CCD Central Computing Division Networking

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Overview

By this period RAL's role as a direct provider of national academic networking had ceased. The network (JANET) was the responsibility of the Computer Board. The staff who developed and supported the core network under the Board's direction continued to be housed in RAL's Central Computing Department until 1994 when they transferred to a new organisation, the UK Education and Research Network Association (UKERNA).The development of JANET during this period is not covered in these pages, other than through newsletter articles specifically on matters affecting the Atlas Centre's users.

On the international networking front, the Department housed the UK node of the European Academic Research Network (EARN) which was funded initially by IBM, Paul Bryant being the UK representative on the EARN Board of Directors. Computers on JANET could access EARN via a gateway at RAL and for a number of years EARN provided a valuable and widely used file transfer service to destinations in Europe and beyond. However EARN had been implemented originally on IBM-specific communication protocols, and by the 1990s it and other networks had begun to move towards international standard protocols. In 1994 EARN's management structure merged with that of RARE and the EARN network as a distinct entity began to fade away.

The main development in local area networking on the RAL site during the early part of this period came with the installation of a 10 Mbs fibre optic ethernet backbone in 1987 to which 'villages' of computers on locally managed ethernet networks were connected. This provided an extensive and robust service until the demands of traffic outgrew its capacity in the early 1990s when it began to be replaced by FDDI 100Mbs technologies which remained in use until the end of the decade.

Related Literature

Wide and local area networking in 1986