GEANT2 link-up complete
Europe’s digital infrastructure recently received a boost with the announcement that a new converged optical-data network has been successfully brought online. The new network, linking Europe’s educational and research networks, will enable scientists to communicate and share data with maximum reliability and protection. High speed core links are designed to carry up to 40 connections of 10Gb/s each, allowing speedier transmission of information, further integrating the European research community.
The new network was deployed by Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe
Ltd, or DANTE, within the context of the GEANT2 project, which is co-funded by
the European Union under the Research Framework Programmes. DANTE is a not-for-profit
organisation established in 1993 charged with building and operating GEANT2 and
its predecessors. GEANT2 is the largest-ever European data communications network
designed specifically for research and educational institutions. It was launched
in 2004 with the aim of connecting approximately 3,500 scientific sites in 34
European countries to facilitate collaborative research. The network offers high-speed
services, including new gigabit Ethernet services, as well as supporting grid
computing applications for the scientific community.
|DANTE, which manages GEANT2,
is located in Cambridge.
The recently unveiled network is based on an optical platform developed by the
French telecommunications firm Alcatel-Lucent. It deploys special light managers
from Alcatel-Lucent to exploit its fibre-optic routes and the dedicated service
switches to switch high bandwidth circuits at its points of presence (POPs).
The network is operated by the GEANT2 Network Operation Centre (NOC) in Paris,
France. DANTE General Manager Dr Hans Döbbeling discussed the benefits the
new network will bring to European research. “The optical platform allows the
national research and education networks collaborating within GEANT2 to flexibly
offer pan-European circuits and even entire optical private networks in addition
to the conventional Internet packet-switching service.”
Besides the data service, the GEANT2 project is developing monitoring and management
procedures to enhance inter-domain operations between the European backbone and
its partners, the National Research and Education networks. Multi-domain monitoring
and provisioning, pan-European network security, and access roaming are being
developed into operational services.
GEANT2's predecessor, GEANT, began in 2000 with the ultimate goal of contributing
to a single worldwide network to facilitate scientific cooperation. GEANT2 currently
has multi-gigabit links to North America and Japan, as well as direct connections
to India and China. It is also connected to other world regions through links
to other research networking projects managed by DANTE: the Mediterranean through
the EUMEDCONNECT project; Latin America through the ALICE project; and the Asia-Pacific
region via TEIN2.
The GEANT2 project began in 2004 and is expected to run for four years.
The network roll-out began in 2005. One by one new links have replaced the existing
GEANT links. The roll-out is now being completed with the connection between
Ljubljana and Vienna. The gradual transition to more cost-effective and higher
capacity routes has been transparent to the service end users. Two large private
optical networks are being set up simultaneously, one enabling high energy physicists
to share data in the analysis of the CERN LHC experiments, the other interconnecting
Europe’s high performance numerical computing centres participating in the DEISA
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