BEIJING, Feb. 7 -- Lucent Technologies announced a $17.4 million contract to build an optical backbone network for the China Education and Research Net (CERNET). This new network will significantly increase CERNET's transmission capacity and enable it to offer new bandwidth-intensive data services, Lucent said. CERNET is the largest national education and research network built by China's Ministry of Education. A committee composed of professors and experts from China's top universities administers the network, which serves more than 750 education and research institutions and about 4 million users throughout the country. Under the terms of the contract, Lucent is providing CERNET with the WaveStar OLS 80G, a dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) system with enough capacity to send 40 gigabits -- the equivalent of 1,200 encyclopedia volumes -- across a single hair-thin fiber each second. Lucent is also providing the WaveStar ADM 16/1, an optical multiplexer that enables carriers to use synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) technology to set up optical network rings. Lucent's advanced technology and the close collaboration between the two parties laid a solid foundation for CERNET's backbone construction, said Wu Jianping of CERNET, who is in charge of the project. Today's achievement serves as a showcase for the cooperation between Lucent and CERNET. We look forward to further progress for this national project in the year ahead.