Internet2 picks Ciena's 800G technology to bolster research and education network

Internet2 picks Ciena's gear to upgrade its network architecture to better serve its research and education efforts at universities and government agencies. (Pixabay)

Internet2, a non-profit technology community, has picked Ciena's photonic and coherent optical gear to upgrade its network to a more scalable and programmable architecture.

Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network.

Founded in 1996 by some of the nation's leading higher education institutions, Internet2 will deploy Ciena's Waveserver 200G-800G coherent optics. Ciena's coherent optics will allow Internet2 to roll out 800G wavelengths in metro locations while supporting 400GE interconnects over native 400G wavelengths between Internet2's points-of-presence (PoPs.)

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The upgraded network, which connects several hundred universities, government agencies, and community anchor institutions across the U.S., will help Internet2 increase capacity at reduced operating costs to directly support advanced research efforts such as the IceCube Laboratory at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. The lab was established to study neutrino physics and multi-messenger astronomy.

The network will also support the Open Science Grid that enables high-throughput computing for high-energy physics, structural biology and cross-disciplinary science.  

Ciena said the infrastructure would consist of a flexible grid open line system (OLS) that will beef up Internet2 and the wider research and education community's ability to conduct scientific research while improving operations. The OLS is a key element for providing access to a reliable, contiguous coherent optical network that can enable wavelength delivery and efficient data transfers across the continental U.S.

As part of the deal, the OLS also includes Ciena's support of wavelengths that are launched directly from Internet2's member network for transport to endpoints beyond their regional footprints.

By working with Ciena, Internet2 will be able to reduce the overall space and power footprint of its current optical add/drop locations by as much as two-thirds. The lower cost, "green" network provisioned by Ciena will also support more capacity.

Internet2 will also be able to tune, control and dynamically adjust optical capacity across any path using Ciena’s Liquid Spectrum analytics software while Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan domain controller will help improve network management and operations.

“Internet2 is a trailblazer in the R&E community," said Ciena's Rod Wilson, chief technologist for research networks, in a statement. "They are also leaders in developing collaborative environments that are shaping how future high performance, high capacity networks will be created to fuel the digital society. Ciena worked with Internet2 to establish America’s first nationwide 100G R&E network and this latest initiative will significantly enhance Internet2’s services.”

The group is led by CEO and President Howard Pfeffer, who previously served as senior vice president of the broadband technology group at Time Warner Cable.

Internet2 serves 320 U.S. universities, 60 government agencies and 43 regional and state education networks. Through those entities, it supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, close to 1,000 InCommon participants, 58 leading corporations in its community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.

InCommon operates the identity management federation for U.S. research and education, and their sponsored partners.