Photonics researchers at Aston University have received a boost, thanks to a £2.7m government grant that will connect the institution to one of Europe’s largest fibre-optic research test beds.
The Birmingham-based university is set to link to the Janet Aurora network, a 350km dedicated fibre system which interconnects Aston’s photonics team with research groups at the universities of Cambridge, Essex, Central London and Southampton.
Janet UK, the UK’s education and research network, links universities, FE colleges, research councils, specialist colleges and adult and community learning providers through the internet.
Its Aurora network, established in early 2008, enables collective university groups to develop their internet research.
Professor Keith Blow, from Aston University’s Photonic Research team, said the direct connection to the Aurora fibre-optic network, due to be installed for late spring, would help research groups join forces to develop internet technologies.
‘Providing PhD students with a live fibre-optic transmission environment and an opportunity to directly interact with photonics researchers will create a wealth of opportunities,’ said Professor Blow.
‘We’ll be primarily using this server to investigate the future possibilities of optical fibre technologies.
This will include developing components and subsystems capable of delivering faster and more reliable network connections for new generations of the internet.’
Aston and Southampton universities will be the final two institutions to be linked to the extended Aurora network, thanks to the extra £2.7m grant from the government-funded Joint Information Systems Committee.
The extra finance will also allow the scheme to operate on this extended network until April 2011.