Cisco Systems and GrangeNet enhance advanced collaboration and eResearch facilities through GrangeNet II

Sydney 24 November 2005GrangeNet (GRid and Next GEneration Network) is working with Cisco Systems to significantly enhance the range of services the organisation provides to Australian researchers through the recently commissioned GrangeNet II upgrade. Based on Cisco optical networking technology, GrangeNet II is the second phase of the development of Australia’s advanced networking capability. This phase will provide a significant communications improvement for higher education and research organisations in Australia that participate in astronomy, supercomputing, telemedicine and other disciplines including social sciences.

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The GrangeNet advanced network programme is a five member consortium, originally awarded a AUD$14 million, three-year grant by the Federal Government to develop and operate a high-speed backbone network linking universities and other public and private research facilities in Australia and internationally. GrangeNet is comparable to, and integrated with, other advanced research and education networking initiatives such as Internet2 in the United States and CANARIE in Canada. GrangeNet has been fully operational as of early 2003.

In early 2005 a further $4,1 million of federal government funding was injected into the GrangeNet project to provide dedicated optical-based connectivity, improving bandwidth provisioning and control for end users within universities and other research organisations. The deployment of Cisco optical networking technology will benefit end users in fields such as astronomy and medicine by providing dedicated point-to-point links for on-demand data transfer, virtual local area networks (VLANs) that support multipoint collaborative research, and low jitter, low latency, and quality of service (QoS) that supports high-end conferencing and instrument control.

Paul Davis, Director GrangeNet, stated: "GrangeNet I was very successful. It delivered the advanced networking services it was intended to deliver, and acted as a catalyst for a range of sophisticated and innovative applications. Significantly, networks like GrangeNet are making a difference not only in the big science areas, but also within the social sciences such as linguistics. GrangeNet's success led to the extended funding that made GrangeNet II possible."

To enable GrangeNet II to deliver the services demanded by its end users, GrangeNet engineers replaced the original core of the network with four Cisco 15454 Multiservice Provisioning Platform (MSPP) systems and upgraded the edge of the network using the latest Cisco 7609 routers. The benefits of this latest technology include additional versatility, enhanced Internet Protocol multicast and IP version 6 performance, better levels of latency and jitter, and support for 10 Gigabit per second services.

Cisco Australia and New Zealand managing director, Ross Fowler, stated: "Working with GrangeNet has been a very rewarding project because we've been involved in rolling out an enabling service which has led to innovative networked application development which truly is world-class. The equipment Cisco has contributed has helped GrangeNet to migrate from a network that only offered layer three routing services to a network which can offer layer three, layer two (LAN switching) and layer one (optical wavelength) services. For Cisco, this is a major testament to our technology."

GrangeNet is a key part of the federal government's $40 million Advanced Networks Programme (ANP), which is in turn part of the $158 million Building on IT Strengths (BITS) programme announced by the Department of Communications, IT and the Arts in 2002.


Leslie Versweyveld

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