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Cork now connected to Paris via the GÉANT GN4-3N project

GÉANT Network Map - GN4-3N_September 2023

GÉANT‘s network connects HEAnet to its fellow NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) in Europe and beyond as well as carrying a significant percentage of HEAnet’s general Internet traffic. Previously HEAnet has connected to GÉANT at two locations in Dublin. As a result of a tender for international fibre conducted by GÉANT in 2022 (part of the GN4-3N major network refresh), one of those connections has been moved to Cork, specifically the Cork Internet Exchange (CIX) data centre. The tender resulted in the award of two spectrum services from Dublin to London and Cork to Paris with HEAnet to provide the spectrum service between Dublin and Cork. This move provides both GÉANT and HEAnet with greater geographical resilience.  

To facilitate this move, HEAnet has extended its own national fibre network, including installing a new fibre node in CIX, to provide the managed spectrum link to GÉANT between Dublin and Cork. From Dublin and Cork, commercial undersea fibre connections continue the connection (via the UK) towards the core European GÉANT network. This project has involved a high degree of co-operation between the HEAnet and GÉANT planning and operational teams, with the HEAnet network upgrades co-funded by GÉANT. The project is expected to be completed in Q3, 2023. 

NREN partners and their research and education communities have seen a 30% increase in traffic per annum in the past five years. The GN4-3N project is helping to narrow the digital divide while stimulating the market in cross-border communications.  

The GÉANT GN4-3N project was co-funded by the EU and Europe’s NRENs in January 2019 with a budget of €50.5 million and an expected duration of 48 months. Due to delays caused by the covid pandemic the project has been delayed but has been completed under budget. GN4-3N will contribute to fiber network capabilities extended well beyond its current reach, while improving the underlying structure and backbone network of GÉANT infrastructure. 

Built around dark fiber services using 15-year Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU’s), managed spectrum, leased lines and associated equipment the next-generation network is designed to support an anticipated 30% annual increases in network traffic whilst utilising both new technologies and new opportunities presented by a changing landscape

“As part of the GN4-3N project, we worked closely with our colleagues in HEAnet to further extend the reach of the network from Dublin into Cork, thereby creating a ring from London to Manchester to Dublin, then to Cork and on to Paris via the London2 PoP. Not only does this increased resilience benefit HEAnet’s customers but also the wider R&E community who need access to resources in Ireland.” – Toby Rodwell, Head of Service Management, GÉANT.  

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