As part of the OMNI program, several research partners, including SBC, Nortel, iCAIR, EVL at UIC, MCS at Argonne National Laboratory, and CANARIE have created the world's most advanced metro network testbed (OMNInet), based on leading-edge photonic technology, including lambda switching. On this large-scale optical metro testbed, the partnership is conducting trials of photonic-based GE and 10GE services (providing speeds of 10 Gigabits per second). These services are high-performance, highly scalable, and manageable at all levels.

These advanced services will enable a wide range of new, powerful advanced applications, including those related to high performance streaming media, computational scientific research, engineering, health care, finance, and commercial services. Underlying such discipline-specific applications are cross-cutting support applications, such as advanced digital video, remote access to scientific instruments, specialized virtual-reality such as Teleimmersion, data-mining, and high-performance distributed systems.

OMNInet was established to allow research on core optical components, including multiprotocol, integrated DWDM, experiments with new technologies and techniques, (including IP control planes using GMPLS), testing, and analysis, and for the creation of new protocols. OMNInet employs Internet protocols and mesh architectures to provide reliability through redundancy, automatic restoration, optimization through traffic management, pre-fault-diagnostics for trouble avoidance, granulated service definition, etc.

The new types of digital communication services being developed are based on new types of photonic-based components, architecture and techniques that support multiple interconnected lightwave (lambda) paths within fiber strands OMNInet employs Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM), which allows transmitting multiple light frequencies through a single fiber. Each frequency can simultaneously communicate data - substantially increasing the capacity of the fiber. Traditionally, these techniques have been used for long-haul services. However, newer, related technologies are now being designed specifically to optimize local digital communication services, such as those within metro areas. Key components are adjustable lasers and minute mirrors that control light wavelengths to route traffic.

The OMNInet research project includes:

  • Trials of highly reliable, scalable 10 GE in metropolitan and wide area networks. Ethernet is the global standard for local area networks (LANS) that connect today's computing devices. 10 GE runs at speeds 10-100 times faster than current standards, and can extend the network throughout metropolitan areas (MANs) and between cities (WANs).

  • Trials of new technologies to support applications that require extremely high levels of bandwidth.

  • Development and trial of optical switching, ensuring maximized capabilities in the wide scale deployment of all-photonic networks.

This research partnership also includes the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and CANARIE, the Canadian Advance Network for Advanced Research, Industry, and Education.


(For more detailed information see OMNInet.)

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