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China unveils next generation Internet

December 27, 2004 11:58 IST
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China has launched the first backbone network of the next-generation Internet, CERNET2, breaking the US monopoly and allowing the Communist giant to dramatically narrow its gap with world leaders, officials and experts said on Monday.

Eight departments of the Chinese government said CERNET2 has become formally operational from December 25.

"We were a learner and follower in the development of the first generation Internet, but we have caught up with the world's leaders in the next-generation Internet, become a first mover, and won respect and attention from the international community," director of the expert committee of the China Education and Research Network, Wu Jianping said.

CERNET2 is the biggest next-generation Internet network in operation in the world and connects 25 universities in 20 cities. The speed in the backbone network reaches 2.5 to 10 gigabits per second and connects the universities at a speed of 1-10 gigabits per second.

A trial on CERNET2 between the Chinese capital Beijing and Tianjin, a port city in northern China, on December seven achieved a speed of 40 gigabits per second, the highest in the world in real applications, the China Daily reported.

CERNET2 is also the first network based on pure Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) technology. The IPv6 also helps a great deal in solving the problem of shortage of IP addresses.

In the current Internet based on IPv4 technology, the United States controls 74 per cent of the four billion IP addresses, while the amount that China has is only equal to a campus of the University of California, despite its 80 million Internet users.

The National Development Reform Commission set up a China Next-generation Internet fund of $169 million to support six next-generation Internet networks. Half of them will be used on CERNET2-related projects while the rest of the money was given to five telecom operators.

The ministries of science and technology and information industry also have funds in related projects, the report said without divulging the amount.

Gong Jian, a regional head of CERNET2 in the Southeast University in Nanjing, pointed out that if an IPv4 address has a weight of one gram, the weight of all IPv4 addresses is 1/76th of the Empire State Building in New York, but the weight of all IPv6 addresses will be equal to the 56 times that of the earth.

He said most of the 25 universities connected applied for Slash48 IPv6 addresses, which are almost limitless for current needs. CERNET2 coverage is expected to expand to 100 universities soon.

Deputy director general of the department of high-tech industries with NDRC, Xu Qin, believed progress in the development of CNGI will bring huge benefits of national economy and increase the country's competitiveness in national defence, economy, science and technologies.

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