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Worldwide Next Generation Internet to be Established for Reasearch and Education

February 18, 2002

Key leaders in advanced networking announced today the formation of the Global Terabit Research Network (GTRN) - an international partnership to establish a true worldwide next generation Internet to interconnect national and multinational high-speed research and education networks. The partnership initially involves North America through Internet2 in the US and CANARIE in Canada, and Europe through the NREN Consortium. Participation of the Asia Pacific and other regions is expected soon.

"The scientific community is now truly international in just about all fields, and many vitally rely on the integration of computation, data, instruments and arrays of sensors that enable e-science," said Douglas Van Houweling, president and CEO of Internet2. "The GTRN will provide a framework in which the advanced networking community can collectively manage and provision the global scale, high-performance, persistent infrastructure required by the research and education community."

Added Fernando Liello, Chairman of the European NREN Consortium. "The GTRN will provide the connectivity and advanced Internet services needed by major multinational scientific collaborations in areas such as high energy physics, radio and optical astronomy, weather forecasting and climatology, biological sciences, and earth sciences."

Recent years have seen the creation of a number of very successful national and multinational advanced high-speed research networks such as the Internet2 Abilene network in the United States, the Canadian CA*net3 network in North America, and the pan-European GEANT network. Though these networks provide the bandwidth needed for e-science nationally and regionally, development of e-science on an international scale has been hampered by a lack of a global backbone comparable in speed and reliability to these networks.

The GTRN will provide a coherent global solution to this problem by providing a high-speed, stable, production-quality global backbone. This will allow next generation advanced Internet services to be provided to the global research and scientific community.

"Global availability of services such as quality of service, multicast and IPv6 are an important prerequisite for a truly converged and scalable global research network," said Andrew Bjerring - President and CEO of CANARIE Inc., Canada's advanced Internet development organization and a leader in the development, coordination and implementation of the national optical Internet network CA*net3. "Pervasive global access to applications such as reliable high quality video, telephony, remote instrument control, and numerous other applications that are incompatible with the current 'best efforts' IP networks requires that these advanced services be an integral part of a global research network."

"What has been seriously lacking is a true, persistent, production-quality global research and education network - one that is capable eventually of data rates of terabits per second", said Michael McRobbie, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO at Indiana University and Chair of Internet2's GTRN Committee. "The GTRN will provide this true global research network connectivity, offering the very high bandwidth connections that allow the national and regional networks to properly interconnect."

"All those involved in establishing the GTRN are to be congratulated on taking a major step forward in establishing the kind of advanced global network that is required by many international scientific research projects", said Aubrey Bush, Director of the Advanced Networking Infrastructure and Research Division in the National Science Foundation. "The NSF contributes funding to many of these projects and regards a stable world-wide research and education network that offers advanced services as being essential to them."

The GTRN will support global research and education requiring access to advanced high-performance Internet services. The GTRN will be run in a highly transparent manner so that end to end performance characteristics will be easily accessible to all parties responsible for ensuring the appropriate quality of service.

"The GTRN will provide both an application deployment infrastructure and a network testbed in support of advanced network services" said Dai Davies, General Manager of DANTE, which built and manages GEANT. "This will be an invaluable resource for the development of joint international research initiatives, such as grids of various types, as well as for joint network research initiatives."

The GTRN will consist of a global backbone initially connecting national and multinational networks in North America and Europe. Later it is expected to be expanded to Asia, Latin America, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Access to the GTRN will be provided at a number of points of presence (GTRN Network Access Points - GNAPs).

The GTRN backbone will initially be composed of two OC-48 2.4 Gbit circuits acquired by DANTE connecting the Internet2 Abilene network and the CANARIE CA*net3 network to GEANT. These connect to the GEANT backbone in Europe at GNAPs in London and Frankfurt and to Abilene and CA*net3 in North America at the New York GNAP the GTRN partners have established. Additional high speed connections from North America to GEANT to complement those acquired by DANTE are being actively pursued, as are connections to other regions.

Internet2 will provide additional capacity on the Abilene network connecting the New York GNAP to Starlight in Chicago and to the Pacific Wave GigaPoP in Seattle to allow for the eventual connection of the Asia Pacific to the GTRN.

"StarLight is hosting experiments with dedicated end to end wavelengths coming from Holland, CERN, Canada, Illinois, Indiana, Washington, and California. Starlight will thus be a vital GNAP in the GTRN," said Tom DeFanti, Director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and principal investigator of the NSF Science, Technology And Research Transit Access Point (STAR TAP/StarLight). "The GTRN will connect Starlight and several other GNAPs in North America to several points on the GEANT network. As such the GTRN complements the StarLight wavelength experiments, offering a unified solution to connectivity between North America and Europe."

Ron Johnson, Vice President for Information Technology at the University of Washington responsible for Pacific Wave, commented "Pacific Wave is pre-positioned to be a key GNAP for integrating the Asia Pacific into the GTRN. Pacific Wave already has connections to, and selective ultra high-performance exchange among Japan, Australia, Canada and Taiwan network fabrics, and the GTRN is the next logical step in the development of connectivity across the Asia Pacific and evolution of a global teragrid."

These resources will form the initial GTRN backbone and Internet2, CANARIE and the European NREN Consortium have agreed to manage all these facilities in a coordinated and cooperative way. The Global Network Operations Center (GNOC) at Indiana University will provide NOC services to the GTRN as will the DANTE NOC and eventually a NOC in the Asia Pacific.

Related Links:

DANTE/GEANT (http://www.dante.net/)
Internet2 (http://www.internet2.edu)
CANARIE/CAnet3 (http://www.canarie.ca/)
NSF (http://www.nsf.gov/)
STAR TAP/Starlight (http://www.startap.net/starlight/)
Pacific Wave (http://pacificwave.net/)
Global NOC (http://globalnoc.iu.edu/)

Contacts:

Dai Davis (DANTE, dai.davies@dante.org.uk, +44-1223-302992)

Greg Wood (Internet2, ghwood@internet2.edu, 202-331-5360)

Susan Baldwin (CANARIE Inc., Susan.Baldwin@canarie.ca, 612-943-5399)

Karen Adams (Indiana University, kadams@indiana.edu, 812-856-5596)