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Einstein Telescope: ultra-fast connection for SAR-GRAV

Picture ©Antonio Varcasia_Università di Sassari
Picture ©Antonio Varcasia_Università di Sassari

Today, on September 28th, the first dedicated network connection was initiated for the innovative SAR-GRAV laboratory, located in the former Sos Enattos mine area in Lula (NU), Sardinia. This site is Italy’s candidate to host the future large research infrastructure in Europe for the study of gravitational waves, known as the Einstein Telescope.

The efforts to connect the site to the national research network were carried out through an agreement between the University of Sassari, the lead institution in the SAR-GRAV project, and GARR, with funding provided by the Sardinia Region.

The one-million-euro regional funding enabled the interconnection of the SAR-GRAV laboratory site, located at the former Sos Enattos mine, to the GARR national research network. This was achieved by establishing a circuit with a long segment of dedicated optical fiber exclusively for the laboratory, providing an initial capacity of 1 Gbps.

“Connecting places like the SAR-GRAV site is always an exciting endeavour” stated GARR’s director, Claudia Battista, who added: “because it highlights the pivotal role of GARR, capable of delivering high-performance networking even in remote locations far from major urban centres. The extraordinary natural silence that characterises this location, not only in terms of seismic stability but also acoustically and electromagnetically, owing to the sparse local population and limited industrialisation of the area, is the standout feature of the former Sos Enattos mine, making it scientifically unique. Extending fiber optic connectivity to this remote site and enabling researchers to transmit vast amounts of data worldwide is both a significant challenge and a prestigious achievement. Sardinia hosts numerous research sites with unique requirements, and our goal is to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure interconnected with the national backbone and other global research networks”.

Thanks to the new network connection, a strategic asset is now available for research infrastructures that may be hosted in the Sos Enattos area, a site with unique characteristics in Europe. The connection will be managed by the INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics), which leads the scientific consortium supporting the Einstein Telescope project. With this initiative, it is now possible to provide high-capacity connectivity to the SAR-GRAV laboratory, which is already engaged in fundamental physics research by the INFN, as well as geophysics and geology studies by the INGV (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology), crucial for site characterisation in support of its candidacy.

The connection of the Sos Enattos site is part of a broader strategy to expand and enhance connectivity for research institutions in Sardinia, which will be realised with funding from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) through the TeRABIT project. Launched in January under the leadership of the INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics) and the OGS (National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics), with GARR and CINECA as implementing entities for the network infrastructure, TeRABIT in Sardinia will create a state-of-the-art optical fiber ring dedicated to the research community. It will be interconnected through high-capacity underwater optical links to the national GARR network. The availability of a regional optical fiber infrastructure will give Sardinia greater prominence by providing direct interconnection to the global research network system for its research institutions and universities. It will also benefit internationally recognised research facilities in the region, such as INAF’s Sardinia Radio Telescope and ASI’s Sardinia Deep Space Antenna.

Pictures ©Antonio Varcasia_Università di Sassari
Translation Erika Trotto, GARR

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