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JANET is a private British government-funded computer network dedicated to education and research. All further- and higher-education organisations in the UK are connected to JANET, as are all the Research Councils; the majority of these sites are connected via 20 metropolitan area networks (though JANET refers to these as Regional Networks, emphasising that JANET connections are not just confined to a metropolitan area[1]) across the UK. The network also carries traffic between schools within the UK, although many of the schools' networks maintain their own general Internet connectivity. The name was originally a contraction of Joint Academic NETwork but it is now known as JANET in its own right.

It is linked to other European and worldwide NRENs through GEANT, has a private connection to its equivalent CERNET in China and peers extensively with other ISPs at Internet Exchange Points in the UK.[2] Any other networks are reached via transit services from commercial ISPs.[3]

JANET is operated by JANET(UK), formerly known as UKERNA (the United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Association), who are also responsible for the .ac.uk and .gov.uk domains. It is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).



JANET developed out of a number of local and research networks dating back to the 1970s. By 1980, a number of national computer facilities (ULCC London, UMRCC Manchester, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory serving the Science and Engineering Research Council community), each with their own star network had developed. There were also regional networks centred on Bristol, Edinburgh and Newcastle, where groups of institutions had pooled resources to provide better computing facilities than could be afforded individually. These networks were each based on one manufacturer's standards, were mutually incompatible, and overlapping. In the early 1980s a standardisation and interconnect effort started, hosted on an expansion of the SERCnet X.25 research network. The system first went live in April 1983, hosting about 50 sites with line speeds of 9.6 kbit/s. In the mid-80s the backbone was upgraded to a 2 Mbit/s backbone with 64 kbit/s access links, and a further upgrade in the early 1990s sped the backbone to 8 Mbit/s and the access links to 2 Mbit/s, making JANET the fastest X.25 network in the world.

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