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GEANT's terabit upgrade gives European science the data network of the future

DANTE has completed a major network upgrade to GEANT, the superfast pan-European data communications infrastructure that interconnects National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). GEANT is relied on by more than 50 million of Europe's research and education users and this 2Tbps (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, stated: "The project to upgrade the GEANT network involved renewing 50,000km 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 2Tbps across the core network, this project is essentially future proofing GEANT 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 GEANT 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 GEANT's reputation of speed, flexibility and resilience.

Already over 1,000 terabytes of data passes through GEANT'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 GEANT and the need for a terabit network is growing every day.

The GEANT 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, stated: "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 GEANT network and we are excited to see how this next-generation terabit network further develops the advancement of science."

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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