Australia's AARNet4 upgrades to 100GbE with Juniper Networks

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) says it has selected Juniper’s advanced routing and switching networking technology as the foundation for AARNet4, the country’s next-generation network for research and education.

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) says it has selected Juniper’s advanced routing and switching networking technology as the foundation for AARNet4, the country’s next-generation network for research and education.

Since AARNet’s third-generation network was launched eight years ago, the traffic it carries has more than doubled every two years, driven both by growth in the number of users on the network and an explosion in the size of data sets generated by advanced research applications. To support the data and network complexity challenges posed by large-scale scientific research, remote-education systems, advanced telemedicine, and a plethora of national R&D applications, AARNet4 aims to deliver a 30-fold increase in network capacity.

The goals for AARNet4 are not only to accommodate continued traffic growth – provisioning more bandwidth at less cost – but also to deliver new capabilities, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) between customer sites, virtual private clouds including services from public cloud providers and support for AARNet’s own cloud-based file sharing, and unified communications products. These new AARNet4 services are designed to enable cutting-edge research and encourage innovation, particularly in the field of radio astronomy for projects such as the Square Kilometre Array, as well as in the fields of climate modeling, genomics, sensor networks, and particle physics.

Juniper Networks MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers were selected to support the faster speeds and 30-fold increase in network capacity required by AARNet4. The new routers will deliver 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connections and enable the AARNet4 backbone network to be built up with multiple 100GbE links —a significant boost in capacity compared to the single 10GbE speeds of the current network.

Juniper’s MX Series routers will also give AARNet4 much lower network latency, a key element in making data-intensive cloud-based services as responsive as those hosted on campus.

In support of the flexibility and security required to deliver new VPN services between customer sites and virtual private clouds, AARNet4 will leverage the capabilities of the Juniper routers and Junos operating system to implement Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), which improves network resiliency, enables far more granular network traffic control, and supports VPNs. These include virtual private LAN services that can be used to establish secure shared Ethernet between research sites, capable of carrying multiple types of network traffic, and more flexible Layer 3 VPNs that are used to establish secure IP connections between end-users and remote campus resources.

AARNet has already completed a program of expanding and upgrading its fiber-optic cable network across Australia to support native 100-Gbps wavelengths. The next stage, starting in November, is to deploy Juniper Networks MX Series routers at its existing points-of-presence (PoPs), then establish new ones to make it much easier for organizations involved in research and education to link to the network.

AARNet is also sourcing new customer premises equipment in the form of Juniper Networks EX4550 Ethernet Switches, which will be deployed at hundreds of education and research sites around the country. The EX4550 switches complement the expansion of AARNet’s backbone network capacity by providing multiple 1GbE and 10GbE access ports, combined with the ability to connect to the PoPs using up to four 40GbE uplinks.

In addition, AARNet’s new infrastructure will fully support Juniper Networks software-defined networking architecture, which can be used to automate the creation of highly-scalable virtual networks. These will help AARNet and its customers harness the power of the cloud for new services, increased organizational agility, and revenue growth.

“We currently operate a complex routed IP network, with points-of-presence across the country and multiple high-speed links to the Internet and academic research networks in hundreds of countries around the globe,” said Chris Hancock, CEO, AARNet. “With AARNet4, we are changing the ground rules for network capacity. This is about navigating the future of networking in Australia and globally. It will also allow AARNet to drive more sophisticated value-added services, leveraging the advanced capabilities of the Juniper Networks platform.”

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