New 10Gbps link supercharges long-term EU-China research and education partnership


15 September 2015 | Brussels, Belgium and Beijing, China


GÉANT and CERNET sign MoU to strengthen ICT collaboration at EU-China Summit in the presence of Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and EC Commissioner Tibor Navracsics 

Over 80 million researchers, academics and students across Europe and China are set to benefit from a new 10Gbps research and education (R&E) internet link, formally inaugurated at the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD) Summit held today in Brussels and presided by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and EC Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics.


Professor Jianping Wu, Director of CERNET Center, and Pierre Bruyère, Chair of GÉANT Board of Directors signing MoU to strengthen their partnership, witnessed by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and EC Commissioner Tibor Navracsics


Jointly funded and operated by European R&E networking organisation GÉANT and its Chinese counterpart CERNET, the link provides long-term direct and super-fast connectivity between the two regions, enabling innovative EU-China R&E collaborations to flourish. Operational since the end of July, the circuit is contracted for a 10 year term and, with costs of less than 4 cents per user over its lifespan, represents a substantial cost saving compared to the current connectivity.


This cost-effective, long-term connectivity solution is a clear reflection of the increasingly close relationship between GÉANT and CERNET which they further underpinned today by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise and further strengthen ICT collaboration between the European and Chinese research and education communities. The signatories agreed to monitor and review link utilisation and plan for higher capacity to meet user needs with the aim of achieving 100Gbps+ as soon as required and affordable. In addition to connectivity provision, the parties committed to supporting the deployment of advanced network services (e.g. eduroam and perfSONAR) as well as of Future Internet testbeds and to jointly undertaking outreach and user support activities within the R&E communities.


​“CERNET has been closely linked to the GÉANT community for over 10 years”, said Professor Jianping Wu, Chairman of CERNET. “From starting out together in 2005 to building a regional R&E network across Asia-Pacific, we quickly established the first direct connection between GÉANT and China through the ORIENT and ORIENTplus projects, which were jointly funded by the European Commission, the Chinese government as well as the Chinese and European NRENs until the end of 2014. With the new link, which is based on equal cost sharing, we have guaranteed seamless continuity of network connectivity to support millions of users. We at CERNET look forward to continuing our fruitful working relationship with GÉANT over the next decade and beyond.”

Running between Beijing and London, the circuit connects the Chinese national research and education networks (NRENs) CERNET and CSTNET to the 50 million users of the pan-European GÉANT network. It underpins a wide range of data-intensive and/or time-critical scientific collaborations between Europe and China including participation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments, cosmic ray observation, radio-astronomy, agriculture, severe weather forecasting and life sciences projects. The high-capacity link also opens new possibilities for students and academics, supporting interactive knowledge transfer through innovative e-learning tools and stable videoconferencing, thus overcoming the complexities of multi-cultural and interdisciplinary learning.


​“The growing number of research programmes and academic collaborations between Europe and China clearly highlighted the need for high-capacity connectivity to continue post ORIENTplus”, commented Pierre Bruyère, Chairman of GÉANT Board of Directors. “For many applications with significant economic impact in the long term, such as the ITER global energy fusion programme, this new link will be the only viable solution. We are proud to be able to provide this solution jointly with our Chinese partners”.



GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.


GÉANT has 41 member countries and is owned by its core NREN membership, and also has Associate members including commercial organisations and multi-national research infrastructures and projects.

GÉANT was formed on 7 October 2014, when TERENA and DANTE joined forces and adopted the GÉANT name from the GÉANT Project (co-funded by the European Commission and currently in phase GN4-1), which continues to be a major area of the organisation's work.


GÉANT manages research and education (R&E) networking projects serving Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and Central Asia. In addition, it supports R&E networking organisations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific and coordinates Europe-China collaboration. Between 2007 and 2015 it coordinated the EC co-funded ORIENT and ORIENTplus projects which established a first direct high-capacity link between China and Europe which now continues seamlessly thanks to a joint agreement with CERNET.



CERNET (China Education and Research Network) is the first and the largest national academic Internet backbone in China and it is supported by the Chinese government and directly managed by the Ministry of Education. CERNET network infrastructure serves the universities, institutes, colleges, schools and non-profit organisations all over the China. The end users are professors, researchers and students.


CERNET currently connects more than 2,000 universities and other organisations and has more than 30 million end users in China. By the end of 2012, CERNET upgraded its transport network to 100Gbps (40x100G system) for about 22,000 km in 38 PoPs in China covering all the provinces and set up core IP backbone bandwidth at 100Gbps in 21 cities. CERNET has 80Gbps domestic peering bandwidth to China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. CERNET has about 30Gbps to the international academic networks, including Internet2, GÉANT, APAN, etc. and 30Gbps to global tier 1 commodity Internet.


Prior to connecting with the GÉANT network, CERNET interconnected with Europe via a link to the German network DFN (1994-1998) and subsequently via a link between CERNET and the UK NREN Janet (1998-2005).


Helga Spitaler
Senior Communications Officer
+44 (0)1223 371 342