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ESnet and Partners to Create First 100 Gbps Research Link Across Atlantic

April 24, 2013

Contact: Jon Bashor, jbashor@lbl.gov, +1 510 486 5849

Six of the world’s leading research and education networks – ESnet, Internet2, NORDUnet, SURFnet, CANARIE and GÉANT – have announced their intent to build the world’s first 100 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) intercontinental transmission links for research and education.

The project, called the “Advanced North Atlantic 100G Pilot” or ANA-100G, is aimed at stimulating the market for 100 Gbps intercontinental networking and advancing global networks and applications to benefit research and education. In addition to ESnet (the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network), the other participating networks are Internet2, NORDUnet (the Nordic Infrastructure for Research & Education), SURFnet (the Dutch National Research and Education Network), CANARIE (Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network), and GÉANT (the high speed European communication network dedicated to research and education, operated by DANTE).

The partners are inviting other national research and education networks (NRENs) and their constituencies from around the world to participate in the project. The announcement was made April 24 at the 2013 Internet2 Annual Meeting before 800 technology, education and research leaders.

“We believe scientific progress should be unconstrained by network capacity or geography – by the location of instruments, data, or people,” said ESnet Director Greg Bell. “This exciting pilot project is an important step in making that vision a reality, especially for research collaborations that span the Atlantic. We look forward to using the new link to test innovative applications, architectures, and workflows.”

Since ESnet deployed its 100 Gbps production network in collaboration with Internet2 late last year, other national networks have followed suit, but trans-Atlantic capacity has not been upgraded from the previous-generation 10 Gbps technology.  The new trans-Atlantic connection opens possibilities for increased collaborations between researchers at DOE’s national laboratories and their colleagues in Europe.

“Once this new link is in place, we look forward to connecting to CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider - as well as other European organizations - at 100 Gbps,” Bell said. “Because ESnet operates an independent 100 Gbps testbed from coast to coast, we’ll be able to use the new link to test very high-speed, high-latency paths and workflows, for instance between DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in California and sites in Europe. I anticipate experiments with demonstrations with a number of other DOE national labs as well.”

During the course of the pilot, Internet2, NORDUnet, ESnet, SURFnet, CANARIE, and GÉANT will use the new transmission link to test applications, network-attached resources, monitoring techniques and advanced technologies such as software-defined networking, between as many as four open exchange points, including MAN LAN in New York City and NetherLight in Amsterdam. These efforts will help determine the operational requirements needed to effectively run 100 Gbps wavelengths between North America and Europe in the future.

The announcement comes more than 10 years after the world's advanced research and education networks upgraded to 10G technology. In September 2002, the world's first 10 Gbps link between New York City and Amsterdam was put into production for the iGrid2002 Conference held in Amsterdam.

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