The University of Nebraska (UNL) has installed DWDM equipment from Ekinops, a leading provider of optical transport and DWDM solutions that massively increases connectivity to its campus in Lincoln and is critical to the university's participation in an international physics research project, EKINOPS announced today.
The new optical network took part in a demonstration on Tuesday at the opening session of the Internet2 Member Meeting in San Diego. The demonstration showed how a sustained 8 Gigabits per second stream from the UNL physics lab, transported by the EKINOPS equipment to the Internet2 network node in Kansas City, was then dynamically switched across the Internet2 backbone.
To enhance its participation in the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) CMS project, the university has deployed the EKINOPS 360 platform, using multiple DWDM channels, each running at 10 Gigabits per second. It increased the university's available bandwidth more than 48 times compared with its previous connectivity speed.
The EKINOPS 360 is a carrier-class optical transport platform designed for metro, regional, and long-haul networks. The platform can aggregate and transport any Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SONET, or SDH client protocol.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a 22,000-student campus that is part of the University of Nebraska system, is a Tier 2 site in the CMS project, one of the ongoing experiments at the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland. The CMS project generates massive amounts of data, which is distributed to different computing centers across the world for processing.
To fully participate in the project, the university needed a network capable of carrying massive amounts of data to its supercomputers. Approximately 200 Terabytes (200 trillion bytes) of data are transported weekly.
Dale Finkelson, the university's network engineer, was tasked with finding a solution with greater transport capacity to the university. "We evaluated different options but building our own optical network and utilizing DWDM promised the greatest increase to our capacity and was extremely affordable at the same time," Finkelson explained.
The network span is 230 miles and links the university campus in Lincoln to the Internet2 in the Kansas City node. Benefiting from the EKINOPS 360 long haul transponders, the requirement for amplification is minimal. The installed configuration occupies a small number of slots in the chassis and allows for adding a much greater capacity in the future.
Although the primary requirement was to transport 10G data from the university's routers, the university is also using EKINOPS aggregation technology for aggregating and transporting multiple Gigabit Ethernet inputs over a 10G wavelength.
The university's IT staff has also found that despite the platform's enormous capacity, the EKINOPS 360 was easy to install and operate. "Once the power and fibers were ready, installation took half a day. People started using it 20 minutes after we plugged it in, and it has run solid ever since," said Finkelson.
Since deploying the new optical network, the University of Nebraska has seen tremendous performance improvements and cost savings. "Having our own optical network gives us a lot of flexibility," Finkelson said. "We can add capacity at a minimal cost and in a very short time. If we need another 10G wavelength for another large project, it would be as easy as plugging another card in the chassis."
"Academic and research collaboration requires moving tremendous amounts of data and puts heavy demands on the transport network," said Jonathan Amir, EKINOPS' vice president of sales. "A growing number of universities are relying on EKINOPS for a simple, high-capacity and cost-effective DWDM transport solution and we are very proud of our work with the University of Nebraska and with other academic organizations."
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