Did you know that the GÉANT network is completing its most important renewal in ten years?

Published on Wed, 11/24/2021 - 09:34
The pan-European research network GÉANT is a fundamental part of Europe's e-Infrastructure, connecting nearly 40 national research and education networks (including Belnet). Launched in 2019, the GN4-3N project aims to support the rapidly growing needs of the European research and education community for the next 15 years.

GÉANT works with NRENs worldwide to ensure high-quality connectivity and to make a range of services available to the research and education community, enabling them to better collaborate internationally.

Financed by the European Commission, the GN4-3N project is the most important renewal and extension of the GÉANT network in ten years. It aims to further reduce the digital divide in Europe and to stimulate cross-border cooperation and communication. In addition, the new network design and greener infrastructure will reduce energy consumption by 40%.

In terms of closing the digital divide, one of the advantages of the new network is that high-capacity connections are available throughout the network, allowing connections to other regions across the network rather than just at a few central locations. As such, the European link for the BELLA-S1 project (Building the Europe Link with Latin America) could be made in Portugal.

Thanks to the BELLA programme, GÉANT and RedCLARA (the Latin American research and education network) are linked by the new EllaLink - a 6,000 km undersea cable system directly connecting Europe to South America via Sines in Portugal and Fortaleza in Brazil. There are currently two connections established, both of 100 Gbps. One supports general-purpose R&E data traffic and a second is dedicated to Copernicus data transfer between the two regions. BELLA is also finalising the implementation of a 100 Gbps network across South America that will guarantee 100 Gbps capacity between NRENs in the two regions.

Moreover, thanks to GN4-3N, a gigabit of capacity will cost almost the same across the network. GÉANT's ability to enter into 15-year IRU agreements will ensure that costs are consistent and predictable. This will enable long-term planning for NRENs and research projects across Europe, and give countries a level playing field in terms of connectivity and their ability to host data-intensive projects.

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