REANNZ Network

What is a network? Find out what makes up the REANNZ network and how it is designed to meet the needs of the research and education community.

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A network is a collection of computers, servers and other devices that connect to one another to allow the sharing of data. An example of a network is the Internet, which connects millions of people all over the world.
The REANNZ network is specialist in that it is designed to move and share data around the country, and across the world, at a scale that isn’t consistently possible using a standard network. Capacity alone is not sufficient, other technical features and dedicated data transfer support make it possible for researchers in New Zealand to contribute to data-intensive research fields and international collaboration.
The network acts as a pillar of New Zealand’s eResearch infrastructure through access to hardware and software platforms. The network connects into high performance computing tools like NeSI (National eScience Infrastructure) and provides access to specialist scientific instruments like the Australian Synchrotron, international radio-telescopes and on-site storage arrays. Services like Tuakiri that are supported by the network, allow single sign on access to services, research projects and instruments.

REANNZ operates a network that extends the length of the country - from Invercargill in the South Island, through major centres of the North Island to Auckland, and then to Mangawhai Heads in Northland where it connects to the Hawaiki Cable system.  The international network includes sites in Sydney, Guam, Hawaii and Seattle where collaboration with NREN's and their communities around the world is facilitated. 

The international NREN community, with our common goals and collaborative approach, are at the heart of empowering research and education across the globe. Being a member of this community is one of the ways REANNZ can guarantee consistent data transfer capability worldwide. Another is the network itself, but it's not the infrastructure that is different, it's what we do with it that supports this.

REANNZ uses a ‘ladder’ topology for the main sites in our national network. The ladder’s two sides run north to south through New Zealand, interconnecting periodically with ‘rungs’ that provide efficient geographical coverage for members and resilience. Want to see what the REANNZ network looks like? Check out our Weathermap, that shows our points of presence (or PoP) locations and the rates of traffic flow happening in real time across the network.

The REANNZ network is built on commercial optical transmission services. Most member sites are connected by at least one dedicated fibre optic cable running from its site to a REANNZ PoP. This is similar to the way fibre connections to the home run back to the local exchange to enable the Internet Service Provider to deliver services.  Some sites have two separate fibre connections to support resiliency and traffic is re-routed to ensure that service is continuous should there be a fibre cut. We are also able to connect our member's more remote or smaller scale research sites through our MAE Lite service. MAE Lite enables connectivity and collaboration at a scale that previously was not available, expensive or difficult to acquire. Find out more about REANNZ Products and Services here.

Technical characteristics of the network

National research and education networks are engineered to ensure low packet loss (dropped packets or data not successfully received) and with sufficient headroom capacity to support the bursts of data intensive traffic commonly found in research fields like Bioinformatics, Climate Modelling and Radioastronomy. See our Case Studies page for examples of how these fields and others are able to utilise the capacity of the network to support research outcomes.

The network itself is made up of multiple parts, each designed to accomodate research and science traffic by managing capacity in a way that prevents congestion:

  • Submarine and terrestrial fibre optic cables: the network’s capacity is managed in a manner designed to support the community need for big, bursty traffic flows that can be made up of petabytes and terabytes of data.

  • Ultra-fast transfers: the transfer times of large datasets are drastically reduced from months to weeks, from days to minutes.

  • High quality: the network processes massive volumes of data without disruption to transfers, which can be catastrophic for research processing.

  • Agility and flexibility: we maintain high levels of control over infrastructure so that we can be agile and flexible in meeting the needs of our community as well as offering bespoke solutions that meet changing research needs.

  • Visibility and control: the network is measured and monitored against criteria that is critical for data intensive research ensuring consistent performance.

  • Specialised support: targeted, specialised support that enables research and high performance outcomes.

Are you a researcher looking to take your work to the next level?

Do you work as part of a technology team within our member organisations and want to know more about how we can support you?

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