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UK students get 10Gig backbone

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UK academia's new 10Gbit/s national backbone is up and running, and could be connecting schools and universities at up to 160Gbit/s within four to five years.

Part of the Joint Academic Network, JANET - and imaginatively named SuperJANET5 - the fibre optic network core links 19 regional educational networks and 18 million potential users across the UK.

Built by Verizon Business, which also provided most of SuperJANET4 via its purchase of MCI, the network is based on 10Gbit/s equipment with an upgrade path to 40Gbit/s. JANET's governing body UKERNA said that with traffic doubling year on year, only 40Gig channels could meet future needs without having to aggregate silly numbers of 10Gig lines.

"JANET can be found at the heart of a diverse array of activities, from delivering e-learning and videoconferencing facilities to school children, hosting pioneering remote surgery techniques, to supporting research into global warming and the very beginning of life itself," extolled Tim Marshall, UKERNA's CEO.

"SuperJANET5 will ensure projects such as these, as well as many others, continue to benefit from a truly world-class communications network."

UKERNA will now move the regional JANETs over to the new backbone one by one. That process is due to be complete by the end of 2006, after which the old core - SuperJANET4 - will be disconnected.

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