100 Gbps Test Link Sets Pace for Faster Trans-Atlantic Data Transfers


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Data transfers from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland to sites in the U.S. have historically taken different paths – 15 in all – via 10 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) links separately managed by three research networks in the U.S. and Europe. So what would happen if those massive datasets were instead transferred using a single 100 Gbps connection?

 That was the thinking behind an experiment that began in early March as the Department of Energy’s ESnet, Internet2, CANARIE, GÉANT, NORDUnet and SURFnet — the leading research and education networks in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Scandinavia – collaborated with CERN to use a leased 100 Gbps connection between Amsterdam (Netherlight Open Exchange) and New York. The four-week test was conducted in collaboration with LHCONE, the LHC Open Network Environment.

The results of the initial test were impressive.

“Using test data, we ran a 10 minute saturation test at 99.9 percent utilization with no loss, no errors,” O’Connor said. “Then we ran a 24 hour test at 50 Gbps, passing over 540 terabytes of data with no loss and no errors. This successful testing will help pave the way to production use of the connection for data from LHC experiments.”

The 100 Gbps link, called the Advanced North Atlantic 100G Pilot project, was launched by the participating organizations last June with the first Transatlantic 100 Gbps demonstrations. The year-long project being used for engineering and testing applications, resources, monitoring techniques and advanced technologies such as software-defined networking.

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