Internet2 and Level 3 deploy 100-Gbit/sec nationwide research network

June 15, 2006
June 15, 2006 Ann Arbor, MI, and Broomfield, CO -- Internet2 and Level 3 Communications today announced an agreement to develop and deploy a new nationwide network and new services to enhance and support the advanced needs of the academic and research community. The new network will support a range of production IP services as well as new on-demand dedicated optical wavelength services to enable the most demanding network applications and experimentation.

June 15, 2006 Ann Arbor, MI, and Broomfield, CO -- Internet2 and Level 3 Communications today announced an agreement to develop and deploy a new nationwide network and new services to enhance and support the advanced needs of the academic and research community. The new network will support a range of production IP services as well as new on-demand dedicated optical wavelength services to enable the most demanding network applications and experimentation.

The network initially will offer Internet2 members 100 Gbit/sec of capacity, more than 10 times that of the current Internet2 backbone network, and will be designed to easily scale to add capacity as Internet2 members' requirements evolve.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Level 3 will provide dedicated facilities enabling multiple 10-Gbit/sec wavelengths, high-speed IP transit, and colocation services with options for private line, metro, and long-haul dark fiber services to interconnect the backbone with academic institutions and support growth and changes in member requirements over time.

"This powerful, flexible network to be created by Internet2 and Level 3 will enable the research and education community to unlock new frontiers in the development of true next-generation Internet technologies," contends Dr. Larry Faulkner, Internet2 Board of Trustees chairman. "In doing so, Internet2 is expanding upon its long legacy of providing reliable and cutting-edge networking to advance the missions of its members and the broader research and education community."

"We are pleased to work with Internet2 for this important milestone in advanced research networking," adds Jack Waters, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Level 3. "Over the past several years, IP requirements for research and academic networks have increased the demand for Level 3's backbone network services in the U.S. and Europe. Level 3 continues to be well positioned to serve the needs of the Internet2 community, and we are excited to enable this next important phase in advanced Internet technology development."

Level 3 will deploy digital optical technologies for Internet2 to provide multiple 10-Gbit/sec wavelengths and enable rapid bandwidth provisioning across the entire footprint for its members. These new optical services will allow network users to obtain dedicated 1-Gbit/sec sub-wavelengths or entire 10-Gbit/sec wavelengths through advanced network scheduling or on-demand. It also will enable users to provision circuits dynamically for short or long-term use. Additionally, using this optical system, the new Internet2 network will provide production IP capabilities and bundled access to the Internet.

The new optical services will provide increased levels of flexibility that can support bandwidth-intensive experimental applications. As examples, astronomers will be able to link distant telescopes for real-time and more accurate data analysis, physicists will be able to exchange terabyte-scale data sets in seconds, and medical researchers and doctors will be able to share high-resolution images instantaneously.

The new network infrastructure's capabilities build on the successes of Internet2's Hybrid Optical Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) test bed, an initiative examining a hybrid of packet- and circuit-switched optical infrastructures to understand next-generation architectures. The Internet2 network will provide dedicated experimental facilities to computer scientists and network researchers to support their missions in testing new network paradigms, protocols, and architectures.

Internet2 is working with its members and regional networking organizations to finalize deployment details, with the new network becoming operational during 2007. In the interim, Internet2's relationship with Level 3 will enable optical circuit services for the community using Level 3's existing facilities. Internet2 is also working closely with its current network partners and network connectors to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of traffic from its current backbone network onto the new infrastructure.

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