First segment of next-gen net lit up

The successor to Internet2's Abilene network has been partly activated

Internet2, a consortium of research and higher education bodies in the US working on advanced networking technologies and applications, has announced that the first segment of its next generation network is live.

Earlier this year, Internet2 announced it would be replacing its seven-year-old Abilene network, which is named after a 19th century railroad project.

The group’s new network is designed to support ten 10Gbit/s Lambdas (in optical networking, a lambda is an individual wavelength). Internet2 only announced its backbone provider in June, but the first segment is up and running.

Level 3 Communications is the prime network provider for Internet2’s latest backbone, which will be called simply the “Internet2 Network”. Level3 displaces Qwest Communications, which was the primary network supplier to the Abilene network.

As the network is brought up, Abilene traffic will be migrated to the new backbone.

Internet2 has also announced that NYSERNet, a research and education network consortium serving New York State, is the first group to use the new network. NYSERNet demonstrated uncompressed high-definition videoconferencing technology at a recent Interent2 meeting. This was the first application used over the new network.

Level 3 is deploying Infinera’s Digital Optical Networking gear to support the next generation network. Internet2 is also using Ciena CoreDirector Multiservice Switches to support sub-wavelength grooming services. The group also plans to deploy Juniper T640 routers to support IP capabilities.

According to Internet2, the new infrastructure is expected to allow members to “reliably exchange terabyte-scale data in seconds”.

At an upcoming meeting, Internet2 members are expected to demonstrate a 100Gbbit/s Ethernet transmission.

Internet2’s network is expected to be fully functioning by mid-2007, at which time Abilene will be retired.

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