€2m NGN for colleges and schools

1 Feb 2008

Network services provider Lan Communications has signed a contract with HEAnet, Ireland’s national education and research network, to design, build and support a next-generation network (NGN) backbone for the education, and research and development community in Ireland.

Based on a Cisco technology platform, the infrastructure will require initial capital investment of more than €2m and is capable of supporting connections up to 40Gbps each, scaling to 1.2 terabits per second, making it the fastest and most advanced network architecture in the country.

The project is funded under the National Development Plan.

“Research and development is an essential part of Ireland’s economic activity. Building a world-class, high-bandwidth network capable of supporting the unique demands of this community is critical,” commented John Boland, CEO, HEAnet.

“This directly underpins the collaborative and challenging objectives of the Government’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for national research programmes. Our network infrastructure must deliver the speed, scalability and resilience required while achieving maximum return on investment over the lifetime of the project.”

The requirement to upgrade the current network backbone to multiples of 10Gbps is not only driven by research imperatives but also by exponential increases in internet traffic from the education community. The network will support the country’s broadband internet access requirements for second- and third-level schools, helping to deliver high-quality multimedia to the classroom and promoting innovation and creativity in the learning process. Third-level students and researchers can now move into the area of advanced computer simulations at the highest level. The hope is that this will greatly improve their capacity for research in areas such as climate change, material science, astrophysics and biology, where high-end computing is essential for advanced research.

“Designing and building a network infrastructure with such stringent requirements in terms of bandwidth, scalability and resilience was quite a challenge,” said Andrew O’Kelly, managing director, Lan Communications. “We proposed the Cisco Carrier Routing System, CRS-1, as the only massively scalable system that can truly integrate multiple PoP functions into a single system and provide the critical reliability and flexibility required for successful network and service convergence.”

This deployment is the Irish technology industry’s only fully modular and distributed routing system that enables service providers to deliver a suite of data, voice, and video services over a highly available and highly scalable IP next-generation network infrastructure, O’Kelly said.

By Niall Byrne