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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Java and why do I need it?

Java is a sophisticated software platform that NetLab is built on. It provides user interface components, graphics rendering, internet access functionality and more in a way that is independant of the underlying operating system. This means that Java must be installed on your computer in order to run the application.

The download is approximately 12MB. However, it only needs to be downloaded once, and doing so will allow you to run other Java-based applications as well. All university computer pools should already have a suitable version of Java installed.

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What operating systems are supported?

NetLab is a pure Java application and so the same application will run on any operating system that has Java SE 6 or above installed. No seperate downloads of NetLab for specific operating systems are required. Versions of Java are available for Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X and FreeBSD on various CPU platforms (see Where can I download Java?). NetLab's user interface will adapt to resemble the look of the underlying operating system.

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What version of Java is required?

NetLab requires at least Java SE 6 or later. All university computers should already have a suitable version of Java installed.

Many personal computers will likely not have Java SE 6 installed. If this is the case, you will need to download at least Java SE 6 in order to run NetLab from home. If you do not wish to download Java, you can still use NetLab from a university computer pool.

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Where can I download Java?

There are several vendors that provide Java implementations for various platforms. Sun Microsystems' implementation is highly recommended for Windows, Linux and Solaris operating systems. These are available for free download at As well as choosing the correct download for your operating system, you should also ensure you have the correct download for your CPU. Windows, Linux and Solaris versions are available for 32-bit x86 and AMD64 hardware. There are also Solaris versions for 32-bit and 64-bit SPARC hardware.

Apple provides a Java SE 6 implementation for the Mac OS X operating system at that is fully compatible with NetLab.

Java SE 6 implementations are also available for FreeBSD on various hardware platforms at However these are still in development and running NetLab in a FreeBSD environment is not recommended.

Note: You may see these downloads referred to as version 1.6 instead of 6. These are equivalent; both are acceptable.

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Do I Download the JRE or the JDK?

The JRE is the Java Runtime Environment, and it contains everything you need to run Java applications such as NetLab. The JRE download is around 12MB. The JDK is the Java Development Kit, and is needed only by software developers who intend to create Java applications. It includes the JRE, but also includes the Java compiler other development tools. This download is much larger at around 50MB. You only need to download the JDK if you intend to create your own Java applications.

For students who are currently studying or intend to study a Java programming course, the JDK download is recommended. If you do not intend to develop Java applications, the JRE download is sufficient.

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Which UniSA computers can run NetLab?

Currently, only computers at Mawson Lakes campus have Java SE 6 installed and are capable of running NetLab. These include:

  • All computers in the GP building and P building computer pools.
  • All computers in the F building computer pools and computer barn.
  • All computers in the Real Time Laboratory of the SCT building.
  • All lecture theatre / AV computers.

Unfortunately, the following computers are currently not capable of of running NetLab:

  • All student computers in the Mawson Center.
  • All walk up PCs.
  • All computers in the library.
  • All Unix workstations.

Efforts are underway to ensure that Java SE 6 will be installed on these machines in the very near future so that NetLab can run on them.

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What are the other minimum system requirements?

The only formal requirement is an installation of Java SE 6 or later. However, NetLab's complex user interface rendering is CPU intensive. Also the large graphic images of the instrument front panels consume alot of memory. Thus a system with a CPU of 1GHz or above and 512MB of RAM or more is strongly recommended.

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How do I launch the application?

NetLab uses Java Web Start technology. You can launch the application simply by clicking the "Launch NetLab" link on the NetLab Access page of this website. Provided you have Java SE 6 or later installed, the application will download, install and launch automatically. The installation will place shortcuts on your desktop and in your system menu (eg. the Start menu on Windows) which you can use to launch NetLab again in the future. This download will only need to be done once. You can also launch NetLab again in the future by clicking the same link on the website, and it should launch immediately as it does not need to be downloaded again.

Note that Web Start technology supports automatic updates to future versions of the application. Should you launch the application when a new version is available, the new version will be downloaded and installed automatically.

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Why am I being warned that the application is not trusted?

This is a security feature provided by the Java platform for your own protection. NetLab requires certain privileges such as accessing the internet and writing to your hard disc (when saving data). Thus NetLab is signed with a digital certificate that uniquely identifies it as a product from The School of Electrical and Information Engineering, University of South Australia. By clicking "Run", you are declaring that you trust this source, and that the application is allowed to access these resources.

It is recommended that you select "Always trust content from this publisher" so that you will not be presented with this dialog again when you run NetLab in the future, as you have declared that you trust any application signed with our certificate (i.e. any application produced by us).

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Why does my NetLab client fail to connect?

Ensure that you are connected to the internet. If the connection attempt still fails, you may be behind a firewall. Configure your firewall to allow outgoing connections to TCP port 8000. Alternatively, you may choose to disable your firewall completely. If you continue to have connection problems, you can contact us for further assistance.

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Why do I see a warning on Windows Vista with Internet Explorer 7?

The following warning dialog is displayed when launching the application from the link in the website from within Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista. It simply means that clicking the link will launch an external application, which in this case is the Java Web Start launcher from Sun Microsystems, which in turn will download and launch NetLab. If you are presented witht this dialog, you should click "Allow".

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Unable to launch the application?

If you're particularly unlucky, you may be presented with a error dialog similar to one shown below. This problem only occurs with Internet Explorer when your download cache (Temporary Internet Files) is full. There are several possible solutions:


Instead of left clicking on the "Launch NetLab" link, right click and select "Save Target As...", and save the JNLP file to a known location, such as your desktop. You can then launch the application by double-clicking this file.

Note that this JNLP file is not the entire application, it is a very small text file (less than 1kB) that is used to by Java WebStart to download and install the application seperately, so don't be suprised by the quick download. When you have launched the application once, you can safely delete the JNLP file and use the NetLab shortcut in your system menu (eg. Start -> Programs -> UniSA -> NetLab) to launch the application in the future.



Clear your cache by deleting your Temporary Internet Files. To do this, select the Tools menu in Internet Explorer and select "Internet Options...". In the General tab, under "Temporary Internet Files", click Delete Files, and click OK. But be warned, this may take several minutes.

Note: Don't worry, this wont delete anything important. It merely deletes images and HTML files from web pages that you have visited in the past that your browser stored when it displayed the pages.



Use Mozilla Firefox or Opera as your browser instead!

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