ISLAMABAD (APP) - The Higher Education Commission has initiated a project of multi gigabit network titled "Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN2)" for the education and research community of the country. This multi gigabit network will replace the existing network of PERN which is primarily based on legacy telecommunication system. The PERN2 will interlink all public and private sectors academic and research institutes of the country through metro fiber ring using Multi Gigabit Metro Ethernet technology in the seven metro cities of Pakistan. These metro fiber rings will be interlinked through dark optic fiber using DWDM technology.  The universities and institutes under this initiative will be provided one gigabit links connecting them to the core network of multi gigabit capacity. PERN2 will provide students, faculty members and researchers a fully integrated and dedicated IP/MPLS based communication infrastructure to achieve true collaborative research, knowledge & resource sharing and distance learning. The advanced features will include, but will not be limited to, Gigabit Networks, Adaptive Applications and Multicasting. The PERN2 is also aimed to have connectivity to other research networks of the world including APAN (Asia), Internet2 (USA), GEANT2 (Europe) etc. and initiate collaborative research with the consortiums of NREN(s). The first phase of the project was launched in December 2007 under which the universities and institutes of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are being provided dark optic fiber for the deployment of Metro Ethernet network. The task of laying dark optic fiber to these universities and institutes has been almost completed and recently Higher Education Commission has successfully conducted test sessions of video conferencing using these laid optic fibers over gigabit capacity. The Metro Ethernet network of Islamabad/ Rawalpindi should be fully operational by the end of this year. The second phase of the project has been launched as well which will provide Multi Gigabit Metro Ethernet networks in the remaining six metro cities namely Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Lahore and Peshawar. This Multi Gigabit Education and Research Network of Pakistan named as PERN2 should be fully operational by April 2009.