100G research circuit connects education networks

By Laura Devaney
October 26th, 2015

New TransPAC-Pacific Wave link between Tokyo and Seattle will deliver 10 times faster connectivity

research-circuitIndiana University and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop have launched a 100-gigabits-per-second research circuit connecting Pacific Rim research and education networks with their counterparts in the United States.

Called the TransPAC-Pacific Wave, the new link connects network research hubs in Tokyo and Seattle. It will deliver data transfer speeds that are 10 times faster than current rates to researchers between Asia and the U.S.

The project is a collaboration between Indiana University; the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, which is the provider of the link; and the National Science Foundation.

The TransPAC-Pacific Wave is a joint effort of two NSF-funded projects: TransPAC4, which supports backbone circuits between the U.S. and Asia, and Pacific Wave, a distributed open exchange created by the Pacific Northwest Gigapop and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, or CENIC.

The principal investigators on the Pacific Wave are Ron Johnson of the Pacific Northwest Gigapop and University of Washington iSchool and Louis Fox of CENIC. Jennifer Schopf, IU director of international networks, is principal investigator on TransPAC4.

“From high-energy physics, astronomy and bioinformatics to climate science and geoscience, TransPAC4 enables better, faster research in a wealth of disciplines — and I’m excited by the possibilities this new 100-gigabit circuit and open exchange fabric will enable,” Schopf said. “Researchers will now be able to share their largest databases at extremely fast speeds. The TransPAC-Pacific Wave circuit is a game changer for the world of big data research.”

In March, IU and its International Networking group announced it had received a new five-year, $4.8 million NSF grant for TransPAC4. This is the fourth consecutive NSF grant to IU to lead trans-Pacific advanced research networks since 1998.

In terms of speed, how much faster is the new research circuit? If a U.S. scientist needs to download several hours of ultra high-definition 8K video from Tokyo, what had previously taken more than one hour can now be done in less than 10 minutes.

The TransPAC-Pacific Wave research circuit will support:
• Research and education network traffic across the Pacific
• Research efforts, including ultra high-definition video distribution as well as real-time instrument control, telepresence, virtual reality and big data applications
• Software-defined exchange and software-defined networking capabilities, including OpenFlow efforts
• Better interconnections between Asian research and education networks and their major U.S.-based counterparts, including multiple direct 100-gigabit connections to the U.S. Department of Energy’s high-speed networks, the Energy Science Network, or ESnet, and Internet2

The TransPAC-Pacific Wave research circuit is now operational between Pacific Wave’s node in Seattle and Pacific Wave’s access point in Tokyo. Direct connectivity to Japan’s Tokyo Research Exchange is scheduled for this fall.

“This link represents a new era for East Asia-U.S. cyberinfrastructure and for Asia-U.S. research and education networking,” said Kevin Thompson, a program director at NSF. “Indiana University and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop are appropriately leading this effort in the United States, and both institutions have a rich history in support and innovation in international research and education networking.”

Greg Bell, division director at ESnet, added that he is excited about the network’s potential and pleased with the collegiality surrounding its creation.

“This milestone is great news,” Bell said. “The world’s hardest problems can only be solved through global collaboration, and 10-gigabit links will soon be insufficient to support large-scale science. Faster data almost always means faster discovery. More important than bandwidth, though, is a growing spirit of international cooperation in our community: Multiple stakeholders are working toward a common goal of open, fast and safe research networking for the world.”

International Networks at IU leads two large-scale international research networks that link scientists around the world, making it possible for them to collaborate and share information that can lead to life-changing discoveries. IU International Networks is responsible for planning, operating and managing the National Science Foundation-funded America Connects to Europe network, which links the U.S. to Europe, and TransPAC4, which links the U.S. to Asia. TransPAC4 is supported by NSF grant number 1450904.

The Pacific Northwest Gigapop is a nonprofit corporation serving research and education organizations throughout the Pacific Rim. It provides networking to support the missions of these organizations and the needs of researchers, faculty, students and staff.

Pacific Wave is an open, distributed exchange fabric that integrates nodes across the U.S. West Coast. It has major points-of-presence in Seattle, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Los Angeles on its purpose-built 100G open-peering backbone. Pacific Wave is a joint project of the Pacific Northwest Gigapop and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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