Pacific Northwest Gigapop


News & Events

New Network Speed Record Set

PORTLAND, Oregon, November 15, 1999 -- Seven high technology leaders collaborated at SC99 today to set a number of internet speed records, demonstrating that long-distance gigabit-per-second networking is ready for prime time and that next generation Internet technologies and capabilities are emerging in applications, in end-systems, and in network infrastructure.

To set the stage, at the network infrastructure level, the DARPA-sponsored National Transparent Optical Network (NTON), the University of Washington-led Pacific/Northwest Gigapop (P/NWGP), and Nortel Networks joined forces to deliver 2.4 gigabits per second (Gbps) of packet-over-SONET based standard Internet capacity from the Microsoft Corporation and University of Washington (UW) campuses, through a shared point of presence at the Pacific/Northwest Gigapop in Seattle, to the SC99 exhibition hall in Portland.

Microsoft, the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance), the University of Washington (UW) and Sony (in support of the ResearchChannel consortium) demonstrated two working, real-time gigabit applications in their coordinated SC99 exhibits. Further, the UW, Microsoft, the Alliance and Sony were able to run these applications concurrently, setting a record of 2 Gbps in aggregate throughput -- by a wide margin clearly the fastest real-time applications ever run over a wide area network.

Earlier this year, the UW and Sony were the first to demonstrate live studio quality, High Definition Television (HDTV) broadcasts over Internet2/Abilene. Today, in another record-breaking effort, they and the partnership successfully transmitted a real-time gigabit HDTV stream of five simultaneous channels of minimally-compressed, studio-quality HDTV over the internet, using industry-standard HDTV video, 'Wintel' computer systems, and networking equipment from leading vendors such as Juniper. Each channel within the overall stream consumed more than 200 million-bits-per-second (Mbps), for a total of well over a billion-bits-per-second in concurrent throughput in a state-of-the-art real-time application.

"More than just showing the stunning quality and immediacy that next generation internet capabilities can bring to the desktop computers, TV's and HDTV's around the world, this demonstration illustrates the feasibility of regularly using Internet transport technology for the real-time delivery of extraordinarily high quality video, virtual reality, tele-medicine, and other imaging streams" said UW Vice President Ron Johnson. He added that the demonstration shows "it is now possible to run distributed broadband applications over high-speed, next generation Internet WANS using hardware and software available in the consumer market". The demo used broadcast and Internet standards, Sony's suite of HDTV gear, off-the-shelf networking equipment, and commodity PCs with Microsoft NT running custom high performance software the UW C&C; group developed using Microsoft Visual Studio and other tools.

By way of comparison, the UW/Sony/ResearchChannel demonstration is the equivalent of the simultaneous transmission of the entire channel lineup of a 150 channel cable TV system, or of 50 channels of broadcast quality HDTV, five feature movies, or interactions among a large number of high-resolution video walls, shared virtual realities, &/or immersive environments. And, it shows that the internet is capable of speeds and quality impossible to achieve with traditional broadcast technologies.

Microsoft and the Alliance and the partners demonstrated that it is now possible to send a gigabit-per-second TCP/IP stream from one Windows 2000 workstation to another over a WAN. Microsoft teamed with the Alliance's NT cluster development team and with the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR) to verify that Windows 2000 TCP/IP software performance scales at Gbps rates on long-distance networks. This work demonstrates speed breakthroughs in end-to-end workstation internetworking and shows the capabilities of Windows 2000 TCP/IP.

"Our role in NLANR is to work with application teams to help them harness the capabilities of high performance networks," said Larry Smarr, director of the Alliance and NCSA, the leading-edge site for the Alliance. "Because many of these applications involve Windows workstations, gigabit per second performance of Windows over wide area networks is a capability that impacts the entire high performance computing community."

Jim Allchin, senior vice president of the Platforms Division at Microsoft Corporation, said this demonstration showed that distributed computing over high-speed, long-distance networks is a major part of the future for the Windows OS. "This exhibition shows that Windows 2000 truly is a broadband operating system prepared for the next millennium. Microsoft is thrilled that Windows 2000 is able to display its gigabit-readiness through such a tremendously innovative engineering feat."

Ed Lazowska, Chair of UW's Computer Science & Engineering Department, added that "enabling gigabit networking capabilities on what will eventually be tens of millions of desktops is the first step in unleashing developers worldwide to create the next generation of applications, architectures and content."
Together, these collaborative demonstrations show that the era of gigabit-per-second networking and the next generation of Internet applications and content is at hand.

The joint demonstrations will continue throughout the rest of SC99. For demonstration times, visit the Alliance research booth (R300) or the joint demo booth (RE602), or to see the demonstrations go to the UW research booth (RE602) where the suite of coordinated demos are being run.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About the Alliance/NCSA

The National Computational Science Alliance is a partnership to prototype an advanced computational infrastructure for the 21st century and includes more than 50 academic, government and industry research partners from across the United States. The Alliance is one of two partnerships funded by the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program, and receives cost-sharing at partner institutions. NSF also supports the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the Alliance. NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking, and information technologies. The National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, industrial partners, and other federal agencies fund NCSA. For more information, see

About The University of Washington (UW)

The University of Washington is one of the world's leading research institutions. While the UW has great strength in a comprehensive array of disciplines and professions in technical and non-technical realms, it is especially well known for its world class programs in computer science and the health sciences, and for its long and continuing role in the evolution of the Internet, Internet messaging technologies, software agents, and digital convergence in new media. For more information, see

About ResearchChannel

ResearchChannel is a consortium of many of the world's leading research institutions that is dedicated to providing greater, much more timely, and far broader access to progress in, and the findings and outcomes of university, government and corporate R&D; efforts. In partnership with University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), ResearchChannel also conducts core Internet2 ( broadcast and high speed demand video initiatives. For more information, see

About Sony

Sony Electronics is the premier provider of leading-edge digital video technology for broadcast, production and HDTV, as well as exceptional quality consumer electronics, computer, and display products. The University of Washington and Sony have partnered successfully to pioneer HDTV over Internet capabilities. For more information, see

About the Pacific/Northwest Gigapop (P/NWGP)

The Pacific/Northwest Gigapop is the Northwest's Next Generation Internet applications cooperative, testbed, and point of presence. P/NWGP connects universities as well as research institutions and R&D; enterprises throughout Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and Oregon, to one another, to the next generation Internet backbones (including vBNS, Internet2/Abilene and now NTON), to federal research networks, and to super-high-performance commodity internets. For more information, see

About National Transparent Optical Network (NTON)

The National Transparent Optical Network links government, research and private sector labs and provides the ability to interface with most of the broadband research networks in the U.S. NTON is a 2000 km 10-20 Gbs Wavelength Division Multiplexed network deployed using in-place commercial fiber. NTON provides direct access to nearly all of the major universities on the West Coast at data rates up to, and potentially beyond, 2.5 Gbs. For more information, see

About National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR)

The National Laboratory for Applied Network Research is an NSF-supported collaboration to provide technical, engineering and traffic analysis support for NSF's High Performance Connections sites and the broad vBNS user community. NLANR major activities are performed by three teams: a distributed applications support team based at the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications; a measurement and analysis team based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center; and a networking engineering support team based at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

Jennifer Todd
Waggener Edstrom/Microsoft

David Richardson
University of Washington

Karen Green

Susan Brandt

Lisa Young
Sony Electronics

Jacqueline Brown