The first computer network connection between the two provincial universities began in the early 1980s, with the goal of enabling inter-library access to on-line catalogues. The connection speed at that time was 2,400 bits per second. By the mid-1980s, both universities helped to create NetNorth, the first national academic network with financial help from IBM Canada, which provided connections, at speeds of 9,600 bits per second, to BETNet in the United States and EARN in Europe. In 1989, the two universities built the Sask*net network and brought the internet to Saskatchewan as part of the national CA*net network. The connection speed available then was 56,000 bits per second. In the early 1990s, Canada’s advanced internet organization (CANARIE) was formed; in 1994 it built the first national test network, CA*net1, which allowed the simple transfer of e-mail files. CA*net2, established in 1997, permitted sharing of web applications and large files. Saskatchewan connected to CA*net3 in 2001, then the world’s fastest internet backbone. CA*net4 was deployed in 2004: it is eight times faster than its predecessor, providing connection speeds of 10 billion bits per second. Universities, research organizations and businesses in the province are connected to the Canadian network though SRnet (Saskatchewan Research Network). SRnet provides the physical link between Saskatoon and Regina which permits direct access between the two universities. Their libraries are now interconnected with all other library resources in the province as part of a multitype library system.
Bob Kavanagh, Daryl Hepting