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SSE Telecoms Starts Upgrade of UK JANET Research and Education Network

Thursday, Sep 13th, 2012 (8:09 am) - Score 1,188

Millions of students and researchers from across the UK look set to benefit after SSE Telecoms revealed more details about their £30m 10-year contract to build a next generation fibre optic platform for the Joint Academic Network (JANET), which will simply be called Janet 6.

The project will require SSE to provide some 6500km of new fibre optic cable to over 30 sites around the UK, which include major research and education communities (e.g. colleges and universities). Not that the existing network is slow.

The current backbone consists of a dedicated optical fibre, which can run at up to 400Gbps (Gigabits per second) and serves roughly 18 million users. By comparison Janet 6 will provide network capacity from 2Tbps (Terabit/s) and should rise to 8Tbps or more by 2017.

Jeremy Sharp, Janet’s Head of Strategic Technologies, said:

The Janet6 project will ensure that the UK stays at the forefront of research and education networking globally. The fibre infrastructure that underpins Janet6 is the foundation upon which the network is built and we are pleased to be working with SSE Telecoms whose excellent track record in the provision of reliable, state-of-the-art fibre infrastructure will provide this solid foundation for years to come.”

Tim Marshall, CEO of Janet, added:

We are delighted to be able to continue to deliver this fundamental platform for research and education. The move to a long-term fibre contract ensures that for the next decade we can provide maximum agility and scalability to meet customer demands, that will inevitably be unpredictable, as research and innovation takes place. The new operating model that we are embracing for Janet6 will allow us to do so very cost-effectively in these challenging times.”

It’s understood that the “initial” e-infrastructure investment has come from the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the higher and further education funding councils. It is expected to help maintain the existing and new infrastructure until at least 2022.

The reason for the upgrade is due to rising data demands, which affect all networks. The pattern of data traffic across Janet shows that data usage doubles every 18 months and on top of that there’s a need for new capacity to cope with sudden surges from data intensive research projects (e.g. biomedical sciences, climate science and genomics). Having a network that can keep pace is vital.

For those with a greater interest in the technical side. Janet 6 will be based on Ciena’s 6500 packet-optical platform, equipped with WaveLogic™ Coherent Optical Processors. The new network will be fully operational by October 2013. As a side note we’re sorry for the delay in covering this as it somewhat slipped under our radar last week.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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