The scientific community has gained access to a new network that promises to deliver super fast data transfer speeds of up to 100Gbit/s.
Internet2 is a non-profit consortium that aims to deploy an advanced network that parallels the regular Internet to let universities and researchers share large amounts of information in real-time.
Last week the Internet2 network went live and had a theoretical data transfer speed limit of 10Gbit/s. But now according to the Associated Press, Internet2 has raised its ceiling tenfold with the data transfer speed increased to a staggering 100Gbit/s, partly in anticipation of rising demand for capacity when the world’s largest particle collider opens near Geneva next year.
The speed boost is apparently down to the fact that Internet2 can send data using 10 different colours (or wavelengths) of light over a single cable.
Transfer speeds of this magnitude would allow, for example, a high-quality movie to be sent in just a few seconds, rather than the 30 seconds or so needed when using the old Internet2. Just for comparison purposes, a typical home broadband line (in the UK) would take several hours to transfer the same quantity of data.
The new Internet2 network is run by Level 3 Communications, and researchers can now temporarily grab an entire 10Gbit/s chunk for specific applications, so that they do not slow down normal Internet operations.
“It’s now possible for a single computer to have a 10 gigabit connection and we needed to have a way of making sure that those kinds of demanding applications could be served at the same time as all the normal uses,” said Doug Van Houweling, Internet2’s chief executive, quoted in the Associated Press.
An institution typically has one 10Gbit/s connection to the 100Gbit/s Internet2 backbone for normal Internet usage, along with a second 10Gbit/s connection it can tap on demand for specific needs, Van Houweling said.
Looking forward, Internet2 thinks that with some infrastructure upgrades, it can boost capacity to around 400Gbit/s in the future.