Internet2 Accelerates to 100 Gigabit

Next gen Internet research network begins 100 gigabit rollout. Is Terabit networking the next stop?

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 12, 2010
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Internet2 is moving to 100 Gigabit per second (100G) networking thanks to new technologies and standards. Internet2 is a high-speed network connecting over 50,000 research and educational facilities.

The official move to 100G networking should not come as a surprise, as Internet2 first announced its 100G intentions back in 2008. What has changed in the last two years is that 100G networking has moved from becoming just an idea to becoming an implementable reality.

"In 2008 Internet2, ESnet and our partners were really trying to help the market realize the need for 100G capabilities being driven by the research and education community," Rob Vietzke, Internet2 Executive Director of Network Services told InternetNews.com. "Our goal was to push faster adoption of 100G standards and get ready for the deployment that we are now beginning this year."

Vietzke added that today vendors are shipping 100G transponders for DWDM systems as well as 100G interfaces for routers. Availability of 100G equipment is linked to the fact that the IEEE 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet standard was ratified in June.

"Another thing that has changed is that scientists involved in big science projects like the Large Hadron Collider are already delivering huge data flows that require these expanded capabilities," Vietzke said.

Internet2 will be using equipment from Juniper Networks in order to build out its 100G infrastructure. Luc Ceuppens, Vice President of Product Marketing, Juniper Networks told InternetNews.com that Internet2 currently has T1600 core routers in service. He add that Internet2 is currently deploying the new 100G network on a region-by-region basis and expects to complete deployment in 2013. The T1600 is Juniper's flagship core routing platform. A 100G line card for the T1600 was announced by Juniper back in June of 2009.

Internet2's new 100G enabled network will actually have a total network capacity that dwarfs current systems. Back in 2008, Vietzke told InternetNews.com that Internet2 was running a 100 gigabit per second backbone by utilizing ten 10 Gbps waves.

"The new network that will be built will include between 5 and 8 terabits of capacity, based on the latest 100G DWDM systems and Juniper's T1600 routers," Vietzke said "It will have capability for at least fifty 100G waves and include a national scale 100G Ethernet service on the T1600 on day one."

In terms of cost, Juniper declined to comment on the specific value of the deployment of their gear to Internet2. That said, Vietzke noted that Internet2 has received funding from the U.S. government for the effort.

"Internet2 has been very fortunate to receive a $62.5M American Reinvestment and Recovery Act investment that will help support this project and deliver next generation network capabilities not only to our existing community but to as many as 200,000 community anchor institutions across the country," Vietzke said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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