ON*VECTOR International Photonics Workshop Report

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Conference report by David Wilde, AARNet’s Network Architect. 

David presented at  the ON*VECTOR International Photonics Workshop, hosted by CalIT2 at the University of California San Diego in February 2013). 

ON*VECTOR (Optical Networked Virtual Environments for Collaborative Trans-Oceanic Research) is a joint project of NTT Network Innovation Laboratories, Keio University’s Institute for Digital Media and Content (DMC), the University of Tokyo’s Morikawa Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory, and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California, San Diego, and managed by Pacific Interface Inc (PII).

I was invited to attended and present an update on AARNet’s deployment of 100G technology. This presentation included progress on the following:

  • the new Adelaide to Perth leg of the optical network
  • the 40G (and later 100G) upgrade to the SXTransPORT capacity between Australia and the USA
  • the AARNet4 project currently underway to upgrade the AARNet routed network to a 100G-capable IP/MPLS backbone.

I also gave examples of how AARNet is using this additional capacity to support users as well as new products and services: for instance, the SKA and ASKAP projects; the RDSI and NeCTAR research clouds; CloudStor and CloudStor+.

This conference drew together R&E network operators and Universities from not only the USA, but also Europe, Asia and the Americas.  Feedback from NREN colleagues from elsewhere in the world was consistently positive regarding AARNet’s role as a leader in the R&E field, in particular for finding a balance between financial sustainability and supporting innovation by users of the network.

Preceding this conference was the “100G and beyond” workshop organised by CENIC, the regional R&E network operator supporting California.  This event drew together network operators, researchers and other organisations to discuss the applications made possible by the increase of network capacity to 100G and beyond.  Science and medicine, campus networking, manufacturing innovations, and national networking test beds were discussed.

A couple of Californian public-private initiatives were particularly interesting, the “Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition” and “Center for Smart Manufacturing Innovation”.  These are partnerships between researchers, unis and  industry to improve manufacturing techniques and processes using the latest in technological advances running across R&E networks.

Another area of intense activity is around national test bed networks running OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking.   ESNet in the USA and Géant in Europe, for example, make their networks available to researchers working on future iterations of the internet and its protocols.  AARNet is investigating the possibility of deploying such a network across Australia for the use of Australian researchers.

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