Janet Aurora will enable research groups to pursue their research with minimal constraints, and in a way that would be impossible on a production network carrying real traffic
Janet(UK) has launched Janet Aurora, a high quality fibre network that will provide a platform for photonics and optical systems research.
With approximately 350km of dedicated fibre, this is among the largest test-beds for optical networking research in Europe and will enable a wide range of projects that hitherto have been impossible on existing research network infrastructures.
The network will interconnect 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 additional access to the network for other research groups wanting to use this facility, including international sites for collaborative projects.
This network will allow researchers to trial prototype equipment and test advanced network architectures and technologies under 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," says Dimitra Simeonidou, professor at Essex University.
The fibre network will further provide an open experimental testbed for network researchers across the UK that can reach the infrastructure with Janet Lightpaths.
Janet Aurora also connects with research network infrastructures in Europe and North America through connectivity to the European Geant2 network.
The high speed fibre network is already creating many opportunities for UK based and international research collaborations.
The network is scheduled to support several nationally and EU funded research projects that lead the academic effort.
Approval for the development of a small-scale fibre network to support photonics research projects was given in 2006 by Janet's funding body, JISC, to cover a two-year period following deployment.
NTL was selected as the supplier for the project.
"Janet Aurora is at the leading edge of research networking and will help to develop and test innovative new optical technology that will directly benefit businesses and consumers in the future," said John Cunningham, director, business markets, NTL.
"Janet Aurora is a substantial new infrastructure to support photonics and optical systems research," says David Salmon, Janet(UK)'s research support unit manager.
"It will support a variety of projects and enable collaboration between optical networking specialists and their colleagues researching ways in which future optical networks might be used by very demanding projects and application groups".
NTL has completed fibre characterisation tests and Janet(UK) has accepted the infrastructure as meeting the challenging requirements set by the research groups, some parameters being particularly critical for the support of future transmission standards at bit-rates up to 100Gbit/s and beyond.
The research groups using the network have a broad range of interests from device to system levels and work is planned to investigate new photonic components such as lasers, modulators and amplifiers, as well as dynamic 'capacity on demand' and high end grid and e-research applications.