ORION (research and education network)

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Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network
Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario (ORANO)
IndustryTelecommunications network
Key people
Alfonso Licata (President and CEO)

The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is a high-speed optical research and education network in Ontario, Canada. It 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.


ORION was established in 2002 as the Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario (ORANO).


Ontario's ORION Network - August 2009

Spanning 6,000 kilometres (3,700 mi) to 28 communities throughout Ontario, ORION provides high-speed network capability to Ontario’s publicly funded RE&I 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. Almost 100 organizations and special projects connect to ORION directly, including 21 universities, 22 colleges, 34 school boards representing 2 million students, 13 teaching hospitals and medical research centres, and other research and educational and public library facilities.[1] ORION currently (May 2015) links more than 2 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 connects to research and education networks elsewhere in Canada and internationally through the national CANARIE network, which exchanges with ORION at the Toronto Internet Exchange. ORION also maintains its own direct connections to several sub-national research and education networks: RISQ (Quebec; via Ottawa), NYSERNet (New York; via Fort Erie) and Merit Network (Michigan; via Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie)[2][3]

ORION Nebula[edit]

In addition to providing a dedicated network to the research, education and innovation communities in Ontario, ORION offers shared services through the ORION Nebula. Accessible through the ORION network, each partner within the Nebula offers a cloud or software solution, and are curated through a rigorous selection process. There are dozens of Nebula partners that offer services in Collaboration Software & Web Content Management, Hosted Video & Web Conferencing, VoIP, Hosted PBX, SIP Trunking, Bulk Internet & ISP, Fibre & Network Connectivity, Server Co-Location & Data Centre, Managed Security Services, Cloud Hosting & IaaS, and Managed Storage, Backup & Disaster Recovery.

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. News and updates are regularly added to the ORION blog.

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 THINK Conference and bestows the annual ORION Leadership Awards, 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 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 through the ORION Nebula.


  1. ^ Who We Serve
  2. ^ "Ontario and Michigan Research Networks Achieve International Connection". News and Press Releases. Merit Network. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Beaming gigabits across Canada-U.S. border". News and Press Releases. Merit Network. Retrieved 19 September 2015.

External links[edit]