Pacific Northwest Gigapop


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10 Gigabit Ethernet Connects TransLight/Pacific Wave and TransLight/StarLight


SINGAPORE — As of June 30, 2006, TransLight/Pacific Wave and TransLight/Starlight are now directly connected through a 10Gigabit Ethernet lightpath connection. The connection, donated by Cisco Systems in support of the TransLight project, is deployed by National LambdaRail. TransLight/StarLight and TransLight/Pacific Wave are projects funded by the National Science Foundation under the International Research Network Connections (IRNC) Program of the Office of CyberInfrastructure.

This new network fabric between the two TransLight entities creates a way for participating networks to easily configure direct connections whenever they are needed. In a demonstration of this new capability, engineers at SURFnet in Amsterdam and T-LEX (operated by WIDE) in Tokyo easily established a direct path between their two routed networks using the new Pacific Wave to StarLight network fabric and without using any routed third party network facilities.

“T-LEX and WIDE are pleased to showcase the ease with which we are now able to interconnect directly with our European partners at SURFnet using this new facility. We believe that this new capability will help to productively reshape research and collaborative efforts by removing some of the network complexity,” said Professor Jun Murai, Vice President, Keio University, Director, WIDE Project, and IEEAF Board Vice Chair.

“This new connection between SURFnet and our T-LEX/WIDE partners in Japan, made possible by the TransLight interconnect, illustrates the possibilities now available to research and education networks connected at these facilities. By supporting direct, easy-to-configure lightpath connections, research and education collaborations that require substantial bandwidth can now be set-up with minimal engineering intervention,” said Kees Neggers, Managing Director, SURFnet Organization.

The extensible switch fabric model was first put into production when Pacific Wave’s node in Seattle and Pacific Wave’s node in Los Angeles implemented a 10GE circuit the length of the U.S. West Coast. This extension allowed R&E networks connected at those two locations to exchange their traffic through direct mutual bilateral agreement, as if they were connected to the same physical device. This extended fabric now includes the TransLight/StarLight Chicago facility.

“When the Pacific Wave peering fabric was successfully deployed two years ago, we saw immense possibilities. By effectively removing geography and large distances between routed network nodes and collapsing them into a single transparent exchange node, we felt that we could take this well beyond the Pacific coast of the U.S., and reach a much broader—even global—research community. The ease with which the SURFnet and T-LEX connection was established confirms this,” said John Silvester, Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Southern California, Chair of the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), and principal
investigator of the TransLight/Pacific Wave NSF-IRNC award to the University of Southern California. “We see this as another significant step toward direct lightpath or GLIF (Global Lambda Integrated Facility)-like network services,” he added.

“Researchers have never before been able to build their own multi-national networks if it involved traversing the U.S. due to lack of available transport. Cisco’s support and NLR’s capabilities have helped us resolve this Europe-to-Asia transport problem by unifying the TransLight IRNC projects, extending Pacific Wave to StarLight, and creating a 3,000-mile-long GigaPoP (Los Angeles to Seattle to Chicago). This extension nicely complements the services already provided by CANARIE’s CA*net 4 across Canada, adding resiliency and stability to the North American segment of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF),” said Tom DeFanti, principal investigator of the TransLight/StarLight NSF-IRNC award to the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Pacific Wave has nodes in Seattle, Sunnyvale, and Los Angeles and serves R&E networks throughout the Pacific Rim, including North America, South America, Australasia, Asia and the Middle East. The StarLight R&E exchange facility, an early leader and innovator in global networking, continues its networking leadership today with participating R&E organizations from Europe, North America and Asia.

“The next generation of researchers using our global R&E networks — whether it’s the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, the NEPTUNE undersea laboratory of the Pacific Northwest coast of U.S. and Canada, CineGrid (the Digital Cinema Initiative), or the eVLBI spread across the globe — will be better positioned to transparently take advantage of existing large transoceanic and transcontinental circuits. Initiatives such as TransLight will reduce the number of network engineers and third parties needed to accomplish their data exchanges,” said Professor Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Calit2], a partnership of the University of California at San Diego and UC Irvine, and principal investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded OptIPuter.

 “Milestones such as these are achieved only through the cooperation and dedication of many like-minded organizations. In addition to the groups already mentioned, this noteworthy achievement was made possible with contributions from the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, WIDE, CENIC, and the IEEAF. The research community is enriched by these efforts,” said Prof. Ed Lazowska, Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington.

WIDE, a research consortium working on practical research and development of Internet-related technologies, was launched in 1988. The Project has made a significant contribution to development of the Internet by collaborating with many other bodies – including 133 companies and 11 universities to carry out research in a wide range of fields, and by operating M.ROOT-SERVERS.NET, one of the DNS root servers, since 1997. WIDE Project also operates T-LEX ( as an effort of stewardship for the IEEAF Pacific link in Tokyo. Contact: (

About SURFnet
SURFnet operates and innovates the National Research & Education Network
(NREN) in The Netherlands, connecting approximately 180 institutions with a
state-of-the-art hybrid network. SURFnet is one of the leading NREN
operators in the world. SURFnet is a founder and active participant in the
Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF). SURFnet's NetherLight facility, a
GLIF Open Lightpath Exchange, or GOLE, located in Amsterdam, has been in
operation since 2002 and now interconnects over 100 Gbps of international
lightpaths. SURFnet contributes several 10Gbps lambdas to GLIF's emerging
global LambdaGrid, including one 10Gbps lambda to MAN LAN in New York and
one 10Gbps lambda to StarLight in Chicago. SURFnet is the European partner
of the NSF IRNC TransLight and CANARIE links to Europe, and serves as a
steward for the transatlantic IEEAF link. More information can be found at:

About Pacific Wave and TransLight/Pacific Wave
Pacific Wave is a joint project between the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP), and is operated in collaboration with the University of Southern California and the University of Washington. Pacific Wave enhances research and education network capabilities by increasing network efficiency, reducing latency, increasing throughput, and reducing costs. The USA National Science Foundation provides support for PacificWave and research connectivity from the US West Coast to Australia through Hawaii in the “Translight/PacifcWave” award to the University of Southern California. Visit and for more information.

About TransLight/StarLight
The USA National Science foundation’s International Research network connections (IRNC) “TransLight/StarLight” award to University of Illinois at Chicago provides two connections between the USA and Europe for production science: a routed connection that connects the pan-European GEANT2 to the USA Abilene and ESnet networks, and a switched connection that connects layer2 networks at StarLight in Chicago to similar networks at NetherLight in Amsterdam. TransLight/StarLight is part of the LambdaGrid fabric being created by participants of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF).

About GLIF
The Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) is an international cooperative initiative to establish and coordinate a global-scale optical network to support scientific research. The GLIF network is based around a number of lambdas (dedicated high-capacity circuits based on optical wavelengths), contributed by the GLIF participants who own or lease them, and interconnected through a series of exchange points. These exchange points, known as GLIF Open Lightpath Exchanges or GOLEs, are usually also operated by GLIF participants, and are comprised of equipment that is capable of terminating transparent lambdas and performing light path switching. This way, different lambdas can be connected together, and end-to-end lightpaths established over them. More information is available on the GLIF website at

National LambdaRail
National LambdaRail, Inc. (NLR) is a major initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications.  NLR puts the control, the power and the promise of experimental network infrastructure in the hands of our nation’s scientists and researchers.  Visit for more information.

The Internet Educational Equal Access Foundation (IEEAF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to obtain donations of telecommunications capacity and equipment and make them available for use by the global research and education community. The IEEAF TransPacific Link provided by VSNL International connects Seattle and Tokyo at 10 Gbps transoceanic link; the IEEAF TransAtlantic Link, also provided by VSNL International, connects New York City and Groningen, The Netherlands. IEEAF donations currently span 17 time zones.