ESnet and GÉANT upgrade European research network to 200Gbps

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To ensure that data reaches scientists around the world promptly, the US Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and GÉANT, a pan- European data network for the research and education community, recently teamed up to increase the capacity of ESnet’s network loop in Western Europe to 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps). This upgraded network connects to ESnet’s 400 Gbps transatlantic network capacity, allowing researchers on both continents to collaborate 'at the speed of science'.

Chris Cummings, a network engineer at ESnet comments: ‘This upgrade to 200G is an important milestone for ESnet because it opens up more bandwidth, network reliability, and flexibility at a time when the demands from high energy physics experiments and other scientific instruments are rapidly increasing.’ 

Cummings also notes that this milestone will enable ESnet engineers to complete maintenance and upgrades with less overall impact to the network. This is especially important as ESnet rolls out its next-generation ESnet6 network architecture in Europe in 2023.

The ESnet and GÉANT networks support researchers across the world by helping to deliver data and support collaboration between academic institutions. These networks support groundbreaking research projects such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), enabling the discovery of the Higgs Boson. But the technology also supports future research such as the Hi-Luminosity LHC experiments set to begin in 2027. As the complexity of these scientific challenges excalates, so to does the requirements for data and the need to share data with teams of researchers.

Kate Mace, ESnet6 project director states: ‘ESnet6 is increasing the amount of data that we can transfer across our network and then, around the world. In its simplest terms: we are increasing the size of the ‘pipes’ carrying the data to accommodate the growing data sets being generated by scientific instruments and experiments across the globe. That, and the need for innovative network technologies to route the data, is what’s driving Research & Education networks to upgrade.’

GÉANT’s Tom Fryer, head of international relations said: ‘The decades-old collaboration between global R&E networks like ESnet and GÉANT is highly valuable because we share the common goal of making science successful and supporting the needs of global research. This common goal only grows more important as scientific discovery increasingly relies on global collaboration.’