QUDIT run the annual QUESTnet conference to promote and advance the development and use of Information and Communications Technologies in Higher Education and Research in Queensland.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the universities in Queensland were at the forefront – indeed bleeding edge – of the development of computer communications and networking. The introduction of “time sharing” computers in the 1970’s led to the development of the earliest, simple networks and in 1981 the first 10Mbps Ethernet in the southern hemisphere was installed at the University of Queensland.
QUESTnet arose as an informal forum of the universities in Queensland for their network developments. They had to develop the knowledge and skills of their own staff in these technologies to be able to proceed as there was no one who could teach them. So they arranged a series of technical meetings, forums and workshops to this end. QUESTnet also became the informal umbrella group for the development of intra-University networks, continuing with these dual roles for some 20 years.
The staff development forums became the annual “QUESTnet Winter Workshop” which, in turn, grew into the QUESTnet Annual Conference, run since 1994. Now one of the premier networking conferences in Australia, it attracts in excess of 350 delegates each year. Like the earlier workshops, each conference is organised by one of the Universities and planned to run on a break-even basis. It always focuses on staff development, with hands-on workshops, as well as papers from invited overseas and local speakers. This conference is strongly supported by the University ICT sector in Australia, AARNet Pty Ltd (APL), the company that operates Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet), and the ICT industry which assists with sponsorship to help keep costs down.
By 1999, the development, operation and maintenance of the intra-university networks had become a major activity and the need for development of staff knowledge and skills widened dramatically with the Universities still taking a lead in developing advanced network applications. After some consideration the Universities decided to split the two functions. The network development was held within the University framework under the banner of the Queensland Regional Network Organisation (QRNO). In July 2001 QUESTnet was set up as a separate group with its own constitution and finances to expand the role of staff development and develop other areas of common interest.
The group agreed to initially expand the training via a series of workshops on current topics during the year. These are to be kept “in house” for the first couple of years to get them running smoothly and then to be opened up to other organisations. In 2002, the first year of this new operation, three workshops were run in addition to the annual conference. Free to members, attendance at the workshops ranged from 20 to 55.
Workshops run to date include Application Level (Layer 7) Firewalls and Switches, IT Project Management, Campus Network Design, Directory Services, Services Consolidation, SPAM, Access Grids, and Network & Systems Monitoring. The workshops scheduled for 2005 are Benchmarking, CiscoWorks Network Management, Enterprise Architecture Development, and Security Audit Tools.
In 2002 the federal Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) established the Higher Education Bandwidth Advisory Committee (HEBAC) to review the needs for high bandwidth communication links for research. QUESTnet members provided input t0 the QRNO report submitted to HEBAC. Key elements of the QRNO report were included in the HEBAC report to DEST and resulted in a federal government grant of $5.5M to QRNO towards the first stage development to connect regional Universities. This submission led to the implementation of high bandwidth fibre services to Central Queensland University in Rockhampton, James Cook University in Townsville, and Grangenet PoPs in Brisbane. Stage 2 of the network is under development.
In 2003 QUESTnet was registered as a charity.
QUESTnet continues to run workshops, the annual conference, and to lobby for improved services for its member universities.
Previous QUESTnet Conferences
- THETA/QUESTnet 2015 Create, Connect, Consume
- QUESTnet 2014 Transforming Outcomes for the Real World
- QUESTnet 2013 “Clouds: In our way or enabling change?”
- QUESTnet 2013 Conference Highlights
- QUESTnet 2012 “To infinity and beyond – Ubiquitous communications”
- QUESTnet 2011 “Preparing for the Next Big Wave”
- QUESTnet 2010 “2010: The Network Makes Contact”
- QUESTnet 2009 “Leveraging Our Investment”
- QUESTnet 2008 “Social Engineering your Network”
- QUESTnet 2007 “Networking on the Horizon”
- QUESTnet 2006 “Networking for e-Research: Communication, Collaboration and Regional Engagement”
- QUESTnet 2005 “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Building IT, Managing IT and Extending IT”
- QUESTnet 2004 “Networking Far and Wide”
- QUESTnet 2003 “Securing the Future”
- QUESTnet 2002 “Network across Borders”
- QUESTnet 2001 “A Network Odyssey”
- QUESTnet 2000 “Telecommunications Across the Range”
- QUESTnet 1999 “The Business of Networking”
- QUESTnet 1998 “Networking for Flexible Delivery”
- QUESTnet 1997 “Networking about Networking – The National Conference for Information and Networking Professionals”
- QUESTnet 1996 “The Conference for Network Managers and Practitioners”
- QUESTnet 1995
- QUESTnet 1994 “Networking Queensland’s Information Services”