Bandwidth-hungry researchers gain 100G trans-Atlantic network connection

Redundant 100Gbps ring connecting researchers in North America, Europe to be shown off at SuperComputing event in New Orleans

The pressure is on research networks to jack up bandwidth to support ridiculously fast supercomputers, and this week four of those networks will demo their new 100Gbps trans-Atlantic connection at the SuperComputing conference (SC14) in New Orleans.

The redundant ANA-200G ring will support data transfer between North America (Internet2 in the United States and CANARIE in Canada) and Europe (NORDUnet in 5 Nordic countries and SURFnet in The Netherlands) at speeds previously obtainable only within continents.

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"This upgrade brings 100G technology to the Research and Education community's transatlantic links and catches intercontinental capacity to the 100G domestic deployments that Internet2, CANARIE, Nordunet and Surfnet have had in place for several years," says Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services at Internet2. "Upgrading the fabric between the domestic 100G networks to also be based on 100G allows the largest data flows (that are individually larger than 10Gbps) to cross the ocean and expand important scientific collaborations.”

The current configuration is slightly over a dozen 10G links. Those are still in place, but this new ring will allow those links to slowly be replaced.

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Demand for high-speed data transfers is on the rise in fields such as high-energy physics, genetics and climate research. 

Just last week, U.S. lawmakers and the Department of Energy announced plans for $325 million in funding for two supercomputers, including one that could support a record 300 petaflops. China's Tianhe-2 is currently the world's fastest supercomputer, with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s.

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