NREN partners’ investments extend network reach, increase capacity, and strengthen resiliency of network infrastructure supporting data-rich, collaborative innovation.
BCNET, a not-for-profit, shared information technology services organization, together with its National Research and Education Network partners, today announced the completion of a range of projects that extend the reach, and increase the capacity and reliability, of Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN). These projects, funded jointly by CANARIE and its provincial and territorial network partners, ensure that Canada’s NREN stakeholders have the digital infrastructure to support the demands of data-intensive research, education and innovation.
Through these projects, six* college and university campuses, with over 100,000 staff, students and faculty**, will benefit from new or enhanced connections to the NREN that enable national and global links to colleagues, research instruments, services and data. Two research hospitals were also connected to the NREN and now have greater capacity to support wide-ranging, data-rich collaborative research. Canada’s NREN connects over 650 universities, colleges, research hospitals and government research labs to thousands of like institutions worldwide through a global web of over 100 NRENs.
“The collaborative efforts of Canada’s NREN partners support research and innovation across all sectors in Canada,” says Bala Kathiresan, President of BCNET and Chair of the NREN Governance Committee. “Our shared vision is to continue to evolve essential digital infrastructure to position Canada in the forefront of research and innovation, to strengthen our partnerships and to maximize efficiencies.”
Following are detailed descriptions of the projects:
In British Columbia, BCNET extended its fibre network to connect two campuses of Douglas College and one campus of the Justice Institute of British Columbia. This high-speed connection to Canada’s NREN enables Douglas College to become a primary repository for the Open Education Resources initiative, a critical resource for students, staff and faculty. At the Justice Institute, the NREN connection enables users to fully utilize the Simulation Training and Exercise Collaboratory (SIMTEC), a web-based simulation and high definition training tool for real-life emergency scenarios. BCNET also extended the NREN to connect Surrey Memorial Hospital. This connection supports multiple research groups at the hospital, including those using the MedTech laboratory’s imaging technologies, which rely heavily on computer processing, modelling and categorization of sensor-captured brain data.
In Alberta, Cybera expanded and upgraded its network infrastructure in the City of Edmonton, providing flexibility to meet evolving needs. This upgrade enables high-speed access to the NREN for both McEwan University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Among other initiatives, this connection supports NAIT’s Centre for Sensors and System Integration, as well as the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability and The Boreal Research Institute, all of which will benefit from improved NREN connectivity. In a separate project, Cybera provided a new NREN connection to Concordia University of Edmonton, opening up new opportunities for staff, students and faculty to benefit from high-speed connections to hundreds of institutions in Canada and thousands globally.
In Saskatchewan, SRNET upgraded key network infrastructure equipment to meet advanced user needs through increased security, reliability, capacity, bandwidth management, and routing capabilities. These improvements deliver improved performance to all Saskatchewan institutions connected to the NREN via SRNET.
In Manitoba, MRnet upgraded key network links and core switches in Brandon and Winnipeg. These network upgrades increase network reliability, and the higher bandwidth opens up new opportunities for collaboration in teaching and research at higher education institutions and K-12 schools.
In Ontario, ORION projects improved the resiliency of a critical Point of Presence (PoP) in Toronto, and extended and improved the network in two key jurisdictions: Kingston and York Region. In Kingston, the upgraded network infrastructure supports researchers leveraging the Centre for Advanced Computing at Queen’s University, including researchers using brain imaging to explore brain function. In York Region, Southlake Regional Hospital now connects to ORION’s network. This new connection supports data-intensive research and healthcare-focussed companies working at the hospital’s business accelerator, CreateIT.
In Quebec, RISQ updated its backbone fibre network to improve the performance and redundancy of the network in the key Sherbrooke-Lennoxville corridor. This upgrade improves performance for key users in the area, including Bishop’s University, Champlain College, and an Agriculture Canada research centre.
*Douglas College (2 campuses), Justice Institute of British Columbia, MacEwan University, NAIT, Concordia University of Edmonton
About Canada’s NREN
The National Research and Education Network (NREN) is an essential collective of infrastructure, tools and people that bolsters Canadian leadership in research, education, and innovation. CANARIE and its twelve provincial and territorial partners form Canada’s NREN. We connect Canada’s researchers, educators, and innovators to each other and to data, technology, and colleagues around the world. NREN partners include CANARIE, BCNET, Cybera, SRNET, MRnet, ORION, RISQ, ECN, ACORN-NS, ACORN-NL, Yukon College and Aurora College.