New initiative on 100 GbE R & D

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 7:20am
Brian Santo

Internet2, ESnet, Infinera, Juniper Networks and Level 3 Communications are joining to collaborate on the development of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) technologies. The group said it plans to create a 100 GbE testbed on the Internet2 and ESnet networks, with an operational network capability soon thereafter.

The majority of the members of Internet 2 are colleges and universities; the network aims to be a template for an improved Internet. ESnet is the Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network. The development of technologies for 100 GbE will help both deal with steadily growing traffic used on their networks. 

The development of standards for 100 GbE is a key part of the process to support widespread, cost-effective deployment of 100 GbE technology. The IEEE is currently targeting mid-2010 for industry agreement on a 100 GbE standard. The parties will support the effort to create a standard and look forward to implementing that standard.

"Today, researchers have shifted from working in local laboratories to collaborating on a global scale. Massive data streams generated by this new environment are driving exponential growth in the networking needs of our community that could require 100 GbE services by as early as 2010," said Rob Vietzke, Internet2’s executive director of network services. "Together with our collaborators, we are working to make 100 GbE a reality so researchers will never be bound by their geographic location or bandwidth requirements."

In 2006, Internet2 announced an agreement with Level 3 Communications to deploy a new nationwide network, designed to add capacity as Internet2 members' needs evolve. Internet2 and ESnet also announced a partnership to build the next-generation of ESnet on the shared Internet2 infrastructure. They report that both networks are experiencing rapid growth.

"Scientific discovery today is highly dependent upon the ease of access to data. Current usage trends in areas like high-energy physics and climate change research indicate that researchers will soon begin to saturate the dedicated 10-Gigabit-per-second links deployed today. This important effort ensures our scientists will have the most advanced network capabilities in the next few years to make new breakthroughs that were previously unimaginable," said Steve Cotter, head of ESnet.

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