ORION (Research and Education network)

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ORION logo

ORION (the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network) is a high-speed optical research and education (R&E) network infrastructure in Ontario, Canada. Established in 2002, ORION connects virtually all of Ontario's research and education institutions, including every university, most colleges, several teaching hospitals, public research facilities and several school boards to one another and to the global grid of R&E networks using optical fibre.


Ontario's ORION Network - August 2009

Spanning 5,800 kilometres to 21 cities throughout Ontario, ORION provides high-speed network capability to Ontario’s publicly funded R&E community and is an enabling platform to support and help drive innovation in the province. The network is a catalyst for the development and provision of creative and innovative research and education collaboration tools, resources and applications.[citation needed] Almost 100 organizations and special projects connect to ORION directly, including 21 universities, 21 colleges, 24 school boards representing over 1 million K-12 students, 10 teaching hospitals and medical research centres, and other research and educational and library public library facilities. [1] ORION currently (November 2010) links 1.7 million Ontario researchers, scientists, students, teachers and staff who depend on ORION for teaching and learning and to enable their research collaborations and discoveries in physics, cancer research, environmental science and technologies, social sciences and the humanities and multiple other disciplines.

ORION is part of the global community of advanced research and education (R&E) networks, including Internet2 in the United States and CANARIE, Canada's advanced network.

Current research projects[edit]

The purpose of ORION is to link researchers, educators, scientists, learners and innovators to one another, to colleagues around the world, and to networked resources so they can advance research, learning, knowledge, technology development and scientific discovery.

It allows its user organizations to undertake advanced collaborative research and education activities, and enables high-speed transmission of data, access to remote monitoring and sensing devices, data mining, distributed high performance computing, visualization and simulations and more. Among the projects that it supports, ORION enables the SHARCNET distributed computing initiative, by providing dedicated high-speed connectivity linking the computational resources of 16 post secondary and research institutions throughout Ontario.


ORION hosts the annual Ontario Research and Education Summit and bestows the annual ORION Award, to recognize individuals and groups who have led and championed the use of advanced and collaborative technologies to support research, education, innovation and discovery here at home in Ontario or on the global stage. ORION publishes the ORION Research and Education News.

ORION also operates the O3 Collaboration professional networking platform, which provides collaborative tools and professional networking resources to the research and education community in Ontario.


ORION is owned and operated by a not-for-profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors which includes representatives from the fields of education, research and business. ORION was initially funded by the Government of Ontario with additional funding from CANARIE, as well as private and public sector organizations and institutions. ORION is a self-sustaining organization, generating revenue from its connected institutions through user access fees and over network-based services


External links[edit]