Building ESnet’s New Architecture to Support Next-Generation DOE Science

March 1, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. ‑ The U. S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), which supports the large-scale science and large-scale collaborations of DOE’s Office of Science, has taken the first steps to implement a new network architecture that will increase the reliability and dramatically boost the bandwidth available to the DOE research community.

The new architecture is designed to meet the increasing demand for network bandwidth and advanced network services as next-generation scientific instruments and supercomputers come on line. The new architecture is composed of two elements: First, metropolitan area fiber optic rings will redundantly connect national labs to ESnet at very high bandwidth. Second, a new national ESnet backbone network ‑ the Science Data Network ‑ will substantially increase the cross-country bandwidth and route diversity available to DOE researchers.

The new architecture also forms the basis for advanced network services, such as guaranteed bandwidth virtual circuits. Such services are essential to support continuous science data analysis (e.g., from the CERN particle accelerator’s CMS and ATLAS high energy physics experiments in Switzerland) by thousands of U. S. scientists, and to support real-time interaction with on-line facilities, such as DOE’s Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and magnetic fusion experiments at General Atomics, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, and MIT.

The first steps in implementing the new ESnet architecture have been completed. A contract has been signed with National Lambda Rail for the first two segments of the new Science Data Network backbone (San Diego to Silicon Valley to Seattle) that will provide 10 Gigabits/s bandwidth to General Atomics, UC San Diego, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Washington, and several international trans-Pacific links. These links, which will provide 64 times more bandwidth than currently available, will be in place by mid-summer.

A second contract has just been signed with Qwest Communications to build the first of the metropolitan area network rings (MANs) that will dramatically increase bandwidth to the labs. The first MAN ring will be in the San Francisco Bay Area and will provide dual connectivity at 20 to 30 Gb/s (10 to 50 times the current site bandwidths, depending on the site using the ring) to six DOE sites – the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories/California – at substantially reduced cost.

The MAN will also allow high-speed access to California’s higher education network (CENIC), NASA’s Ames Research Center and DOE’s R&D network, Ultra Science Net. These sites will be connected to the MAN in stages, starting in April with SLAC and completing in September this year, with JGI. The Bay Area MAN will connect to both the existing ESnet production backbone and the first segments of the new Science Data Network backbone.

These newly signed contracts are the first steps in a complete transformation of ESnet in order to accommodate the needs of the next generation of DOE science.

ESnet is operated for DOE by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. To learn more, go to <>. Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Learn more at <>.