Internet2 upgrades to 100 Gbps

University scholars who need to borrow large chunks of bandwidth for their studies will be able to establish a dedicated, 10 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) link from one facility to another over Internet2 beginning in January, officials from the ultra high-speed network say.

The new development, which will allow researchers to deploy extra bandwidth as needed for short periods of time, is part of an ambitious effort to upgrade Internet2’s network infrastructure. That effort–which boosts the network’s overall operating speed to 100 Gbps–is now complete, the organization announced Oct. 9 at its annual Fall Member Meeting.

The Internet2 network connects more than 200 member universities to aid in research and education. As part of the upgrade, each segment of the network now features a set of ten 10-Gbps links, each running on a separate wavelength of light, for a total of 100 Gbps of bandwidth. What’s more, Internet2’s developers say they can scale each segment to handle up to 100 wavelengths in the future, for another tenfold increase in the network’s capacity.

“Today’s milestone marks the completion of an ambitious effort to exponentially increase the capacity and flexibility of the networking resources available to serve the rapidly changing needs of the Internet2 community,” said Doug Van Houweling, Internet2 president and CEO.

At its Oct. 9 meeting, the group introduced a new Dynamic Circuit Network (DCN) feature, which will allow researchers to set up dedicated, 10-Gbps point-to-point connections for the short-term transfer of data on demand. This feature will be available to Internet2 member universities beginning in January.

In a demonstration of this new DCN feature at the organization’s fall meeting, physicist Carl Lundstedt of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) set up a 10 Gbps dedicated circuit between the UNL campus and Fermilab, a research facility in Batavia, Ill. Using this dedicated connection, Lundstedt was able to transfer one-third of a terabyte of information in just five minutes–a result that will help Lundstedt and his colleagues significantly with their particle-acceleration research.

Lundstedt serves as a grid system administrator for the U.S. Compact Muon Solenoid project, one of several highly anticipated experiments that will take advantage of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) when it becomes operational next year. The LHC, currently under construction at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland, is intended to become the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is being funded and built in collaboration with more than 2,000 physicists from 34 countries, universities, and laboratories.

“The LHC experimentation that our campus will be involved in over the next several years brought about an immediate need for us to explore new ways of networking that can support the intense, short-term demands of our researchers,” said Dale Finkelson, UNL’s network director. “Internet2’s new Dynamic Circuit Network holds the promise of providing cost-effective, on-demand bandwidth that can easily handle these powerful requirements.”

Rick Summerhill, Internet2’s chief technology officer, compared the network’s new DCN feature to a utility that can be tapped as necessary.

“Just like you switch on a light or turn on a water tap, we envision a future where researchers, scientists, faculty, artists, [and so on] will be able to ‘turn on’ a high-capacity network connection when, and where, they need it,” he said.

Researchers who need a more permanent high-speed conduit to their partners’ institutions will be able to purchase long-term, dedicated point-to-point circuits with speeds up to 10 Gbps on separate wavelengths as part of the Internet2’s new WaveCo service, the organization said.

Led by the research and education community since 1996, Internet2 promotes the missions of its members by facilitating the development, deployment, and use of revolutionary internet technologies. Its high-speed network infrastructure is helping to transform research and education in fields ranging from science and telemedicine to the performing arts.

The group’s upgraded network “is the result of Internet2 listening to member needs and the vision outlined by our community,” said Greg Palmer, executive director of MAGPI, an Internet2 member and advanced networking hub serving eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. “In doing so, not only will the network offer our community flexibility, but it also makes the best use of our investment dollars to ensure that the limitations of what our researchers, faculty, students, and scientists can achieve are only those of imagination, and not of resources.”



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