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From humble beginnings pioneering the Internet in Australia to the present day, AARNet has long played a critical role in advancing excellence in Australian research and education

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) was established in 1989 by a group of Australian universities and research institutions

AARNet was initially built between the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, where the international Internet feed first landed, and university and CSIRO facilities in all Australian state capital cites and the Australian National University in Canberra.

Today, AARNet serves Australian universities and the CSIRO, as well as many health and other research institutions, cultural organisations, schools, vocational training colleges and specialist content providers.

For 30 years, we have shared and exchanged expertise with our customers in many ways, supporting collaboration and innovation in research and education. 

We have also been effective in making representations to government on policy, legislation, strategy and programs to improve the telecommunications facilities and services available not only to the education and research sector, but to all Australians.

In 2009, we produced a book to commemorate AARNet's first 20 years. The story it tells marks AARNet's place in our nation’s history – a place that has ensured Australia is an integral part of the global technology marketplace.

AARNet: 20 years of the Internet in Australia (Glenda Korporaal, 2009), chronicles AARNet's journey from the pioneering days of computer technology through the rise of the internet and the roll-out of AARNet (1989), AARNet2 (1997) and AARNet3 (2006). 

AARNet's trail-blazing story continues today with the rollout of AARNet4 (2013 - the present) and the ongoing exploration and delivery of new technologies, products and services for research and education.

AARNet1 (1989—1997)

Australia's first Internet

  • AARNet-operated layer 3 routers; one PoP per capital city
  • national backbone: carrier-provided (Telstra) inter-PoP transmission capacity
  • carrier-provided trans-Pacific transmission capacity
  • AARNet1 sold to Telstra in 1995

AARNet2 (1997—2006)

Fostered the building of Optus ATM and Optus Internet networks

  • AARNet-operated layer 3 routers; one PoP per capital city
  • national backbone: carrier-provided (Optus) inter-PoP ATM transmission capacity
  • carrier-provided trans-Pacific transmission capacity

AARNet3 (2006—2013)

The AARNet optical network

  • AARNet-operated layer 3 routers; two physically-diverse PoPs in each capital city
  • national backbone: AARNet-operated optical fibre transmission capacity
  • AARNet-operated international fibre transmission capacity
  • also delivers enduser Layer 1 optical transmission and Layer 2 VLAN switching services

AARNet4 (2013—the present)

100G capacity and VPN capabilities, entirely AARNet-operated

  • optical transmission network: optical fibre transmission capacity; up to 80 wavelengths each at 100Gbps
  • IP routed backbone: 100Gbps layer 3 routers
  • international connectivity: 266Gbps of international transmission capacity; seven NAPs in USA, one in Singapore, one in Fiji
  • end-user services: delivers Layer 1 optical transmission; Layer 2 metro-ethernet VLAN; Layer 2 and Layer 3 MPLS-based VPN services, high speed routed access to global R&E networks and commodity internet

Take a look at this 1993 network map to see how much we've grown: