- Establishing the first direct high capacity link between EU and China

NORDUnet has been a partner in the ORIENTplus project, establishing a direct high capacity research & education internet link between China and Europe. Facilitating the growing collaboration within research and education, ORIENTplus has successfully delivered a 4x upgrade of network capacity, migrated connectivity to open exchange points, and created a direct point-to-point circuit capability between Europe and China.

NORDUnet has played a leading role in ORIENTplus WP2 providing the network design and enabling introduction of new network services.

Building on a 2.5 Gbps link provided by its predecessor, the ORIENT project (2007-10), ORIENTplus has provided a direct 10 Gbps circuit between the GÉANT open exchange point in London, UK and the CNGI-6iX open exchange point in Beijing, China.  With a direct trans-Siberia route this link offers optimal low latency (180 ms RTT).  With this connection, 5 Gbps capacity is provided to connect the GÉANT IP network to the IP networks of Chinese partners CERNET and CESNET.  And additional 5 Gbps has been made available for circuit-oriented services, allowing connectors of GÉANT Open and CNGI-6iX to establish private connections for demanding science applications. 

ORIENTplus being successfully completed in December 2014, China and EU signed an agreement on a permanent 10 Gbps link, running across the Indian Ocean. Operational since the end of July 2015, 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.

The signatories agreed to monitor and review link utilisation and plan for higher capacity to meet user needs with the aim of achieving 100Gbps+ as soon as required and affordable. In addition to connectivity provision, the parties committed to supporting the deployment of advanced network services (e.g. eduroam and perfSONAR) as well as of Future Internet testbeds and to jointly undertaking outreach and user support activities within the R&E communities.

The circuit 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.

Learn more about ORIENTplus on the ORIENTplus project website.