DOE Launches First Segment of Its Next-Generation Nationwide Network to Support Scientific Research Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science and Internet2 announced today that the first segment of a next-generation, nationwide network has gone live, marking a key step in significantly upgrading networking services to thousands of scientific researchers across the country and around the world. The first complete national ring of DOE’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet4) will be rolled out segment by segment from the east coast to the west coast and is expected to be fully operational by September, 2007.

“The launch of this first segment of ESnet4 represents a significant step toward a state-of-the-art optical network that is a critical component supporting the United States’ scientific leadership,” said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, DOE Under Secretary for Science. “Not only does this new architecture provide greater bandwidth and higher reliability for DOE researchers, but it also underscores the support of DOE’s Office of Science to the entire U.S. university community.”

The first segment connects the Washington, D.C. area to New York and Chicago through a partnership between Internet2 and ESnet that was announced in August, 2006. Once completed, ESnet4 will be the most advanced and reliable, high capacity nationwide network supporting scientific research efforts of the DOE research community. By providing reliable high bandwidth access to DOE laboratories and other major research facilities, ESnet4 will enhance the capabilities of researchers and scientists across the country, and their international collaborators, to use large-scale instruments to advance the scientific mission of the Office of Science.

This collaboration between ESnet and Internet2 brings together two advanced networks which have a combined 30 years of experience in providing network support to thousands of researchers around the world. ESnet, funded by DOE’s Office of Science and operated by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, connects more than 20 DOE laboratories and provides networking to more than 50,000 DOE laboratory staff and scientists. ESnet is also used by more than 18,000 researchers from universities, other government agencies and private industry. ESnet directly serves major Office of Science facilities including particle accelerators, supercomputing centers and massive scientific data storage systems.

“As the first links of our new architecture enter production, the ESnet and Internet2 staffs have been working very hard to build out the rest of the production links—all of which is being done on an exacting timeline,” said Bill Johnston, head of the ESnet Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The close working relationships we have developed over the years with Internet2 are now paying big dividends for the U.S. research community and their international collaborators.”

The new network will initially operate on two dedicated 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) wavelengths on the new Internet2 nationwide optical infrastructure and will seamlessly scale over the next several years to meet the complex needs of large-scale DOE Office of Science research projects.

“Since announcing our partnership in August, we have made steady progress toward deploying our new optical infrastructure on which ESnet4 is being built and are pleased to put the first major segments into production,” said Doug Van Houweling, Internet2’s CEO. “The new ESnet4 network will allow university and lab researchers participating in a broad range of scientific research to leverage their institutions’ existing Internet2 network connection to access the ESnet4 infrastructure and its wide range of Office of Science facilities.”

Among the most ambitious projects to be undertaken by physicists around the globe is a series of experiments at the new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, which will be the world’s largest particle accelerator. Expected to go online by the end of 2007, the LHC experiments are collaborations involving thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world investigating fundamental questions about matter and the origins of the universe.

In the U.S., researchers at universities and laboratories will participate in this global research effort through the ESnet4 network and DOE’s USLHCnet (operated by Caltech) which will transport the petabytes/yr of LHC experiment data to two national data centers in the U.S. - Brookhaven National Lab in New York and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, both of which are ESnet sites. From these two U.S. centers the LHC data will be sent to the university-hosted “Tier 2” centers for further analysis.

Internet2 is a U.S. advanced networking consortium led by the research and education community since 1996. Internet2 provides both leading-edge network capabilities and unique partnership opportunities that together facilitate the development, deployment and use of revolutionary Internet technologies. Internet2 is in merger discussions with National LambdaRail (NLR), a major initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and network experimentation. NLR has also collaborated with ESnet to provide circuits for portions of ESnet's Science Data Network and such a merger would contribute directly to ESnet’s goal of strengthening the U.S. research and education community network infrastructure.

Additional information on Internet2.

Additional information on Esnet.

Media contact(s):
Jeff Sherwood (DOE), (202) 586-5806
Lauren Rotman (Internet2), (202) 331-5345
Jon Bashor (ESnet), (510) 486-5849