wi-Fi)
    It was at this site that a team of researchers (several with backgrounds in radioastronomy) figured out how to transmit large amounts of data wirelessly at high speed indoors. Their solution, embodied in international standards and now used in billions of laptops and smart-phones worldwide, is hailed as one of the most significant achievements in CSIRO’s history.

  • world-leading multigigabit wireless link
    In a world first, CSIRO transmitted data over a point-to-point wireless link at six gigabits per second with no perceptible delays or loss of quality. The demonstrator, here at Marsfield, uses 16 simultaneous streams of DVD quality video – just a quarter of the capacity of the link.

  • seeing the glow of radio
    CSIRO astronomers have made visible the hidden glow coming from a galaxy 14 million light years away. At the heart of Centaurus A is a monster black hole jetting invisible radio-emitting particles millions of light years into space. The team, based at Marsfield, observed the galaxy for more than 1200 hours over several years. A further 10 000 hours of processing time resulted in the most highly detailed image of a jetting radio galaxy ever made

Research activities

ICT Centre

The ICT Centre leverages the potential of ICT-enabled scientific innovation for all Australian industries.

At Marsfield, our research includes:

  • wireless broadband communications
  • smart wireless sensor networks for environmental monitoring
  • tracking in challenging places (such as underground and disaster zones)
  • computer networking protocols that guarantee good quality of service and make efficient use of bandwidth
  • text searching tools to help us find the information we’re looking for
  • automatic expression recognition technology to help clinicians spot a patient in pain
  • collaborative computer environments so people in different locations can work together on complex information.

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) provide technology and services for radio astronomy, spacecraft tracking and space sciences, and undertakes world leading astronomical research.

From this site, we manage three radio-astronomy observatories, including the famous ‘Dish’ at Parkes. We are also developing a fourth: the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, where we are building the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and contributing to the development of the Square Kilometre Array.

In our labs we design and build much of the technology used on our telescopes, such as receivers and electronic data processing systems.

Our astronomers perform their scientific research using both our own telescopes and those of other organisations.


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