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Researchers join up for around-the-world network

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An around the world network agreement has been signed between over 450 international technology leaders in a bid to provide a more resilient service to researchers as they work together on projects and share data.

Research collaboration involving China, Europe and the United States will be safeguarded through the first major agreement among partners running the two main high-speed research and education (R&E) Internet routes across Asia, Europe and North America. By agreeing to provide reciprocal backup services via two 10 Gbps connections around the globe, the organisations involved say they will maximise connectivity and provide a stronger, more resilient service to researchers as they work together on major projects and share growing volumes of data.

ORIENTplus, Internet2, TransPAC3 and CERNET signed the agreement last month at the TIP2013 Conference, which involved more than 450 international technology leaders. This is the first-ever backup agreement for R&E traffic around the globe. The partners will work together to closely co-ordinate operations and network monitoring to enable seamless global backup of R&E network traffic. This partnership reflects the recognition among national and regional R&E networking organisations that a collaborative approach is the most effective way to meet the needs of an increasingly global user base.

The ORIENTplus link is operated by the Chinese research and education networks CERNET and CSTNet in conjunction with their European counterparts. Chinese researchers work closely with their European peers on the GÉANT network through the ORIENTplus link. Running between London and Beijing via Siberia and upgraded to 10 Gbps at the beginning of 2013, ORIENTplus provides the highest capacity direct R&E network link between China and Europe.

The collaboration between China and the United States is underpinned by a 10 Gbps trans-Pacific connection from Los Angeles to Beijing (US-China link), operated by the Indiana University-based TransPAC3 project and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. This connection provides a high-performance link between U.S. universities connected to the Internet2 Network and Chinese universities and researchers connected to the Chinese higher education network, CERNET.

In the event of outages or cable cuts on one network route, traffic will be routed via the alternative path, increasing resilience and minimizing disruption to European and U.S. researchers working with their Chinese peers. Current collaborations using these routes include the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory and ground-breaking genome projects, both between the EU and China and the U.S. and China.

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