Janet, the private government-funded computer network dedicated to education and research, has launched Aurora - a fibre network that will provide a platform for photonics and optical systems research.
With about 350km of dedicated fibre, this is one of Europe's biggest test-beds for optical networking research and will allow projects that, until now, have been impossible to perform on existing research network infrastructures, said Dimitra Simeonidou of Essex University's department of electronic systems engineering.
The network will connect research groups at the universities of Cambridge, Essex and UCL, with access to intermediate locations along each fibre path, where additional equipment can be sited.
The Janet Lightpath service will provide further access to the network for other research groups wanting to use the facility, including international sites for collaborative projects. Networking needs are growing and will need to support future transmission bit-rates up to 100gbps and beyond.
Janet Aurora will enable research groups to pursue their work with minimal constraints, in a way that would be impossible on a public network carrying real traffic.
The network will enable researchers to trial prototype equipment and test advanced network architectures and technologies in real operational conditions.
"Janet Aurora has enabled us to connect three internationally leading photonic laboratories in the UK with the scope to share experimental facilities and test prototype photonic technologies and ultra-high-speed transmission techniques in a real field environment," said Simeonidou.