Boffins make data go zoom

6.25Gbps over 11,000km

A team of boffins from CERN and Caltech has set a Internet2 Land Speed Record by transferring data across 11,000km at an average rate of 6.25Gbps. Puny broadband, by comparison, manages only around 1Mbps - or 2Mbps if you are very lucky - making it approximately 10,000 times slower.

The Internet2 Land Speed Record is an ongoing and open competition for the highest bandwidth, end-to-end networks. And it isn't just a pointless geek challenge, according to Olivier Martin, head of the external networking at CERN:

"This new record is of great importance to the future of data intensive Grids such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Computing Grid that CERN, together with its LHC partners around the world, is actively deploying."

Harvey Newman, Professor of Physics at Caltech, supports this view. He says that recent studies of requirements by the US Department of Energy show that research in high energy physics, astrophysics, fusion energy, climatology, bioinformatics and other fields will require networks in the terabit per second range within the next decade. The next step will be to move from the experimental results into a production setting.

The CERN-Caltech team used the same IPv4 protocols on which the rest of the Net is based to reach the 68,431 terabit-meters per second mark. They also hold the record for IPv6, having previously achieved 4Gbps using that set of protocols, but are not resting on their laurels.

"We are hopeful that new IPv4 and IPv6 Internet2 Land Speed Records will be established this year, bringing us closer to 100 petabit-metres per second marks, or nominal 10 gigabits per second throughputs," Martin said. ®

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