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Berkeley Lab preps 100 Gbps prototype network

Level 3 and Ciena on board

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Berkeley Lab is to start laying the foundations for a 100 Gbps academic research network, in a subcontract agreement with Internet2.

Under the US Department of Energy’s $62m long-term investment in high speed academic networks, Berkeley Lab will work with staff from the DOE’s ESnet and Internet2 to develop a 100 Gbps prototype network.

The build will increase the DOE’s network capacity by “several orders of magnitude”, Berkeley Lab says.

The prototype will connect DOE computing centres at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre at Berkeley Lab (California); the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (Tennessee); and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (Illinois). These will in turn be connected to the Manhattan Landing International Exchange Point.

Level 3 Communications will provide the fibre strands and Ciena will supply the networking kit.

The demands of “big science” are outstripping the capabilities of today’s research networks. The announcement cites projects such as the Large Hadron Collider, as well as environmental modeling, astrophysics and energy modeling are all creating demand for networks at 100 Gbps capacity.

While long-haul backbone networks are now routinely deployed at the terabit scale, the difference with initiatives like this one is that they’re connecting end users (admittedly, end users with supercomputers handy) to the fat pipe.

Internet2 had previously deployed its own US-spanning 100 Gbps backbone.

DOE Office of Science Director William Brinkman cited the growth in global-scale data-driven science as driving the need for networks like this. ®

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