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AARNet massively boosts international data connectivity for researchers

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Large Hadron Collider CERN

Sydney, Australia – June 24, 2013Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) and Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) today announced the completion of the 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) upgrade to the northern path of the SXTransPORT submarine optical fibre link connecting Sydney to North America.

This upgrade boosts bandwidth from 10Gbps to 40Gbps, providing capacity for ‘big data’ transport between Australia’s scientific and research community and the rest of the world ahead of anticipated demand.

AARNet CEO, Chris Hancock said, “Increasing the bandwidth of the SXTransPORT ensures Australia continues to play an integral role in collaborating globally in major research programs, including those in the big science arenas of radio astronomy, climate modelling and high energy physics.”

He says while data streams of 7Gbps are being achieved, supporting global collaborations for climate change research, all AARNet customers will benefit from optimised international unmetered use of the network for research and education.

The AARNet/SCCN partnership is also playing a critical role in projects related to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), such as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). AARNet this week upgraded the terrestrial section of its backbone to the SKA site in Western Australia to 100Gbps to complement the massive international capacity upgrade and to support the SKA, the world’s biggest collaborative science project.

“National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) are rapidly moving to reinvent themselves in this global open exchange world – the concept of becoming Global Research Networks (GRENs) to meet the future demand for high-performing international data connectivity is imminent,” said Hancock.

Professor Geoffrey Taylor of the School of Physics at The University of Melbourne and leader of the Australian effort at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider said, “The University of Melbourne is a key player for Australia in the Large Hadron Collider program which requires petabyte data sets to be transferred quickly for analysis between international collaborators. We rely on SXTransPORT connectivity over AARNet for our collaborations with scientists and researchers in North America, Asia and Europe and this upgrade will ensure that we continue to stay at the leading edge of High Energy Physics.”

Professor Larry Smarr, Director, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology said, “This is a great example of AARNet, as one of the most advanced National Research and Education Networks in the world, providing the optical networking infrastructure to meet the data-intensive needs of the Australian scientific and research community – their work ensures seamlessness in the global collaboration process as Big Data and high-end visualisation takes hold of our world.”

Ross Pfeffer, Director of Sales and Marketing at SCCN said, “SXTransPORT has placed Australia at the forefront of the world’s research and education by providing a high bandwidth corridor connecting Australia to the United States and the rest of the world since 2003. Southern Cross is proud to be a long-term supporter of Australia’s scientific and research endeavours through its partnership with AARNet.”

The next phase of the project will see the southern path of the SXTransPORT link upgraded from 10Gbps to 40 Gbps by the end of the year.

“Our long term partnership with Southern Cross Cable Network, and our relationships with other entities in the US such as Translight/Pacific Wave, remains critical for advancing excellence in Australian research and education,” said Hancock.

– ENDS –

About AARNet

AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the company that operates Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet). It is a not-for-profit company limited by shares. The shareholders are 38 Australian universities and the CSIRO.

AARNet provides high capacity internet and other advanced communications services for the nation’s research and education community, including universities, health and other research organisations, schools, vocational training providers and cultural institutions. AARNet serves over one million end users who access the network for teaching, learning and research.

About SCCN

Southern Cross is a private company owned by Telecom NZ, Singtel/Optus and Verizon. It has offices in Bermuda, Wellington, Sydney and Auckland.  Southern Cross is consistently ranked the most preferred submarine cable system in the Asia Pacific Region (according to customers participating in an annual satisfaction survey conducted by Nielson).

The Southern Cross ring network architecture is based on completely diverse submarine cables and landing stations. There are 9 cable station Access Points in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the US West Coast, along with 3 Points of Presence (POPs) at Equinix Sydney, CoreSite San Jose, and the Westin Building Seattle, inter-connected by 28,900 kilometres of submarine cable using 3 and 4 fibre pairs, and over 1600 km of terrestrial fibre, taking total network lit capacity to 2.2 Tbps by July 2013.

Media Contact

Jane Gifford
Manager, Digital Communications & Media Relations
AARNet Pty Ltd
02 9779 6960


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