China has been working on the router technology for more than two years as part of a wider strategy to foster development of domestic intellectual property. During the past few years, the country has developed technologies in a handful of applications, ranging from mobile phone and wireless LAN communications to optical disc data compression.
The router, codenamed BE12016, was commissioned by the Ministry of Science and Technology and jointly developed by Tsinghua University, Tsinghua Unisplendour Bitway Networking Technology Co., Ltd. and the military's Information Engineering College of the PLA Information Engineering University. It is backward compatible with the current IPv4-based Internet and is capable of transferring 320 billion bits per second, according to a report in local media.
The router comes into service as part of CERNET2, which was launched this week and connects 25 Chinese universities in 20 cities. The network is named after the China Education and Research Network (CERN) and will soon be expanded to 100 universities.
Most of the network operates at speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, but a segment between Beijing and Tianjin clocked in at 40 gigabits per second during a trial in early December. According to an official at CERN, at least half of the "key equipment" for setting up CERTNET2 came from Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei Technologies and Tsinghua Bitway.
China, as well as other Asian nations like Japan and Korea, have aggressively pursued the development of an IPv6-based Internet because of the vastly higher number of IP addresses it's capable of handling.
Currently, the US controls roughly three-quarters of the 4 billion IP addresses used in the IPv4 networking protocol. China, with its fast-growing Internet community nearing 80 million users, claims that it has only a tiny sliver of the IP addresses available.