Cybera and Alberta SuperNet improve reach of Athabasca University

Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Open University with much of its curriculum delivered online, now has a faster, more direct connection to sites like Google, Microsoft and YouTube, thanks to Cybera’s transit exchange service. With 38,000 students distributed around the world, AU faculty and staff rely heavily on these kinds of online resources to support course delivery and its distributed workforce.

“The Internet is absolutely critical to us,” says Evan Wagner, Manager, ITS Infrastructure, Computing Services with AU. “Everybody says that, but for us, if we don’t have reliable Internet, we’re out of business. Without the Internet, students can’t access our material, we can’t communicate with students, or we can’t communicate with faculty working off-campus.”

AU is the fourth Alberta post-secondary institution to use Cybera network services to connect to the Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX), which provides the direct link to the popular Internet sites mentioned above. The University of LethbridgeThe Banff Centre, and the University of Alberta were connected earlier this year.

We want to ensure our members have the best access possible to the online tools they need to create, collaborate and innovate,” says Jean-Francois Amiot, Cybera Technical Operations Manager. “Opening doors to the SIX, and eventually to other North American internet exchanges, reduces barriers for Alberta innovators and keeps them at the forefront of research and product development — and that’s a core component of Cybera’s mandate.”

Because of AU’s rural location, its connection to the SIX is reliant on both CyberaNet, the advanced network operated by Cybera, and Cybera’s peering relationship with the Alberta SuperNet, operated by Axia SuperNet.

“Alberta’s SuperNet was built to open up new opportunities to all Albertans wherever they live. Athabasca University using the SuperNet to bring post secondary education to Albertans across the province is a powerful example of how the network can make an important difference in the daily lives of Albertans,” says Murray Sigler, President of Axia SuperNet. 

Each of the Cybera-enabled post-secondary connections to the SIX has been operating smoothly to date, says Amiot. He expects network traffic to further increase in the fall as more students and faculty return to campus from summer vacation.

Cybera’s connection to the SIX is enabled by a partnership with BCNET, the advanced network in British Columbia. Looking ahead, Cybera will collaborate with CANARIE to establish a peering connection with the Toronto Internet Exchange and the New York Internet Exchange. To use Cybera’s transit exchange service, a connection to CyberaNet or the Alberta SuperNet is required.

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