1st April 2016
GÉANT, with its award-winning Research and Education network, is already at the leading edge of networking services. Today, researchers can connect to GÉANT at speeds of up to 100Gigabits per second and these ultrafast communications services are revolutionising research and education across Europe. However even these enormous speeds aren’t fast enough for the most challenging research and so GÉANT has been working to develop the next generation of networking.
At the moment capacity is limited both by the speed of light and the use of serial links – meaning that huge data sets have to be downloaded one bit at a time before they can be used.
GÉANT’s research teams have been working using Software Defined Networking (SDN) to solve both of these problems simultaneously and have announced their solution – Advanced PaRallel Internet Links. Using SDN, GÉANT can now configure multiple 100Gbit/s connections across the same fibre optic with each connection running in parallel. This allows the speed of connections to multiply and, as each individual fibre optic connection is already running at light speed, the total system is effectively running faster than the speed of light.
The technique of running multiple connections in parallel needed GÉANT to develop a way of synchronising the connections. This technology, dubbed the Photonics Overlay Layer will be proposed as an extension to TCP/IP to help support a new standards-based service.
However, running these ultrafast connections is not without problems as Karl Meyer explained.
“With this new technology, a two hour high definition movie can be downloaded in mere seconds. This is great if you want to try and find the good bit in Phantom Menace but could spell disaster for betting companies. If a viewer can skip to the penalty shoot-out of an England/Germany match before the national anthems have even finished playing, what would be the point of betting on the result in the first place?”
It’s likely that the combination of Advanced PaRallel Internet Links and PHotOnics Overlay Layer technologies will soon be in use across Europe. To find out how GÉANT is supporting European Research and Education networking today visit www.geant.org.