The new network, also known as AARNet3, will serve 1 million users and link South Australia's Partnership for Advanced Computing research network to supercomputing centres in the eastern states.
The trials follow AARNet's five-year deal with Cisco Systems to use its ONS 15454 provisioning platform for fibre optics in regional areas.
The platform will help AARNet provide multiple 10 gigabit wavelengths, and extend the bandwidth and reach of the network into regional Australia for research areas such as astronomy and high energy physics, said AARNet chief executive officer Chris Hancock.
"At the same time it will provide cost-effective advanced network services for educational uses," he said.
The five legs tested are Sydney to Brisbane (inland and coastal), Sydney to Melbourne (inland and coastal) and Sydney to Adelaide.
AARNet last year signed Juniper Networks to provide the core routers for the network backbone.