Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ESnet and NERSC Build 400G BayExpress Super-Channel

The Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have built the first 400 Gbps super-channel production link to be deployed by a national research and education network. ESnet currently operates a 100G backbone network connecting DOE sites and universities.  The new 400G BayExpress connection will provide support for NERSC’s 6,000 users as the facility moves from its current location in Oakland, Calif. to the main campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley over the next year.

BayExpress is deployed as a pair of 200 Gbps per wavelength and allows for a dual subcarrier 400 Gbps connection. ESnet and NERSC worked with Ciena and Level 3 on the project.

ESnet also noted that the team has set up a 400 Gbps research testbed for assessing new tools and technologies without interfering with production data traffic and allowing staff to gain experience operating a 400 Gbps optical infrastructure. For the testbed, the optical frequencies are more narrowly tuned to maximize use of the fiber spectrum, known as “gridless superchannels,” said Chris Tracy, co-leader of the project and a member of ESnet’s Network Engineering team. The testbed uses a dark fiber link provided by Level 3 to ESnet and NERSC for six months. The team will begin conducting field trials on the testbed within the next two months.

“We expect the 400G prototype network to provide us with many valuable insights with regard to future network architectures and be useful to others in the research community,” said ESnet Chief Technologist Inder Monga. “Other universities, national laboratories and regional and commercial networks will be planning their next-generation networks on this time scale and our goal is to publicize not only our experiences from an optical networking perspective, but also from a scientific workflows perspective in which large-scale datasets are moved between facilities coupled by 400 Gbps of dedicated network bandwidth.”

More details on the ESnet site.