GÉANT Gives In To the Lure of 100G

November 3rd, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

Enough of earnings for the moment, and back to raw theoretical traffic consumption.  The pan-European research network GÉANT is taking the plunge into 100G with an upgrade to key portions of their backbone.  They plan to procure the equipment during 2011 with rollout of the upgrade by mid 2012.  No word on whose equipment they will use, I’m sure that will involve some sort of competitive auction we’ll hear about at some point in coming months.

Back in August we learned that data from the Large Hadron Collider was being streamed in massive quantities across the network, which was performing far beyond expectations.  I wondered then how long it would be before it was dozens of 100G links rather than 10G and 40G links that researchers would find useful work for, and I’m glad to see they were thinking along the same lines!  After all, there’s nothing more fundamental to research than the first and last resort of Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor.  For those not familiar with 90’s sitcoms, that would be “More Power”.  Given the scale that goes into these immense projects studying incredibly tiny things nowadays, Tim really ought to have been a physicist I think… or on the maintenance crew… or maybe not.

No really, they will need that bandwidth.  The success of the existing network in furthering research has led to new projects that will generate as much or possibly even more data than the LHC down the line.  Amongst those mentioned are the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope and the ITER nuclear fusion experiment.  Hopefully none of those will stir fears of an accidentally created runaway black hole again, although the fusion one is certain to generate some sort of conspiracy theory somewhere along the line.  Either way though, the bandwidth requirements always go up.

Now, is it too early to plan for 1Tbps?

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