iCAIR News

Force10 Enables Transcont'l 10 Gb Ethernet WAN Transmission
October 24, 2003

Force10 Networks Inc, a pioneer in resilient switching and routing, announced that the E-Series switch/router is providing the wide area network physical layer (WAN PHY) foundation for a series of groundbreaking demonstrations validating 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) transmissions over a world-spanning Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) OC-192 network between Geneva, Switzerland, Amsterdam, and Ottawa.

"We wanted to validate the 10 Gigabit Ethernet WAN PHY as a potential technology that would be able to support transmission of large amounts of data generated by research with our new Large Hadron Collider (LHC), designed to probe the nature of matter," said Bob Dobinson of the CERN ATLAS experiment team in Geneva. "We wanted to see 10GbE working over Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) as well as an OC-192 SONET/SDH long-haul transmission system, including all the various regeneration elements. We were also interested in how well the higher level protocols, such as Transmission Control and User Datagram Protocol (TCP/UDP) adapt to such a fat pipe."

The network consists of a SURFnet OC-192 lambda between Geneva and the StarLight facility in Chicago via Amsterdam and another OC-192 lambda between this same facility in Chicago and Carleton University in Ottawa provided by CANARIE and ORANO. In this demonstration, the Force10 switch/routers connected directly to the SONET equipment using two 10 Gb per second WAN PHY interfaces.

"This transcontinental demonstration of 10 Gigabit Ethernet is a milestone in the validation that native Ethernet is ready for long haul deployments and also establishes Grid computing as a cost effective, scalable WAN platform," said Andrew Feldman, Force10 vice president of marketing. "The deployment is also further proof that Force10's E-Series switch/routers have the resiliency and scalable performance necessary to reduce the number of network elements in large scale deployments, thereby reducing the overall cost of operation"

The transatlantic tests were preceded by pioneering work on the Geneva Amsterdam segment of the connection, where SURFnet, University of Amsterdam and CERN were successful in running traffic at line rate on the Force10 WAN PHY connected directly to DWDM equipment in addition to tests run over SONET. Prior to this, CERN, Carleton University, Cortex Networks and CANARIE had performed WAN PHY line rate testing over OC-192 SONET transport equipment in the CANARIE labs in Ottawa.

The 10GbE WAN PHY technology permits Ethernet frame transportation over existing SONET/SDH infrastructures and extends the span and reach of a network to include distant countries and continents. Long haul Ethernet of the type demonstrated between Geneva, Amsterdam, and Ottawa offers significant cost advantages by using fewer and less costly components than traditional WAN transportation alternatives, in particular when connecting the 10GbE WAN PHY directly to the DWDM equipment, as demonstrated in some of these tests.

The Force10 E-Series is a new generation of switch/routers that provide resilient, reliable line rate IP routing and switching at Gigabit and 10 Gigabit speeds. Built around the EtherScale ASICs, the E-Series offers the industry's first fully distributed hardware architecture. In combination with the fully modular Force10 FTOS software, the E-Series provides best in class resiliency and redundancy at line rate 10 Gigabit speeds while also enabling new levels of network-based security with unique protection against Denial of Service attacks.

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