First 100 Gbps transatlantic link for researchers begins testing

While the rest of the world is clogging up the internet's lanes sending cat GIFs to one another, there are those that need clear highways to be, you know, productive. To that end, a group of six research and education networks including Internet2 have demonstrated the first 100 Gbps link between North America and Europe reserved specifically for their intellectual agenda. It won't be much use just yet, as the Advanced North Atlantic 100G Pilot project (ANA-100G) will be subject to a year of testing while "operational requirements" are looked at. The plan, though, is for the link to be used in the future by universities and research organizations for sending huge datasets, like those created by the LHC. One of the demos cut the time for a large transfer from Maastricht (Netherlands) to Chicago down from several hours over normal internet to just a few minutes over the private pipe. Head to the PR for more info on the project, and think of all that bandwidth you'll never be able to use.

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World's First Intercontinental 100 Gbps Link for Research and Education Demonstrated at TERENA Networking Conference in The Netherlands

Leaders Enable Transformational Applications To Advance Research and Education and Benefit
the Global Economy

Maastricht, The Netherlands – June 3, 2013 – Six of the world's leading research and education (R&E) networks and two commercial partners today demonstrated for the first time a Transatlantic 100 gigabits-per-second (Gbps or one billion bits per second) transmission link for research and education between North America and Europe during the TERENA Networking Conference 2013 (TNC2013), held in Maastricht, The Netherlands. These demonstrations showcased emerging technologies and advanced applications for science, research and education.

The 100 Gbps link, called the Advanced North Atlantic 100G Pilot project (ANA-100G) will be used for engineering and testing the new transmission link, applications, resources, monitoring techniques and advanced technologies such as software-defined networking. The testing will be between as many as four open exchange points, including MAN LAN in New York City and NetherLight in Amsterdam for at least 12 months following the conference. These efforts will determine the operational requirements needed to effectively run 100 Gbps wavelengths between North America and Europe to meet the growing demand of specialized research organizations.

"This achievement shows that research and education networks are at the forefront of innovation, thereby empowering the most advanced research by universities and research institutions worldwide," said Erwin Bleumink, chief executive officer of SURFnet – the local organizer of TNC2013. "The impact of this development however will also be seen outside academia and help stimulate the global economy."

The R&E networks participating in the project are Internet2, NORDUnet, ESnet, SURFnet, CANARIE, and GÉANT. Ciena (NASDAQ: CIEN) is also supporting the ANA-100G pilot. Ciena is providing photonic equipment, including the recently released subsea version of the 100 Gbps WaveLogic 3 transponder. Furthermore, Juniper loaned equipment that enables some of the eye-catching demonstrations. The leaders' announced their intentions for the pilot at the recent Internet2 Annual Meeting1.

Demonstrations of the intercontinental 100 Gbps link include big data transfers between Maastricht and Chicago, Illinois taking a few minutes rather than many hours over the public Internet; the "First European ExoGENI at Work" demonstration between the University of Amsterdam and the Renaissance Computing Institute in North Carolina; and "How many modern servers can fill a 100Gbps Transatlantic Circuit?"

ExoGENI is a testbed for networking and cloud computing technologies. It is funded through the National Science Foundation's Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI) project to develop and deploy integrated network testbeds. The demonstrations also include the use of multipath routing of network information, OpenFlow software-defined networking technology and other advanced technology applications. In the "How many modern servers can fill a 100 Gbps Transatlantic Circuit?" demonstration, experts show that with the proper tuning and tool, only two hosts on each continent can generate almost 80 Gbps of traffic. ESnet's new "iperf3" throughput beta measurement device combines the best features from other tools such as iperf, nuttcp, and netperf.

This first Transatlantic 100 Gbps link for R&E will advance high-end projects such as the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, the ITER fusion reactor in France and similar international programs. The 100 Gbps Transatlantic connection reflects two trends in scientific research: science is increasingly data driven with datasets from large-scale experiments at the tera-scale level, and these experiments are increasingly carried out by international collaborations in which researchers around the globe expect immediate access to the datasets.

The operation of this ultra high-speed link across the Atlantic Ocean also illustrates how the close collaboration between research and education networks and the commercial sector continues to evolve, with the ongoing deployment of cutting-edge networking technologies that underpin groundbreaking, globally collaborative science and discovery.

Executive quotes:

H. David Lambert, president and chief executive officer of Internet2, remarked, "Without the exceptional work of a large team of people from 10 different organizations working across nine time zones, this breakthrough for the R&E community would not have been possible. The launch of this new high-capacity link for R&E fits well with the theme of this year's TERENA Networking Conference: Innovating Together."

Rene Buch, chief executive officer of NORDUnet, stated "The ANA-100G collaboration shows what we can do together in a public-private partnership, which would have been impossible for any single organization to accomplish, especially taking into consideration the short time frame in which we got this first intercontinental 100 Gbps up and running."

Greg Bell, director of the U.S. Department of Energy's ESnet, said, "This achievement shows how much research and education networks can do together, when focused on a common goal. I'm confident that our historic project will serve as a model for even greater accomplishments in the future."

Matthew Scott and Niels Hersoug, DANTE joint general managers added on behalf of GÉANT, "As research and education collaboration becomes ever more global, and Transatlantic data grows exponentially, it is not sustainable operationally to continue at multiple 10Gbps connections. Therefore on behalf of our NREN partners and their users we welcome this milestone achievement, and look forward to further collaboration between research and education networks to deliver economies of scale and seamless global connectivity."

Jim Roche, president and chief executive officer of CANARIE, said, "This project ushers in a new era in research and education networking. We don't know exactly what the future will hold, but we do know that this Transatlantic foundation opens doors to extraordinary opportunities in innovation and research that are unconstrained by bandwidth."

Rodney Wilson, Ciena's senior director of external research, commented, "The research and education community relies on cutting-edge communications technology for global collaboration to achieve scientific advancements. This 100G WaveLogic 3 Transatlantic deployment illustrates the value of Ciena's pioneering technology and our ability to optimize the interconnection of R&E Points of Presence with combined submarine and terrestrial solutions. We are proud of our part in bolstering network connectivity for development of new network applications and research network architectures."

The TNC2013 Conference provides the ideal venue for demonstrating the high-speed connection, as the meeting is the largest and most prestigious European research networking conference. More than 600 participants including decision makers, networking specialists and managers from all major European networking and research organizations, universities, worldwide sister institutions and industry representatives attend the conference.