Third Generation GÉANT Project Launched

Tomorrow's Internet will be shaped by the networking innovation and advanced user services introduced as part of the third generation of the GÉANT project. The project, which will run to 2013, has recently been awarded funding of €93 million from the European Commission (EC) under the EU's 7th Framework Programme, and a matching amount from Europe's National Research and Education Networks (NRENs).

GÉANT is the dedicated high-bandwidth pan-European network at the core of the project, that provides advanced interconnectivity between Europe's NRENs through 50,000 kilometres of mostly optical fibre. As a result, nearly 40 million research and education users in over 8,000 institutions can have the capability to share vast quantities of data, and collaborate across multiple disciplines throughout Europe and beyond.

GÉANT and the national networks form the GÉANT Service Area. This "network of networks" offers reliable, seamless and transparent end-to-end connectivity and support services to create the most advanced international research network in the world. The portfolio of services offered includes virtual private networks with reserved bandwidth capacity for specific project requirements, network performance monitoring tools and secure roaming and authorisation services. By investing in the development and innovation of advanced technologies and services to maximise network efficiency and drive the user experience, this third generation of the GÉANT project aims to keep Europe at the forefront of research networking and e-Science, and shape the Internet of the future.

Notable user projects enabled by GÉANT include the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is the largest scientific experiment ever undertaken, and a telemedicine project to bring essential healthcare services to remote parts of South America. GÉANT also played a critical role following the devastating Sichuan earthquake, transferring high-resolution satellite images from the EC's Joint Research Centre in Italy to those leading the relief effort in China, thereby helping to speed up the reconstruction of infrastructure.

GÉANT extends its reach through links with other world regions including North America, Asia-Pacific (TEIN), Latin America (RedCLARA), Central Asia (CAREN), Mediterranean (EUMEDCONNECT), China (ORIENT), sub-Saharan Africa (Ubuntunet Alliance), Black Sea region (BSI).

The project will also seek to address the digital divide faced by the research and education community, by working towards stabilising the cost of connectivity and improving network links across Europe.

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