AARNet4 boosts capacity and reach for research and education

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AARNet traffic growth 2009-2013

Why we’re upgrading our network

For more than a decade, year on year, traffic on the AARNet network has increased exponentially by around 50 % each year. There’s been enormous growth in traffic to, from and between our customers, off to peers and to the transit network. Since AARNet3 was launched eight or so years ago –when traffic volumes were considerably smaller – it’s no surprise that it’s time for a network upgrade.

What we’re doing

Fast forward 5 years from now, says David Wilde, AARNet’s Network Architect, and the AARNet network will have 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) links across the country.

In Sydney, for example, there’ll be multiple 100Gbps links heading north to Brisbane, south to Canberra and Melbourne, inland to Adelaide and off to the United States.  We are already turning on three such links between Adelaide and Perth.  We’re also looking to add Network Access Points (APs) to bring our network closer to customers.

Over the coming years, campuses will begin connecting into our network at 100Gbps, with the smaller campuses and schools able to connect in at lower rates.

Our primary purpose will continue to be providing researchers, educators and students with access to the Internet with the bandwidth to transfer large volumes of data on demand. We also extensively peer within Australia and internationally to bring services to our customers and provide access to national research and education networks around the world.  AARNet4 will be a continuation of what we do now but bigger, better and faster, as well as more flexible and dynamic.

We’re also providing additional services. As customers continue to move their infrastructure into the cloud and to third party data centres, we will be able to provide private Layer 2 (where we provide the transparent “pipes”) and Layer 3 (where we do the routing for you) connectivity between sites, either point-to-point or multipoint.

The AARNet4 architecture includes fibre connectivity available at many data centres across Australia giving our customers the ability to host data elsewhere.

What we’ve done so far

During recent months we’ve been working on upgrading our optical network.  Projects include rolling out our optical network from the remote Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory site in Western Australia down to Perth.

We’re also currently putting the finishing touches on the new, dedicated Adelaide to Perth link. For the past six months our optical network engineers and Cisco partners have worked together installing gear at 30 repeater sites across remote and inhospitable terrain. The new equipment we’ve installed there is capable of providing 80 channels of 100Gbps each, all the way from Adelaide across to Perth.

On the east coast, we’re putting 100G transponders on our existing optical network and have completed the upgrade to 100Gbps on the Canberra to Sydney link, supporting our southern customers.

We’re also completing many federally funded National Research Network projects around the country, including Sydney Basin fibre rings lit up at 100Gbps.  This provides paths from Sydney out to Brookvale and Alexandria, where we connect to the Southern Cross Cable Network, and on to the United States and the rest of the world.

Over the coming months we’ll be deploying an additional 100Gbps leg from Adelaide through Mildura and on to Sydney to reduce latency and to better support traffic between Perth and Sydney.

We have also increased capacity to the US where we peer with many international R&E networks, upgrading the northern path of the SXTransPORT link from 10Gbps to 40Gbps, with the upgrade to the southern path to follow later this year. Both paths will ultimately be upgraded to 100Gbps.

What’s next?

The action for the next six months will focus on replacing our routed backbone. We’ve signed an agreement with Juniper Networks to replace the current AARNet3 Internet routers with new MX series Juniper routers.

We’ll be pushing our network out closer to our customers, with a rollout plan in place for critical sites in Melbourne, Sydney, and farther afield. Our rollout is driven by customer growth, by the services our customers require and by timeframes of data intensive projects such as the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI).

For more information about  AARNet4 and what it means for your campus please contact us.


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