Internet2 Completes 100-Gbit/s Network
The consortium got an assist from equipment vendors Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), whose gear enables easy provisioning of point-to-point IP circuits for use by university researchers.
Internet2 CTO Rick Summerhill says that after being on a strictly IP network leased from Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) for six to eight years, the consortium began looking for a new platform.
"It was clear that what was important in the community was to control more layers of the protocol stack," Summerhill says.
As a result, Internet2 built out a new Dynamic Circuit Network (DCN) that would allow it to provision up to 10 Gbit/s of bandwidth on demand.
As Summerhill describes it, this network sits on a dedicated fiber pair on the Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) footprint, as part of a partnership announced in 2006.
Internet2 uses Infinera gear on the Level 3 footprint to enable dynamic optical circuit provisioning, and the group uses Ciena's CoreDirector Multiservice Switch for switching and wavelength grooming. (See Internet2 Picks Infinera and Internet2, Ciena Team.)
The group also has a separate IP network, which runs in parallel to the DCN network. "The community is interested in having access to that IP network for a highly reliable type of data service, but also wanted to be able to use a circuit infrastructure for long-term static circuits," Summerhill says.
Internet2 chose equipment from Ciena and Infinera primarily for its ability to help quickly and easily turn up circuits required for projects.
Infinera CTO Drew Perkins says Internet2 called on his company because of the manageability of its equipment and the ability to do bandwidth virtualization, which Internet2 is using for its DCN service. "Our bandwidth virtualization schemes and GMPLS software allows you to turn circuits up very, very quickly and very, very easily," he says.
Vinay Rathore, Ciena's director of marketing, says that CoreDirector was chosen due to its ability "to turn circuits on and off and switch them around because of our control plane."
The vendors' cooperation in integrating their systems with Internet2's control plane was also key.
"The real advantage to working with both was that we were able to form very good relationships that allowed us to work on control plane software with those two companies," Summerhill says. "They were very strong partners in the process of developing ways to do control plane stuff in a dynamic way."
— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading