GÉANT’s terabit upgrade gives European science the data network of the future

August 7, 2013, Cambridge, Prague.  DANTE today announced the completion of a major network upgrade to GÉANT, the superfast pan-European data communications infrastructure that interconnects National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). GÉANT is relied on by more than 50 million of Europe’s research and education users and this 2 Tbps (terabits per second) upgrade is set to further boost the research, innovation and education that is driving Europe’s recovery.

Mark Johnston, DANTE’s Chief Network Operations Officer, said: “The project to upgrade the GÉANT network involved renewing 50,000 km of backbone infrastructure and the replacement of legacy equipment with leading edge transmission and switching technologies, a significant undertaking and long term investment.  The new network brings several key benefits: greatly increased capacity, faster provision of service, and even higher levels of resilience.”

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, added: “With this upgrade supporting capacity (the amount of data that can be carried) of up to 2 Tbps across the core network, this project is essentially future proofing GÉANT until 2020. It means we can stay ahead of what has been termed the ‘data deluge’ that is emerging from research projects that are using more and more data in new ways. Today data speeds and processing are as critical as the research itself, and a super-fast network means we are closer to achieving a European Research Area, and to successfully dealing with challenges such as food and energy security, health and ageing, and environmental protection.”

Leading edge technology will also ensure greater flexibility and faster provisioning of service, meaning new circuits can be ‘switched on’ within the hour. In addition the innovative option of ‘on-demand’ services accommodating short-burst transmission of large data sets can now be offered across the GÉANT backbone.

Finally, increased resilience and the network’s ability to ‘self-heal’ guarantees continuous service even in the unlikely event of faults occurring on part of the network—meaning the assured transfer of time-sensitive critical data and further building on GÉANT’s reputation of speed, flexibility and resilience.

Why does Europe need a terabit network?

Already over 1,000 terabytes of data passes through GÉANT’s IP backbone each day, much of it linked to some of the most advanced and far-reaching research being carried out anywhere in the world. However, the creation and sharing of research data is increasing exponentially, impacting research networks, high performance computing and grids—collectively known as e-infrastructures. Many major projects involving global partners, such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array (the world’s largest radio telescope), and many bioinformatics projects generate massive amounts of data that need to be distributed, analysed, stored and accessed. This need for fast, stable transfer of data depends heavily on the high speed and dedicated bandwidth offered by research networks such as GÉANT and the need for a terabit network is growing every day. The GÉANT network continues to provide the essential bandwidth to support all scientific disciplines: from high-energy physics and deep space research to those addressing societal challenges such as ageing populations, disease diagnosis and climate change.

In a joint statement, Matthew Scott and Niels Hersoug, Joint General Managers, DANTE, said: “This major investment in global networking technology is an essential step which supports the important work of the European research community. Scientific disciplines, from earth observation and weather forecasting to chemistry and neuroscience, will benefit from the GÉANT network and we are excited to see how this next-generation terabit network further develops the advancement of science.”

GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). Together we connect over 50 million users at 10,000 institutions across Europe, supporting research in areas such as energy, the environment, space and medicine.
Operating at speeds of up to 500 Gbps and reaching over 100 national networks worldwide, GÉANT remains the largest and most advanced research and education network in the world.

Co-funded by the European Commission under the EU’s 7th Research and Development Framework Programme, GÉANT is a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area – a seamless and open European space for online research—and assuring world-leading connectivity between Europe and the rest of the world in support of global research collaborations.

The network and associated services comprise the GÉANT (GN3plus) project, a collaborative effort comprising 41 project partners: 38 European NRENs, DANTE, TERENA and NORDUnet (representing the 5 Nordic countries). GÉANT is operated by DANTE on behalf of Europe’s NRENs.

For more information, please visit: www.geant.net.

DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) is a non-profit organisation established in 1993 that plans, builds and operates large scale, advanced networks for research and education. On behalf of Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), DANTE has built and operates GÉANT, a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area. Working in cooperation with the European Commission and in close partnership with Europe’s NRENs and international networking partners, DANTE remains fundamental to the success of global research collaboration. DANTE manages research and education (R&E) networking projects serving Europe (GÉANT), the Mediterranean (EUMEDCONNECT), Sub-Saharan Africa (AfricaConnect), Central Asia (CAREN) regions and coordinates Europe-China collaboration (ORIENTplus). DANTE also supports R&E networking organisations in Latin America (RedCLARA), Caribbean (CKLN) and Asia-Pacific (TEIN*CC). For more information, please visit: www.dante.net.

The CESNET Association was founded by Czech universities and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1996. It is engaged in research and development in information and communication technologies and builds and develops the CESNET national e-infrastructure for research and education. With its research activities and accomplishments, CESNET represents the Czech Republic in international projects, most notably the pan-European GÉANT network building project and grid projects (EGI.eu), and participates actively in their implementation.

Press release, August 7 2013

Last change: 8.8.2013