When Jisc needs to connect 18 million people to push the boundaries of education.

The challenge

In order to meet the evolving needs of British academic institutions – and to support distance learning, remote working and the general internationalisation of education and research – Jisc needed to deliver specialist ‘any-place, any-time’ connectivity that would be flexible enough to deal with change, without compromising on reliability or security.

Previously, the Janet network was based upon managed services from third party suppliers, which allowed only limited influence over service types and service provisioning.  Ahead of Janet6’s launch, Jisc decided to develop its network further to support the anticipated growth in bandwidth demand over the next decade, and wanted to move away from its previous managed service agreements in order to gain more autonomy over service types and service specification.  With our scalable and flexible network in place, Jisc is able to extend its reach and accessibility over a multi-100 Gbps core network infrastructure to support this growth.

One of the most compelling reasons that Jisc chose SSE Enterprise Telecoms was our proven ability to deliver the highest standards against the most precise delivery requirements, involving hundreds of individual facilities and numerous suppliers.  As of June 2016, we provide Jisc with more than 8,400km of fibre, creating one of the UK’s largest private networks that connects nearly a thousand facilities and institutions into 30 core sites, located across the UK.

By moving away from the managed services model, Jisc also benefits from the ability to self-determine and deliver truly bespoke network services that are completely under its control.  We worked hard to meet extremely tight timescales for the whole project and a very demanding performance specification for the entire network asset, ensuring that the service is both future-proof and that new optical, Ethernet and IP services can be rolled out by Jisc without worrying about the capacity or the quality of the underlying infrastructure.

In terms of implementation, SSE Enterprise Telecoms managed 22km of new excavation works and the supply, installation, termination and testing of circa 50km of fibre optic cabling to more than 35 education and research establishments. Additionally, 13 PoP sites were updated with new generators, DC power plant, batteries, cabinet and earthing, along with the overhaul of some of the AC and DC power infrastructure.  The works were completed within eight months, ahead of the planned schedule and to complete satisfaction.

The outcome

With SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Jisc has been able to successfully launch Janet6 – a high-speed, next-generation fibre optic network that gives the UK’s research and education community virtually limitless scope for collaboration and technical innovation.

This latest iteration of the Janet network enables users to communicate in the shared interests of research and education, often pushing the boundaries of traditional teaching and learning methods. Supporting groundbreaking e-learning initiatives and important scientific research with extreme scalability, guaranteed availability and high bandwidth performance, we are helping Jisc to push the UK to the forefront of the international higher education research and networking community.

For researchers, the high speed and low latency of the Janet6 fibre optic infrastructure allows the linking of the Janet regional networks to high performance computing facilities with large cloud computing resources and data storage at a national and international level. Jisc’s 18 million end-users across schools (via local authorities or regional broadband consortia), further education, higher education and research facilities are currently served by the SSE Enterprise Telecoms-powered network.

Specifically built to meet the requirements of its users, Janet6 has been designed to ensure the capacity, resilience and flexibility for research and education across the UK for the next 5 to 10 years.  Underpinning all of the sector’s digital activities, Janet6’s flexible architecture means it can respond to changing needs – enabling its users to meet any bandwidth requirements as they arise, exploit the efficiencies of new technologies such as the cloud, enable new ways of working, and respond to policy changes.

About Jisc

Jisc is the UK higher, further education and skills’ sectors not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions and provides the Janet network to its members. Serving over 18 million users, the Janet network provides UK research and education with a highly reliable and resilient, world-class network, enabling national and international communication and collaboration. Designed to handle extremely high traffic levels, the Janet network can support the technology needs of research and education both now and in the future.


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