Over 80 million researchers, academics and students across Europe and China are set to benefit from a new 10Gbps research and education (R&E) internet link, formally inaugurated at the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD) Summit held in September 2015 in Brussels.

Jointly funded and operated by European R&E networking organisation GÉANT and its Chinese counterpart CERNET, the link provides long-term direct and super-fast connectivity between the two regions, enabling innovative EU-China R&E collaborations to flourish. Operational since the end of July, the circuit is contracted for a 10 year term and, with costs of less than 4 cents per user over its lifespan, represents a substantial cost saving compared to the current connectivity.

This cost-effective, long-term connectivity solution is a clear reflection of the increasingly close relationship between GÉANT and CERNET which they further underpinned by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise and further strengthen ICT collaboration between the European and Chinese research and education communities.

“CERNET has been closely linked to the GÉANT community for over 10 years”, said Professor Jianping Wu, Director of CERNET Center. “From starting out together in 2005 to building a regional R&E network across Asia-Pacific, we quickly established the first direct connection between GÉANT and China through the ORIENT and ORIENTplus projects, which were jointly funded by the European Commission, the Chinese government as well as the Chinese and European NRENs until the end of 2014. With the new link, which is based on equal cost sharing, we have guaranteed seamless continuity of network connectivity to support millions of users. We at CERNET look forward to continuing our fruitful working relationship with GÉANT over the next decade and beyond.”

Running between Beijing and London, the circuit connects the Chinese national research and education networks (NRENs) CERNET and CSTNET to the 50 million users of the pan-European GÉANT network. It underpins a wide range of data-intensive and/or time-critical scientific collaborations between Europe and China including participation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments, cosmic ray observation, radio-astronomy, agriculture, severe weather forecasting and life sciences projects. The high-capacity link also opens new possibilities for students and academics, supporting interactive knowledge transfer through innovative e-learning tools and stable videoconferencing, thus overcoming the complexities of multi-cultural and interdisciplinary learning.

“The growing number of research programmes and academic collaborations between Europe and China clearly highlighted the need for high-capacity connectivity to continue post ORIENTplus”, commented Pierre Bruyère, Chairman of GÉANT Board of Directors. “For many applications with significant economic impact in the long term, such as the ITER global energy fusion programme, this new link will be the only viable solution. We are proud to be able to provide this solution jointly with our Chinese partners.”

This article was first published by GÉANT. Read the original version

 

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