Funet to be upgraded to 2.5 gigabit capacity with help from Sonera Solutions

Helsinki 12 October 2000CSC, the Finnish centre for high-performance computing and networking, will speed up the Finnish University and Research Network Funet to 2.5 Gbps per second. The update is scheduled for completion at the beginning of 2001 and it will make Funet one of the world's most powerful data network providers for the field of research and academic education. Other academic networks with the same operational speed include Abilene of the American Internet2 and the Dutch Surfnet.

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The aim of the new network is to create an infrastructure for new academic services, such as the virtual university, distance education, and video conferences. The new network will also facilitate mobile and broadband networks supporting education and research. As an example, the transfer rate of 2.5 Gbps enables a book of over 100.000 pages to be transmitted in just one second.

The reliable operation of the Funet network will become even more important over the next few years as the academic community transfers more and more new applications and communication over the Internet. "This is why the new data network is imperative", stated Markus Sadeniemi, who is Technology Director at CSC.

Over the past few years, the amount of data communication transferred via Funet has increased by about 150 percent per year. The extensive growth in traffic is due to the fact that the research community and the students have become increasingly active network users, as well as to Funet's proactive implementation of new network services and technologies.

In addition to the data communication network to be renewed, CSC provides its client organisations with basic data communication services, including information security and 24-hour daily maintenance. The Funet network enables researchers and students to also access to other academic networks, such as Internet2. Furthermore, Funet's new network interfaces physically are located in university facilities. This helps enlarge the role of universities in the development of data communication infrastructure.

The agreement between CSC and Sonera is an extension of their long-term collaboration in building state-of-the-art networks, network management, and development co-operation. The same technology is applied both in the Funet network and in Sonera's new generation client networks. Sonera's network application is the very first broadband WDM client network with country-wide coverage and access capacity of tens of gigabits.

Led by the Ministry of Education, Finland is one of the leading European countries implementing the e-Europe 2002 Action Plan of the European Commission. The target of the plan is to increase the capacity of research networks in member states to 2.5 gigabits by the end of 2001. The high-speed networks are able to offer brand new types of opportunities for European research and education collaboration.

The aim of the e-Europe 2002 programme is to support the development of the World Wide Grid (WWG). In GRID initiatives, powerful supercomputers can be linked to perform demanding scientific computations using high-speed networking. As an example, this would enable Cern, the European Laboratory of Particle Physics, to perform computer runs with national supercomputers in different countries.

CSC, the Scientific Computing Ltd., owned by the Ministry of Education maintains the Funet network of universities and research institutions as well as Finland's most powerful computing environment. Funet communication links provide research workers with access to CSC's supercomputers and Finland's widest selection of scientific software and databases.


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