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GLIF2017 Chris Hancock
29 September, 2017

AARNet delivers 400Gbps for high-tech networking demo fest

AARNet engineers have collaborated with researchers at scientific organisations and research and education networks in Europe and the United States to run live long-distance high-speed big data transfer experiments at the annual international GLIF Workshop.

Network engineers working on advanced academic and research networks around the world gathered in Sydney, Australia this week for the annual international GLIF (Global Lambda Integrated Facility) Workshop.

GLIF is a community of technologists who specialize in developing new and emerging networking technologies, pathfinding, middleware and applications to support the massive data flow and data processing needs of science and research globally.

A highlight of the GLIF 2017 Workshop, held at the University of Sydney and hosted by AARNet (Australia’s Academic and Research Network), were the demonstrations, where engineers ran experiments and tested networking technologies for managing large data flows across the world.

AARNet provided a massive 400 gigabits per second (Gbps) of network capacity to the venue.

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock says AARNet engineers collaborated with researchers at scientific organizations and research and education networks in Europe and the United States to run live long-distance high-speed big data transfer experiments to the venue floor.

“These experiments form part of the preparation for meeting the future big data transfer needs of researchers and scientists in fields such as genomics, and for projects such as the Square Kilometre Array, which is potentially the largest science project in human history,” he said.

“Providing researchers with global access to data transfers in real time like we’ve never seen before, will help to fast-track world discoveries.”

The connection to the workshop venue was via a 400Gbps optical wavelength back to the AARNet backbone transmission network. This carried a 200Gbps connection into an experimental multi-100Gbps backbone network which AARNet is currently testing, extending nationally to Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.

This experimental network is a platform for AARNet to explore how to deliver 100Gbps customer connections economically and efficiently, using software-defined networking techniques and ultra-high-speed, low-cost networking devices.

Each end-point of this network was delivered via the Science DMZ architecture developed by ESnet (the US Department of Energy research network) for moving huge research datasets efficiently, with data carried by highly tuned 100Gbps DTN (Data Transfer Node) servers.

International connectivity to the United States and onwards is enabled via the trans-Pacific SXTransPORT links operated by AARNet in partnership with Southern Cross Cable Network. Two of AARNet’s international points-of-presence, in Seattle and Los Angeles, are dedicated to peering with other research and education networks. This is how “elephant flows”, the multi-gigabit flows of data generated by data-intensive research fields, are carried globally across research network infrastructure, avoiding the contention and congestion of the commercial internet.

Demonstrations that made use of this bandwidth included:

  • a collaboration between the Netherlands, Canada, the United States and Australia transferring KLM airline data from The Netherlands to the venue at 74Gbps
  • a collaboration between CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and AARNet transferring data at 38Gbps from the CERN storage infrastructure used for hosting data from Large Hadron Collider experiments to the venue
  • and an experiment from the Czech Republic demonstrating global dynamic inter-domain circuit rerouting

About AARNet

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) provides high capacity network and collaboration services for the nation’s research and education community, including universities, health and other research organizations, schools, vocational training providers and cultural institutions. AARNet serves over one million end users who access the network for teaching, learning and research.

For more information, visit

Media Contact

Jane Gifford (AARNet); +61 458 700213