Canadian Researchers Break Records for Data Transfer with
Newly Established "Light Path"
A Terabyte of Data Transferred to Switzerland With Speeds
Doubling Previous Records
(Vancouver, BC September 30, 2002) TRIUMF, in partnership with Canarie Inc.
and Altas Canada, announced today the successful transfer of a Terabyte of
research data at rates equivalent to a full DVD in less than one minute over
a newly established "light path" extending 12,000 kms from TRIUMF in
Vancouver to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
"The ability to establish dedicated "light paths" across several networks is
required for high-performance research applications and is expected to be a
cornerstone of future commercial applications, including high definition
multimedia on demand," said Bill St. Arnaud, Senior Director Networks
Projects from Canarie Inc.
"The transfer of large quantities of data has been difficult in the past and
the "light path" technology allows researchers around the world to share
findings and data," said Corrie Kost, Project Leader from TRIUMF. "This
project demonstrates that with "off the shelf" equipment, high speed data
transfer can be the next generation technology for commercial and research
The demonstration, part of the iGRID 2002 conference held last week in
Amsterdam, required dedicated portions of fibre-optic networks, spanning one
provincial (BCnet) and two national research and education networks (CA*net
4 and SURFnet) to establish the on-demand private network. Experiments were
also conducted on the DataTag link, a dedicated European-US research link
between Chicago and CERN.
The project culminated in establishing the first large scale end-to-end
"light path" to transfer a Terabyte of research data (equivalent to the
amount of data on approximately 1500 CDs) from disk-to-disk at rates
equivalent to a full CD in less than 8 seconds (or a full length DVD movie
in less than 1 minute). Peak transfer rates in excess of 1 Gigabit/second
were achieved, twice the previous known record for this distance.
This is the first establishment of an inter-domain end to end "light path"
dedicated for a research application, a core design principle of CA*net 4.
The "light path" directly connecting TRIUMF and CERN (the European
Organization for Nuclear Research) is the longest known single hop network
spanning the distance from Vancouver to Geneva via optical internet
exchanges in Chicago, Amsterdam, and CERN. These exchanges, respectively,
STARLIGHT and NETHERLIGHT, the CERN Internet Exchange Point, are next
generation peering points for Research and Education networks.
The four member research team was comprised of Corrie Kost and Steve
McDonald from TRIUMF, Bryan Caron from the Center for Subatomic Research at
the University of Alberta and Wade Hong from the Department of Physics at
Carleton University. The project deployed the 10 Gigabit Ethernet
technology (capable of speeds 2500 times greater than the fastest available
residential service) at each end of the "light path" using high performance
network switching equipment generously provided by Extreme Networks.
A number of file transfer programs were demonstrated to be capable of
transferring data at very high rates. "Tsunami", developed at Indiana
University's Advanced Network Management Lab (www.anml.iu.edu) to overcome
the shortcomings of the Transmission Control Protocol over very large
distances was cooperatively being tested as part of this trial. Utilizing
modifications to the Linux TCP/IP stack, developed at the California
Institute of Technology and CERN, the team was able to dramatically improve
the performance of other commonly used file transfer programs.
About TRIUMF (www.triumf.ca)
TRIUMF has the world's largest cyclotron and is considered to be one of the
major particle accelerator laboratories in the world. It is operated as a
joint venture by five Canadian universities and counts an additional six
universities as associate members. It is funded via a contribution
agreement through the National Research Council of Canada.
About the Light Path Project
Contributors to the Light Path project included:
Canarie and CA*net4
Contact: Bill St. Arnaud
Contact: Michael Hrybyk, President & CEO
Contact: James Pinfold
Contact: Olivier H. Martin
Advanced Network Management Lab
Contact: Mark Meiss 812-855-1878
For further information:
Erin Airton, Communications
Corrie Kost, Project Leader TRIUMF