University of Arkansas selects ADVA for optical R&E network

Jan. 15, 2007
JANUARY 15, 2007 -- The first phase of Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (AREON), which was recently completed, links the university to the Internet2 and National LambdaRail networks.

JANUARY 15, 2007 -- The University of Arkansas has deployed ADVA Optical Networking's (search for ADVA) Fiber Service Platform (FSP) 3000RE to link to state, regional, national, and international research and education networks (search for R&E networks). The Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (AREON) will support high-bandwidth applications such as grid computing and high-definition TV (HDTV) for distance learning.

The first phase of the network, completed recently, connects the main University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville to Internet2 and National LambdaRail, the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortia. One of the first applications of the new capability, slated for the spring 2007 semester, will connect University of Arkansas students to a Louisiana State University class on high-performance computer clustering using uncompressed HDTV. Subsequent phases of AREON will expand statewide to connect ten additional universities in Arkansas.

"AREON immediately enables our state's participation in the international research-and-education community and helps our universities offer programs not possible without a high-performance communications network," contends former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. "Eventually, we think it will also serve as a tremendous economic-development resource for Arkansas and facilitate, for example, the extension of world-class healthcare into our most remote, rural communities. It's impossible to foresee all of the possible positive ramifications of AREON for our state," he adds, "but certainly this is a project that I believe is critical to the future of Arkansas."

AREON currently supports services of speeds up to 10 Gbits/sec, initially deployed over a fiber route 187 miles in length, with an additional 1,000 miles planned over the next year. According to ADVA representatives, the FSP 3000RE DWDM system accommodates the addition of new services or more bandwidth as required by university researchers or other network users.

With DWDM, different types of network application traffic can be assigned different wavelengths of light in the color spectrum. The ADVA FSP 3000RE combines or multiplexes the outgoing traffic from the University of Arkansas for transport across a single optical fiber pair and separates or demultiplexes incoming traffic back to their respective devices. Because the different wavelengths of light are engineered to not interfere with one another, applications of different protocols can be transported simultaneously across an optical fiber. The ADVA FSP 3000RE can support up to 40 10-Gbit/sec channels, allowing the future expansion of AREON without the physical installation and cost related to adding optical fiber to a network.

"The FSP 3000RE is so well-established in the academic community that we felt very confident in partnering with ADVA Optical Networking for backbone transport," reports David Merrifield, University of Arkansas associate director for computing services. "In addition, the FSP 3000RE afforded us unmatched flexibility in provisioning services and proved very cost-efficient in terms of both initial price of the system and ongoing expenses associated with factors such as maintenance, space, and power consumption. Plus, with the ADVA Optical Networking system, we can make a seamless upgrade to ROADM [reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexing] functionality when we are ready."

ADVA Optical Networking claims to offer the world's first commercially available, multi-degree (ROADM) functionality, which enables all-optical, remote switching of wavelengths via software control, without the time and expense incurred with truck rolls. The University of Arkansas, for example, could link with global partner networks dynamically across AREON for research projects as the bandwidth is needed. The FSP 3000's Generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching (GMPLS) control plane would automate setup of new service by remotely triggering tiny mirrors etched into integrated circuits to switch very high-speed telecommunications signals (up to 40 Gbits/sec) through DWDM channels.

"We have successfully deployed innovations such as DWDM, ROADM, and GMPLS into research-and-education, healthcare, and commercial networks across the United States and abroad," adds Brian P. McCann, chief strategy and marketing officer with ADVA Optical Networking. "We look forward to ongoing cooperation with the University of Arkansas to leverage the unprecedented power and flexibility of optical networking for AREON's specific needs."

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