CENIC and ESnet Connect at 100 Gigabits per Second

New Peering Advances Data-Intensive Science in California

April 30, 2013

Contact: Jon Bashor, or 510-486-5849

The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) and the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) have announced a 100-Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) link between their networks at the Sunnyvale backbone node of CENIC’s California Research and Education Network (CalREN).

 Between them, CENIC and ESnet serve some of the most advanced and innovative research institutions in the world, including universities, national laboratories, supercomputing centers and large-scale scientific facilities.

This new ultra high bandwidth connection will enable more effective collaboration on pressing, data-intensive scientific challenges.  The potential for harnessing the combined capabilities of systems like the Edison and Hopper supercomputers at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and the Gordon system at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) – served by ESnet and CENIC’s CalREN respectively – to study challenges such as climate change or cleaner energy is only one such example.  Many other laboratories and facilities on both networks can be linked with one another over the new high-speed connection and accessed by researchers around the and across the nation.  High-speed peering between networks like CalREN and ESnet are helping to create a new landscape for data-intensive science, where advanced networks truly become instruments for discovery.

 In late 2012, ESnet put into production a transcontinental 100 Gbps network, making it the world’s fastest network dedicated to scientific research. Established in 1986, ESnet connects more than 40 Department of Energy research sites and provides critical links between DOE-supported researchers at national labs and universities with unique experimental facilities in the U.S. and around the world.

 CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of California’s K-20 research and education communities. CalREN consists of a 3,800-mile fiber-optic CENIC-operated backbone to which institutions in all 58 of the state’s counties connect via leased circuits obtained from telecom carriers or via CENIC owned fiber-optic cable.

 “This connection is a fantastic opportunity to increase the number of collaborations between California campuses and national labs,” said ESnet Director Greg Bell. “We measure the impact of our network by the resulting scientific productivity of our users, and we fully expect this peering arrangement to pay significant research dividends. As a result of this high-speed peering, things that were previously impossible – like moving huge genomic data sets from one campus to another – are now possible.”

 “Both ESnet and CalREN have seen enormous growth in recent network traffic, and all projections of traffic promise greatly increased growth in the not too distant future,” said Louis Fox, President and CEO of CENIC.  “Connections like this between these two networks will enable both to better facilitate national and global collaboration, and to continue doing so in the coming decades as the innovations empowered by them create ever greater demands for bandwidth.”

 In February of this year, CENIC, ESnet, and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) held a one-day workshop on 100G networking, “100G and Beyond: Ultra High Performance Networking in California.”  Speakers and attendees at examined the ways in which 100G networking will revolutionize scientific, medical, media arts, smart manufacturing, scientific workflows, and network research itself as well as examining the campus cyberinfrastructure necessary to enable campuses to take full advantage of the coming bandwidth.

About CENIC • 
California’s education and research communities leverage their networking resources under CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, in order to obtain cost-effective, high-bandwidth networking to support their missions and respond to the needs of their faculty, staff, and students.  CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the vast majority of the state’s K-20 educational institutions are connected.  In order to facilitate collaboration in education and research, CENIC also provides connectivity to non-California institutions and industry research organizations with which CENIC’s Associate researchers and educators are engaged.