iCAIR Press Releases

SURFnet brings transatlantic lambda for research into optical networks into service

Utrecht, 16 January 2002 - SURFnet has brought into service a state-of-the-art optical multi-gigabit/s connection between Amsterdam and Chicago for research purposes. This 2.5 Gbit/s lambda connection constitutes the basis for experiments with new technologies for a fully optical Internet.

The optical connection was realised by Teleglobe within the context of the GigaPort project. It constitutes the connection between NetherLight in Amsterdam and StarLight in Chicago, the two locations that compose the current centre for next generation, optical Internet research. One unique feature of this connection is its complete transparency to the protocols to be used, allowing for unimpeded experiments with this new technology.

The connection is the world's first transatlantic lambda that is used for Internet technology research purposes. "The lambda connection is intended to stimulate the technology of fully optical networks, so that we can offer users the possibilities of a next generation Internet at the earliest possible moment," says Kees Neggers, Managing Director of SURFnet. Yves Poppe, Director and R&E Liaison of Teleglobe adds: "Teleglobe is pleased to continue its tradition as partner of research networks in this cooperation and in this manner contribute to the acceleration of the development of the next generation Internet."

Optical technologies such as lambda networking and optical switching will be deployed in the near future to resolve bandwidth bottlenecks in the core of the Internet. Among other things the lambda between NetherLight (situated at SARA Computing and Networking Services) and StarLight will be used to interconnect computer clusters, visualisation (virtual reality) stations and Grid environments (distributed computing) in Europe and the US. The Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam coordinates these scientific broadband applications. It carries out network protocol research on this unique connection employing computer clusters directly connected to the lambda. The know-how gained can subsequently be applied in scientific and commercial applications that require high-speed Internet.

SURFnet operates and innovates the national research network, to which two hundred institutions in higher education and research in the Netherlands are connected. To remain in the lead SURFnet puts in a sustained effort to improve the infrastructure and to develop new applications to give users faster and better access to new Internet services. For more information please visit www.surfnet.nl.

GigaPort is a project of the Dutch government, trade and industry, educational institutions and research institutes. The aim of GigaPort is to give the Netherlands a head start in the development and use of advanced and innovative Internet technology. GigaPort has two subprojects: GigaPort Network and GigaPort Applications. GigaPort Network is realised by SURFnet; GigaPort Applications is realised by the Telematica Instituut. For more information on GigaPort please visit www.gigaport.nl.

Teleglobe, a leading provider of global communications and Internet services, enables its customers to maximise the potential of the Internet through its delivery of hosting services, content distribution and global connectivity. With a lit capacity of 10 million+ Gbps-miles, 149 POPs and approximately 300,000 square feet of hosting facilities (year-end 2001), Teleglobe has one of the world's largest international Internet backbones serving a broad base of enterprise, Internet content provider (ICP), Internet service provider (ISP) and carrier customers. Teleglobe is expanding its network with its GlobeSystem initiative, a multi-billion dollar IP network and hosting deployment that will increase its IP network capacity 200 fold and provide a robust platform for a portfolio of Internet and data services. Teleglobe is owned by Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) Inc., based in Montreal. For more information please visit www.teleglobe.com.

StarLight(sm), the optical STAR TAP(sm) initiative, is an advanced optical infrastructure and proving ground for network services optimised for high-performance applications. Operational since summer 2001, StarLight is a 1GigE and 10GigE switch/router facility for high-performance access to participating networks and will ultimately become a true optical switching facility for wavelengths. StarLight is being developed by the Electronic Visualisation Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), 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. STAR TAP and StarLight are made possible by major funding from the US National Science Foundation to the University of Illinois at Chicago. STAR TAP and StarLight are service marks of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For more information please visit www.startap.net/starlight.

NetherLight is an experimental optical Internet interconnection point in Amsterdam that is being realised within the context of the GigaPort project. Research networks and institutes in the Netherlands and abroad can connect their lambdas in order to research models and techniques for future generations of optical Internet Exchanges.

SARA Computing and Networking Services
SARA Reken- en Netwerkdiensten is a Dutch national expertise centre in the field of High-Performance Computing and High-Performance Networking. SARA acquired the status of National High Performance Computing Center in 1985 and has been responsible for housing and managing the national supercomputer ever since. SARA also has a number of supercomputers at its disposal, purchased together with one or all of the Dutch universities. In the field of High-Performance Networking SARA is responsible for the technical/operational management of the GigaPort network. SARA hosts the lambda, and will be involved in implementing it and bringing it into service, as well as further experimenting. Moreover SARA is an important interconnection point for national and international networks. For more information on SARA please visit www.sara.nl.

The Faculty of Science of University of Amsterdam
The Advanced Internet Research group of the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Science researches new architectures and protocols for the Internet. It actively participates in world-wide standardisation organisations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Global Grid Forum. The group conducts experiments with extremely high-speed network infrastructures. The Institute carries out groundbreaking research in the fields of security, authorisation, authentication and accounting for Grid environments. The Institute is developing a virtual laboratory based on Grid technology for e-science applications. For more information please visit www.science.uva.nl/research/air.

Return to iCAIR Press Releases