The Optical Zeitgeist Laboratory was approved and funded by the federal Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through its Leaders Opportunity Fund and the provincial Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) of Québec. The laboratory is located at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in the heart of downtown Montréal.

FiWi Lab

Crossbow/MEMSIC wireless sensors for electric power, temperature, humidity and light monitoring.

Cloudlet/MEC Lab

The cloudlet/MEC lab is a small-scale Infrastructure-as-a Service (IaaS) cloud. The goal of the lab is to investigate potential open issues in the area of cloudlet/MEC integrated FiWi broadband access networks. In particular, the lab aims at developing and analyzing various cloud solutions at the edge of FiWi networks.

One of the potential application areas of cloudlet/MEC integrated FiWi broadband access networks is virtual reality (VR). While VR has the potential to bring many advantages, there exist a few fundamental issues to be tackled. In particular, high bandwidth and ultra-low latency are essential requirements for a truly immersive VR experience in converged FiWi broadband access networks.

Tactile Internet Lab

The Tactile Internet lab investigates real-time human-to-robot (H2R) communications systems, where humans can control real or virtual objects remotely over the Internet with ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability. The overarching goal of the lab is to foster research activities that provide a deeper understanding of how machines (computers, robots) can help humans solve hard problems by using machines as complements for humans, rather than substitutes.

Smart Grid Lab

The smart grid lab is a scaled down low-voltage 13-node power distribution network used for developing and analyzing various new smart grid solutions. Network parameters, such as resistance and inductance, are scaled down by using a per unit approach. Multiple power metrics (voltage, current, etc.) are periodically sensed at the sub-second level at each node, whereby the local consumption is controlled by means of nanocomputers and fiber-wireless communications technologies. The set-up can be used to investigate coordinated and distributed smart grid algorithms, e.g., plug-in electric vehicle charging or smart microgrid coordination algorithms.


The Optical Zeitgeist Laboratory hosts the following cutting-edge networking and test and measurement equipment.

Networking equipment

  •    1 x Dell OptiPlex 9020 Mini Tower
  •     Intel Core i7-4790 Processor (Quad Core HT, 3.60GHz Turbo)
  •    4 x 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
  •    1 x Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop (64-bit)
  •    1 x OpenStack ++
Oculus Rift
  •    1 x Oculus Rift VR Headset with bundled headphones
  •    1 x Oculus Rift's Standalone Sensor
  •    1 x Oculus Remote
  •    1 x Wireless Xbox One Controller
Tactile Internet
  •    1 x NAO humanoid robot of Aldebaran Robotics
  •    1 x NAOqi and Choregraphe
Smart Grid
  •    1 x Crossbow/MEMSIC EcoWizard energy monitoring system
  •    3 x PowerSave ENVI home energy monitor kits
  •    1 x iDigi Gateway Development Kit for ZigBee gateways
  •    1 x iDigi ZigBee RF Module Development Kit
  •    2 x Broadband D-Link DHP-501AV Power Line Communication (PLC) modems at 500 Mbps
  •    2 x Narrowband Linksprite Spyder Power Line Communication (PLC) modems at 2 Kbps
  •    12 x Raspberry PI Model B (512MB) boards (nanocomputers)
  •    20 x USB NetPower 8800 single outlet network AC
  •    1 x Variable line AC source 105-1515
  •    7 x 12 Volt battery chargers, 0.95 Ampere
  •    7 x 12 Volt battery chargers, 2/4/8 Ampere
  •    5 x 12 Volt batteries, 4 Ampere
  •    5 x 12 Volt batteries, 7 Ampere
  •    4 x 12 Volt batteries, 9 Ampere
Carrier Ethernet
  •    1 x Nortel metro Ethernet routing switch 8603 (MERS)
  •    2 x Nortel metro Ethernet service unit 1850 (MESU)
Wavelength division multiplexing passive optical network (WDM PON)
  •    1 x Nortel Ethernet access 1100 optical line terminal (OLT)
  •    2 x Nortel arrayed waveguide grating (AWG)
  •    6 x Nortel residential unit 1112 (ONT)
  •    6 x Nortel business unit 1112  (ONT)
Time division multiplexing Ethernet passive optical network (EPON)
  •    1 x Sun Telecom GE8100 series (OLT)
  •    4 x Sun Telecom GE8200 series (ONU)
Next-generation WLAN acces point
  •    4 x Zyxel NWA570N
  •    2 x NetFPGA PreBuilt Quad Core - CUBE
Erbium doped fiber amplifier (EDFA)
  •    1 x MPB R35W preamplifier 1530-1565 nm
  •    1 x MPB P21F gain flattened amplifier
100 GHz AWG
  •    1 x 8x8 wavelength router
  •    1 x 4x4 wavelength router
  •    1 x 1x4 multiplexer
  •    8 x 1x8 multiplexer

Test and measurement equipment

Agilent N2X router tester  
  • 2 x  Agilent 4 port 10/100/1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-X (SFP) XR-2 test card
  •    1 x  Agilent 4 port tri-rate Ethernet XR-2 EPON card
Agilent 8163B lightwave multimeter
  •    1 x  Agilent 81989A tunable laser
  •    1 x  Agilent 81635A power sensor
  •    1 x  Agilent 81570A attenuator
Agilent 86100C Infiniium digital communication analyser wideband oscilloscope
  •    1 x Agilent 83496A optical/electrical clock recovery module
  •    2 x Agilet 86105C optical/electrical sampling  module
Agilent 86120B multi-wavelength meter
Power Systems
  •    22 x TP4000ZC PC RS232 Auto Range AC DC Voltage Amp Res CapFreq Digital Multimeters
  •    1 x Hiyadeal LCR, RCL Inductance, Capacitance, Resistance Meter



The Optical Zeitgeist Laboratory is built through the support of various provincial and federal research agencies as well as manufacturers.