Government invests into shared Janet education network

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills allocates £30m of funding for the Janet network to serve schools, colleges and universities

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced £30m in funding for the Janet network, which connects UK research and education institutions together, as well as to the wider internet.

The network needs to be upgraded to deal with the large data sets shared between universities, colleges and schools – Janet claims the amount of data across its network is doubling every 18 months –  as well as to handle high-performance computing instances often carried out by academic research organisations. The updated version will be named Janet6.

SSE Telecoms has won the contract to provide the fibre infrastructure, while Ciena will be the main supplier providing equipment, including its 6,500 packet-optical platform and WaveLogic coherent optical processors to scale the network from 100G to 400G as and when it’s called for.

As a result, BIS claims the network will be ready to go by October next year and serve the users’ needs until 2022.

“E-infrastructure, including high-performance computing, is absolutely essential to our research base, whether it's enabling scientists to carry out complex experiments or helping academics manage large amounts of data,” said David Willetts, minister for universities and science.

“This significant government funding will be a real boost to our universities, colleges and schools and is part of a wider package of investment to ensure Britain's e-infrastructure is truly world-class.”

Janet is promising a “smooth transition” period to the new network so organisations using its current iteration do not face service disruption.

“We are delighted to be able to continue to deliver this fundamental platform for research and education,” said Tim Marshall, CEO of Janet. “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.”

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