ESnet upgrades transatlantic submarine network links

The Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) says it is upgrading its transatlantic submarine network connections to four 100-Gbps links, making scientific data from research sites in Europe, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), more readily available to researchers at America's national laboratories and universities.

The Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) says it is upgrading its transatlantic submarine network connections to four 100-Gbps links, making scientific data from research sites in Europe, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), more readily available to researchers at America's national laboratories and universities.

First deployed by ESnet in December 2014, the transatlantic submarine network connection consisted of three 100-Gbps and one 40-Gbps links. The LHC traffic being carried solely by ESnet has grown approximately 1600% since then, from 1.7 petabytes per month in January 2015, to nearly 30 petabytes per month in August 2017.

Peering points in New York City and London, Boston and Amsterdam, New York and London, and Washington, DC and CERN in Switzerland will be linked by the four new connections. The contracts are with three different telecom carriers; ESnet did not identify them.

According to ESnet, the new contracts aim to meet projected demand via increased capacity and still minimize overall cost. The agreements will also increase the diversity of the networks that transmit ESnet circuits while retaining as much research and education (R&E) network community transatlantic cable diversity as possible. This last includes that of the Advanced North Atlantic Collaboration.

Another element of the agreements is a collaboration with Indiana University funded by the National Science Foundation with its Networks for European, American and African Research (NEAAR) award within the International Research Network Connections (IRNC) program, says ESnet. NEAAR's goal is to make science data from Africa and Europe available to a wider research community. ESnet says this will include data collected by the Square Kilometer Array in Africa, and from CERN's Large Hadron Collide in Europe.

The upgrade will bring the total transatlantic capacity for R&E networks to 800 Gbps, maintaining the close collaboration between the seven partners that deliver transatlantic connectivity under the Global Network Architecture Initiative (GNA) umbrella.

"Our initial approach was to build in redundancy in terms of both infrastructure and vendors and the past three years proved the validity of that idea," said Inder Monga, ESnet director. "So, we stuck with those design principles while upgrading the fourth link to 100G."

In 2015, ESnet and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) deployed a 400-Gbps superchannel connection on the west coast, connecting NERSC's current facility in Oakland to the main campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (see "ESnet, NERSC deploy 400-Gbps superchannel connection"). With this recent transatlantic networking connection upgrade, ESnet can continue its efforts to provide access to science data on a global level.

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