Ekinops goes to school in Nebraska

OCTOBER 10, 2007 -- The University of Nebraska has installed DWDM equipment from Ekinops to increase connectivity to its campus in Lincoln and assist in its participation in an international physics research project.

OCTOBER 10, 2007 -- The University of Nebraska has installed DWDM equipment from Ekinops (search for Ekinops) to increase connectivity to its campus in Lincoln and assist in its participation in an international physics research project.

The new optical network was part of a demonstration on Tuesday, October 9, at the opening session of the Internet2 Member Meeting in San Diego. The demonstration showed how a sustained 8-Gbit/sec stream from the university's physics lab, transported by the Ekinops equipment to the Internet2 network node in Kansas City, was dynamically switched across the Internet2 backbone.

To enhance its participation in the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) CMS project, the university has deployed the Ekinops 360 platform, using multiple DWDM channels, each running at 10 Gbits/sec. The new equipment increased the university's available bandwidth more than 48 times compared with its previous connectivity speed, Ekinops says.

The Ekinops 360 is a carrier-class optical transport platform designed for metro, regional, and long-haul networks. The platform can aggregate and transport any Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SONET, or SDH client protocol, the systems house says.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a 22,000-student campus that is part of the University of Nebraska system, is a Tier 2 site in the CMS project, one of the ongoing experiments at the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland. The CMS project generates large amounts of data, which is distributed to different computing centers across the world for processing.

To fully participate in the project, the university needed a network capable of carrying such amounts of data to its supercomputers. Approximately 200 terabytes of data are transported weekly.

Dale Finkelson, the university's network engineer, was tasked with adding greater transport capacity to the university. "We evaluated different options but building our own optical network and utilizing DWDM promised the greatest increase to our capacity and was extremely affordable at the same time," Finkelson explained.

The network spans 230 mi and links the university campus in Lincoln to the Internet2 at the Kansas City node. Because of the Ekinops 360 long-haul transponders, the requirement for amplification is minimal, the vendor asserts. The installed configuration occupies a small number of slots in the chassis and accommodates the addition of additional capacity in the future.

Although the primary requirement was to transport 10-Gbit/sec data from the university's routers, the university is also using Ekinops the new equipment for aggregating and transporting multiple Gigabit Ethernet inputs over a 10-Gbit/sec wavelength.

"Once the power and fibers were ready, installation took half a day. People started using it 20 minutes after we plugged it in, and it has run solid ever since," said Finkelson.

"Having our own optical network gives us a lot of flexibility," Finkelson added. "We can add capacity at a minimal cost and in a very short time. If we need another 10G wavelength for another large project, it would be as easy as plugging another card in the chassis."

Visit Ekinops

More in Network Design