SANReN phase 1 completed
Cape Town - The CSIR Meraka Institute and the department of science and technology have announced that phase 1 of the South African National Research Network (SANReN) is now complete.
This connection will facilitate a better connection to the Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) in Sutherland and the proposed site of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape.
The 10gbps (gigabits per second) network now links these sites to Cape Town, but it is expected to reach about 200 research institutions in the country as well as internationally when the project is completed.
The overall network architecture consists of a national backbone connecting Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and back to Durban on a 10gbps network. Metro rings have also been installed in Johannesburg, Tshwane, eThekwini and Cape Town.
The network forms part of Minster Naledi Pandor's drive to ensure that SA begins to reap the rewards of "first tier" research into science and technology.
"That does not mean that South Africa is reaping 'first-mover' dividends from R&D [research and development]. In fact, quite the contrary. Most of the IT R&D spend is for second-hand innovation. We are not on the frontier of IT innovation. We import technologies from abroad and adapt them for local use," Pandor told News24 recently.
The network is particularly essential for the SKA as the radio telescopes which will be linked are expected to produce a huge amount of data and engineers are racing to invent technologies that will best manage the data accurately.
The Meraka Institute has conducted an inventory of available skills and competencies in SA that would best suit the development of internet communications and technology fields.
"Because we're a small country in ICT terms, we have to be quite selective of where we're going to play and the idea of this process was to map the landscape," Laurens Cloete, executive director of CSIR Meraka Institute told News24.
He said that the institute was focused on the future.
"It's important that we don't go and invest in something of the past, but that we invest in the future. Research takes a while to bear fruit."
The first phase of SANReN has cost R429m and the entire project is expected to cost R787m and be completed by 2013.
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