National Computer Network to Link Researchers Across Canada

Ottawa -- Nov. 23, 1989 -- The National Research Council has selected a proposal put forward by the University of Toronto in association with IBM Canada and Integrated Network Services Inc. (INSINC) to develop a nation-wide computer communications network for Canadian researchers. Merit and its corporate partners, MCI and IBM, are very pleased with this recent announcement.

As a high-speed backbone network, the CA*net will integrate provincial research networks in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, for example, and will incorporate future regional networks as they develop. CA*net will also be connected with major research networks in the United States.

The National Research Council (NRC), which initiated the establishment of the network, will contribute $2 million in startup funding over the next three years.

It is anticipated that the regional networks will contribute another $1.5 million over the same period. Additionally, the University of Toronto will be providing staff time worth about $300,000 and INSINC will provide discounts on the communication lines.

CA*net Resembles NSFNET

IBM Canada will contribute more than $230,000 of hardware and operating system software integral to the development of the system. In addition, the same sophisticated router and network management software used by NSFNET will be contributed by IBM. CA*net resembles the NSFNET three-level hierarchy with the CA*net backbone, connecting regional networks such as BCNet, Onet, and other campus networks will attach to these regionals. NetNorth (Bitnet in Canada) is planning to merge with CA*net and will support TCP.

CA*net is expected to be operational in 1990. Through the network, researchers in universities and industrial and government laboratories will be able to share information as well as facilities such as supercomputers, databases, and programs.

"It is essential that Canada pool its scientific expertise, at a time when technological advances depend on a multidisciplinary approach to research," says Earl Dudgeon, NRC's Vice-President of Engineering." The network will allow Canadian scientists and engineers in different cities to work together in ways not currently possible."

The development of national computer communications is part of the government's initiative to enhance the effectiveness of the Canadian research community. The CA*net concept was developed by NRC in close collaboration with Industry, Science and Technology Canada and the Department of Communications (DOC). There has also been extensive consultation with representatives of the user community.

The same three federal organizations are also collaborating on a study, sponsored by ISTC, to determine the feasibility of establishing a national broadband multimedia network to enhance collaborative research in strategic technologies and to facilitate the development of next-generation information technology products for the world market.

The National Research Council, Canada's leading science and technology agency, develops knowledge through its own basic and directed research programs. NRC also provides a wide range of services, facilities, technology transfer programs and collaborative research opportunities to help Canadian industry maintain its high standards of excellence and international competitiveness.


Taken from The Link Letter, December 1989, Vol. 2 No. 6.