Advanced Optical Networks
With its research partners, iCAIR designs and develops new architecture, services, and technologies related to next generation networks based on advanced optical technologies, including those that are based on dynamic lightpath provisioning. iCAIR has established multiple initiatives with these partners to implement these innovations on prototype networks and early production networks, regionally, nationally, and globally.
New services based on advanced optical networks allow routed packet services to be complemented by integrated L1 and L2 services. The term “hybrid networks” is used to describe these multi-layer integrated capabilities. The primary facilities and networks that are advancing the innovations in next generation optical networking are described here. Key issues include the architecture and design for an optimized large-scale, reliable networking infrastructure based on advanced optical networking technology.
New types of architectures envision extremely powerful high-capacity network cores, with complexity and network intelligence pushed to the edge. These directions include migrating from networks based on multiple hierarchical levels to simpler, more flexible designs that allow for faster service provisioning, optimized transit, enhanced reliability, and customization opportunities. These designs incorporate new types of control planes, and dynamic, intelligent optical core components.
StarLightSM, the "optical STAR TAP" (Science, Technology and Research Transit Access Point), is a National Science Foundation-funded international communications exchange facility on Northwestern’s Chicago campus, which interconnects advanced networks world-wide. STAR TAPSM, was the first international interconnection point that had facilitated the long-term interconnection and interoperability of advanced international networking since 1997. StarLight, its successor has been designed and developed "researchers, for researchers," specifically by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory of UIC (EVL), the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University, and the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, in partnership with Canada's CANARIE and Holland's SURFnet. The global scientist community were among the first users of this facility because of the requirements of their data intensive applications as well as their need for distributed computing and storage. Currently, StarLight supports science research communities world-wide. This facility is also being used as an experimental proving ground for next generation emerging national and international optical networks, that are laying the groundwork for future optical networks and network services optimized for high-performance applications. StarLight is a core resource for the international Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF), a world-wide optical fiber based resource that enables multiple advanced applications and networks to be designed and implemented. StarLight is one of the GLIF Open Lambda Exchanges (GOLEs) StarLight
StarLight and STAR TAP are registered trademarks of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
- Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF)
iCAIR is a founding member of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF), which is an international organization that is developing and promoting new methods and concepts related to lightpath (lambda) networking. This organization was established as a collaborative initiative among worldwide National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), consortia, corporations, and other institutions. Many of these entities operate facilities that support communication services based on flexible lightpath provisioning. The GLIF participants provide lightpaths internationally to support multiple research and development activities directed at creating new international communication services. As a global integrated facility, the GLIF supports data-intensive scientific research, optical middleware development, new types of management methods, and many testbed projects. iCAIR is participating with other members of the GLIF in the design and development of international facilities that support new services based on lightpaths, including autonomous peerings. This type of facility is a GLIF Open Lambda Exchange (GOLE). A prototype of such an exchange has been implemented at the StarLight facility.
- Global Ring Network for Advanced Application Development (GLORIAD)
Another iCAIR partner is the Global Ring Network for Advanced Application Development(GLORIAD) initiative, which has implemented an international facility to support scientists world-wide with advanced networking services and technologies for enhanced communications and data exchange, active collaboration, and integrated processes. GLORIAD supports large scale applications support, communication services, large scale data transport, access to unique scientific facilities, including Grid environments, and specialized network based tools and technologies for diverse communities of scientists, engineers, and other researcher domains. GLORIAD is a partnership among the US, China, Russia, Canada, the Netherlands, Korea, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. GLORIAD has implemented capabilities for providing optical paths within its environment for specialized functions, such as experimental research and demonstrations.
iCAIR is a research partner in, and organizing member of, the TransLight project, funded by the National Science Foundation, which is developing an advanced global network for large scale e-Science. Other partners include NetherLight (Netherlands), UKLight (Britain), CA*net4 (Canada), CERNnet (CERN, the European Union particle physics laboratory network), Geant-2 (European Union), GLORIAD, and TransPAC (Asia Pacific networks, including those that are coordinated through the Asia Pacific Advanced Networking organization (APAN). In the summer of 2005, based on these initiatives, the NSF funded the TransLight/StarLight initiative.
CANARIE Inc. is Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network. Established in 1993, CANARIE manages an ultra high-speed network, hundreds of times faster than the internet, which facilitates leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. More than 39,000 researchers at nearly 200 Canadian universities and colleges use the CANARIE Network, as well as researchers at institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories throughout the country. The CANARIE Network enables researchers to share and analyze massive amounts of data, which can lead to ground-breaking scientific discoveries. CANARIE's network, programs, and strategic partnerships with 12 regional networks in Canada, and 100 international networks in more than 80 countries, stimulate research that delivers economic, social, and cultural benefits to Canadians.
CANARIE is a non-profit corporation supported by membership fees, with major funding of its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada. For additional information, please visit: canarie.ca.
NetherLight, which connects StarLight to SURFnet in the Netherlands, is being funded by the government of the Netherlands through the GigaPort project. NetherLight created the world's first trans-Atlantic wavelength (2.5 Gbps) devoted to research, and later upgraded circuit to 10 Gbps. Within the Netherlands, it terminates at the SURFnet facility within the SARA science center and interconnects with the national SURFnet6 optical network. GigaPort is a joint project of the Dutch government, trade and industry, educational institutions and research institutes. The aim of GigaPort is to provide the Netherlands with advanced, innovative technology. The GigaPort project is implemented under the authority of the GigaPort Steering Committee. GigaPort Network is realized by SURFnet.
iCAIR has formed a partnership with CESNET, the National Research and Education Network of the Czech Republic, manages the CzechLight Optical Internet Exchange, which is sponsored by the Czech Republic. CzechLight has provisioned a 10 Gbps circuit from Prague to StarLight via NetherLight and SURFnet. CzechLight is a member of the TransLight and GLIF consortia).
iCAIR has formed a partnership with NORDUnet to develop NorthernLight as TransLight Optical Internet Exchange for the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway), Sweden (via NetherLight and SURFnet. NL is interlinked with NetherLight to provide for a path to StarLight. NORDUnet has recently joined the GLORIAD consortium.
iCAIR has formed a partnership with JGN-2, which is being supported by Japan’s NICT organization. JGN-2 is a multi-year year Japanese advanced networking research and development project that includes a 10 Gbps international path from Tokyo to StarLight. This project is creating a next generation networking infrastructure for Japan. iCAIR is engaged in several research projects with JGN-2.
For many years, iCAIR has been engaged in multiple projects with Korean research institutions and networking organizations on advanced networking and digital media. Currently, iCAIR is working with various organizations on enhanced links. These networks have recently formed a partnership with GLORIAD to implement a 10 G connection.
iCAIR has worked in partnership with CERN the European particle physic laboratory and LHCnet to provision several 10 Gbps network linking CERN and SURFnet in the Netherlands and CERN and StarLight. With NetherLight, StarLight, this ring constituted the first components of TransLight, a unique high performance international research network. iCAIR has participated in several projects with CERN to demonstrate the potential for high performance international networking.
- Taiwan Advanced Research and Education Network (TWAREN)
TWAREN (TaiWan Advanced Research & Education Network) was established under the "Challenge 2008" Program, as part of the comprehensive multi-year National Development Plan. The National Center for High Performance Computing (NCHC) design and implemented TWAREN as a next generation research and education network, as a national and international fabric based on 10G and DWDM technologies. TWAREN has multiple circuits at StarLight, including at 10 Gbps.
iCAIR has had a long term partnership with ASCC, a science and technology research center in Taiwan, which supports international networks for scientific research. iCAIR and ASCC cooperated in provisioning a major high capacity high performance network path to LA and from LA to StarLight and also a an extension of that path from StarLight to London.
- AMPATH (Pathway to Central and South Americas)
iCAIR has formed a partnership with AMericasPATH interconnects South and Central American scientific laboratories and scientists and US research and educational networks, federal networks, national labs and sites and US universities. AMPATH is connected to StarLight at 1 Gbps. iCAIR is working with AMPATH to enhance the link to 10 Gbps. AMPATH is a Florida International University and Global Crossing collaborative project. AMPATH also receives support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF).
ESnet is the Department of Energy’s Energy Science network, which is actually comprised of two separate networks, a general services network and a Science Data Network, which is capable of supporting dynamic L1/L2 services on optical channels. ESnet has established a core hub at the StarLight facility.
- National Lambda Rail (NLR)
Multiple iCAIR research experiments are being conducted on the National Lambda Rail (NLR), a US national distributed facility, which has a foundation consisting of leased optical fiber. This facility was deliberately designed and implemented as a facility not as a network. Consequently, it can support many different types of networks, including advanced experimental research networks. The NLR can support all of these networks using a common core infrastructure. Have of the capacity of the NLR is devoted to advanced research, related to fundamental technology research but also to such topics as new methods for supporting science applications. The NLR has a presence at the StarLight facility.
- UltraScience Network
The UltraScience Network is a Department of Energy (DOE) experimental research wide-area testbed that was designed to enabling the next generation of DOE large-scale, highly distributed science projects, which have high performance and flexibility requirements that cannot be supported by traditional networking. These applications require a wide range of advanced capabilities. The Ultra Science Network has been instantiated as a prototype of a new national network that leverages advanced optical networking technologies. UltraScience Network provides on-demand dedicated bandwidth channels at multi, single and sub lambda resolutions (SONET and GigE) between its edges. Various types of protocol, middleware and application research projects can make use of the dedicated channels provisioned by . The (UltraScience network) has a core hub at the StarLight facility.
UIC/EVL has a persistent 10GigE connection to the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of California, San Diego via its own private 10 Gbps wavelengths on the National LambdaRail (NLR). CAVEWave is dedicated to networking research and development.
The TeraGrid is a large scale, distributed computationally intensive infrastructure, with sites at several facilities in the US including the National Center for Supercomputing, the San Diego Supercomputing Center at the University of California in San Diego, and Argonne National Lab. These sites are connected with special dedicated optical paths that are used as a distribute backplane. This Grid was designed to rival the most powerful computers in the world. It is many times more powerful than other computational Grids. It is being funded by a major National Science Foundation grant, the largest grant ever presented by that organization for computer hardware. The TeraGrid core node is at the StarLight facility, which provides the international community with access to the TeraGrid.
- NASA NISN
iCAIR is participating in projects related to NASA’s NISN at StarLight, including planning for future network designs and anticipated optical technologies. iCAIR has formed a partnership with NASA through a national NSF funded project being led by UCSD and UIC to design and implement in prototype a testbed optical based network that connects the Goddard Space Flight Center on the east coast through the StarLight facility.
The Illinois Wired/Wireless Infrastructure for Research and Education (I-WIRE), which has a core hub at the StarLight facility, is a State of Illinois funded optical network, based on dark fiber, connecting through a layer 1 service multiple organizations, including Argonne National Laboratory, National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois Century Network, Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago. I-WIRE fiber is being extended to several site in downstate Illinois, and it is interconnected to other dedicated-fiber based advanced network fabrics.
The UltraLight research project, which has a core hub at the StarLight facility, consists of an initiative established by a partnership of network engineers and experimental physicists who are developing new methods for providing the advanced network services required to support the next generation of high energy physics. The physics research community is designing and implementing new experimental facilities and instrumentation that will be the foundation for the next frontier of fundamental physics research. These facilities and instruments will generate multiple petabytes of particle physics data that will be analyzed by physicists world-wide. A key focus of the UltraLight project is the development of capabilities required for this petabyte-scale global analysis. The project is also developing novel monitoring tools for distributed high performance networks based on the MonALISA project. These efforts are being undertaken in partnership with CERN), Europe's particle physics lab (located in Switzerland), which is one of the world's largest generator of scientific data.
- Distributed Optical Testbed
iCAIR is a partner in a multi-institutional distributed optical testbed project initially funded by the National Science Foundation. This testbed provides a distributed Grid facility to researchers who require access to advanced computational Grid facilities based on programmable network elements, for example, dynamic path services components and novel control planes. Such programmable resources enable network elements to become “first class” Grid resources – configurable by Grid middleware.
- MREN/Optical MREN -- Advanced Networking for Advanced Applications
Currently, MREN is designing a next generation network based on optical technology that will have a nexus at the StarLight facility. MREN's mission is to create advanced, innovative networking architecture and digital communication services in support of leading-edge research and educational applications. Planned in 1993, and first implemented in 1994, MREN's primary focus has been providing advanced digital communications for leading-edge research and educational applications. MREN is a collaborative effort undertaken as an interdisciplinary, interorganizational, cooperative partnership. MREN is based on the premise that, in the future, the core foundation and enabling technology for most research and education activities will be high-performance, broadband digital networks. The MREN consortium believes that its research community will continue to drive advanced networking technologies for the foreseeable future, and therefore is dedicated to maintaining MREN's lead in advanced networking by developing and deploying new network designs, techniques and technologies.