Press release

CENIC Builds 400G Superchannel Between Los Angeles and Riverside

Sponsored by Businesswire

CENIC has built a 400 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) single-carrier optical circuit between Los Angeles and Riverside in California, one of the first-ever 400G superchannels to be deployed by a US regional research and education network. Construction included upgrading nodes in Los Angeles, Tustin, Oceanside, San Diego (home to the San Diego Supercomputer Center), Escondido, Sun City, and Riverside to 400G capabilities.

This next-generation superchannel ensures CENIC can easily meet today’s networking demands while remaining future-proof and flexible to meet the needs of tomorrow. CENIC’s California Research and Education Network (CalREN) serves the vast majority of K-20 students, educators, researchers, and individuals at other vital public-serving institutions. CalREN operates over 8,000 miles of fiber optic cable and serves more than 20 million users.

Notably, scientific research done by CENIC members such as the University of California, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, the Naval Postgraduate School, California State University, and the University of Southern California includes astronomy, genomics, climatology, seismology, and other domains. These researchers require massive big-data workflows, which include collecting, transferring, processing, and storing huge data sets as they collaborate with colleagues at institutions across California, the nation, and the world. Each year, CENIC’s network traffic grows by roughly 60 percent. Between May 2018 and May 2019, the network moved an exabyte of data.

To develop the real-world 400G production connection, CENIC upgraded network infrastructure to flex spectrum Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) and the NCS 1004 transponder platform. CENIC used Cisco-loaned equipment for the validation in production and is now implementing the permanent infrastructure. The new 400G wavelengths support network operational benefits to deliver 100G services.

“This is an important networking milestone for CENIC,” said President and CEO Louis Fox. “With increasing demands for 100G services among our community, from research scientists working with big data sets to educators leveraging technology to transform the classroom, network capacity should not limit the work or ambitions of our researchers, teachers, or students.”

“Implementing and expanding 400G capabilities on our backbone allows us to stay ahead of the growing demands of our members,” added Sana Bellamine, CENIC senior optical engineer.

This achievement is part of CENIC’s ongoing plan to upgrade its optical network to the latest 400G technology. New 400G capabilities will help address increasingly urgent needs for advanced cyberinfrastructure, especially as supercomputers approach exascale capabilities. CENIC plans to expand its 400G provisioning capabilities along its coastal fiber path from Los Angeles to Sunnyvale by mid-2020.

The new capacity will support the Pacific Research Platform (PRP), a partnership of more than 50 institutions, led by researchers at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley, with support from the National Science Foundation. PRP builds on the optical backbone of Pacific Wave, a project of CENIC and Pacific Northwest Gigapop, to create a high-speed freeway for large scientific data sets by connecting campus networks and supercomputing centers on a regional scale, with Science DMZs at each site. Developed by the US Department of Energy’s Energy Science Network (ESnet) engineers, the Science DMZ model addresses common network performance problems encountered at research institutions by creating an environment that is tailored to the needs of high-performance science applications, including high-volume bulk data transfer, remote experiment control, and data visualization. PRP’s design supports projects such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST).

Nationally, CENIC’s new 400G connections will also support efforts such as FABRIC, an NSF-funded platform for “reimagining the Internet.” FABRIC will provide a nationwide testbed for scientists to explore how data can be stored, computed, and moved through shared infrastructure to build the Internet architecture of the future. FABRIC anticipates a 1 terabit-per-second (Tbps) network, interconnecting nodes at major research and supercomputing centers, including the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and other connections along the West Coast.

“This new 400G circuit is an important step forward in evolving an optimal, highly flexible architecture for high-performance interconnection of research and education networks and, most importantly, researchers and their crucial instruments, data, and applications,” said Tom DeFanti, PRP co-principal investigator.

About CENIC |

CENIC connects California to the world
— advancing education and research statewide by providing the world-class network essential for innovation, collaboration, and economic growth. This nonprofit organization operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity network designed to meet the unique requirements of over 20 million users, including the vast majority of K-20 students together with educators, researchers, and individuals at other vital public-serving institutions. CENIC’s Charter Associates are part of the world’s largest education system; they include the California K-12 system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, California’s public libraries, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, USC, and the Naval Postgraduate School. CENIC also provides connectivity to leading-edge institutions and industry research organizations around the world, serving the public as a catalyst for a vibrant California.