• United States

10 Gig Ethernet goes long in Europe

Oct 07, 20032 mins

* CERN drives 10 Gigabit Ethernet network across Europe

Several European organizations have taken a nominally local area network technology and made it not so local.

CERN, SURFnet and the University of Amsterdam last week said they have built and tested a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network that uses the technology’s WAN physical layer to cover a lot of ground: 1,700 kilometers over four countries. The WAN PHY allows 10 Gigabit Ethernet to travel over Sonet/SDH networks.

Researchers used the network to set up a single TCP data stream between two “high-end” servers at 5.4G bit/sec. The reason that rate was not higher, they say, is that the PC servers’ hardware and software had limitations. With two PCs at each end, the researchers raised the data rate used to 9.2G bit/sec, much closer to the network’s full capacity.

The groups said 365 terabytes were transferred without any bit errors or packet loss, using IXIA network testers. Later, Force10 switch/routers were connected to the dense wave division multiplexing equipment.

The 10 Gigabit Ethernet link ran between Amsterdam and Geneva using fiber provided by SURFnet and Global Crossing.

The network is being built to support CERN’s particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. As I mentioned in this newsletter a year-and-a-half ago, CERN is planning to use grid computing technology to analyze data coming from the accelerator, and it will need a huge network to do it. The accelerator is now scheduled to go into operation in 2007.