Blog icon

3 August 2016 News Release

In its only east coast venue, A History of the World in 100 Objects will showcase items from around the globe to explore the last two million years of human history, sourcing the oldest objects from the British Museum's collection and incorporating those from the present day.

The National Museum has chosen to include a 101st object representing a globally recognised Australian innovation.

The ground breaking CSIRO wireless local area network (WLAN) Test Bed (the precursor to modern Wi-Fi) is the Australian object featuring in the Canberra exhibition.

In 1992, researchers from CSIRO’s then Radiophysics Division developed a technological breakthrough in advanced WLAN.

Their WLAN invention increased indoor wireless data transmission rates from 10 megabits per second (10 Mbits/s) to greater than 50 megabits per second (50 Mbits/s) and prevented the distortion of the signal, as the radio waves bounced off walls and furniture.

National Museum senior curator Dr Michael Pickering said the WLAN invention is a fitting 101st object in the exhibition because it revolutionised the way people all over the world communicate.

"The CSIRO's practical solution for high speed data transmission was a commercial success and laid the foundation for Wi-Fi, which in turn led to today's laptop and liberated users from the desktop computer," said Dr Pickering.

"The scientific discovery of Wi-Fi is a perfect example of how research undertaken right here in Australia, by CSIRO, is having a significant positive impact across the globe," said Mr Brendan Dalton, Chief Information Officer, CSIRO.

"It is particularly fitting that Wi-Fi be selected for recognition in this exhibition, as this year marks 100 years since the first Australian national scientific body was formed, a precursor to CSIRO. It's an opportunity for Australia to celebrate a century of significant scientific breakthroughs, which of course includes Wi-Fi," said Mr Dalton.

The WLAN team consisted of John O'Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane.

In 2011, CSIRO donated the four main hardware components used in the original WLAN prototype test-bed, to the National Museum.

The presentation of this exhibition is a collaboration between the British Museum, the Western Australian Museum and the National Museum of Australia.


CSIRO's WLAN team in May 2012. From left, Diet Ostry, Graham Daniels, John Deane, John O'Sullivan and Terry Percival.
CSIRO's WLAN team with the WLAN testbed, May 2012. From left, Terry Percival, John Deane, Diet Ostry, Graham Daniels and John O'Sullivan.
CSIRO's WLAN team in May 2012. From left, Graham Daniels, Diet Ostry, Terry Percival, John Deane and John O'Sullivan.

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and our Privacy Policy.

First name must be filled in

Surname must be filled in

I am representing *

Please choose an option

Please provide a subject for the enquriy

0 / 100

We'll need to know what you want to contact us about so we can give you an answer

0 / 1900

You shouldn't be able to see this field. Please try again and leave the field blank.