It was commissioned in late 2006 and is linked to other established regional and national research and education networks (NRENs), notably JANET in the UK, and to the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, Seattle.
New Zealand researchers and educators need KAREN to participate in e-research:
KAREN's objectives are:
KAREN consists of a highspeed optical network connecting Points of Presence (PoPs) throughout New Zealand. A PoP is an interconnection point between member sites around the network. Members may connect at one or more POPs. KAREN links Universities and Crown Research Institutes within New Zealand via TelstraClear fibre-optic cable, at speeds of 10 gigabits per second.
International links to Sydney and Seattle (Pacific Northwest Gigapop) via the Southern Cross Cable connect KAREN to other National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Australia and the United States, and through them to Asia and Europe. The speeds are 155 megabits per second to Australia and 620 megabits per second to Seattle .
A distinguishing feature of any NREN is its flexibility to meet the diverse needs of all its users. The numbers involved, coupled with increasing sophistication of personal applications, mean that managing demand and maintaining performance require the use of a hybrid Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) network architecture.
The research community, driven by the development of various e-science GRIDs, has developed large-scale applications that will individually use high amounts of bandwidth and can in some cases also have strict demands on the network that may require defined resources allocated temporarily to meet performance demands.
KAREN will need to continually evolve so the range of production and development demands can co-exist. This means taking into account the collaborative nature of the development, and research processes, and therefore the need to deliver both advanced network services and associated development facilities to participating organisations.
A New Zealand commercial company Endace in Auckland will join KAREN in September 2008. A Wellington secondary school (St Mary's College) is to join, possibly followed by other schools on the Wellington Loop .