100Gbps transatlantic cable to aid EU/US science research

20 Oct 2014

The LHC's atlas detector. Image via ESnet

The US Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), is deploying four new 100Gbps transatlantic cables to give American researchers access to scientific data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at an unprecedented speed.

In total, the cables will be able to provide 340Gbps of data to more than 16 different research organisations and universities across the US from New York to Seattle.

Esnet in their statement on the development of the audacious task to span the Atlantic Ocean, said they believe the first to benefit from the network extension will be high-energy physicists conducting research at the LHC, the world’s most powerful particle collider, such as the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

On the European side, London, Amsterdam and Geneva, where CERN and their LHC is located, will be the cities to be connected to this new high-speed connection with the latter being the first to receiving the first nodes last September with Esnet’s plan being for all links to be commissioned and in production by January 2015.

A map showing where the new high-speed cables will be operated. Image via ESnet.

Speaking of the importance of creating high-speed data links such as this, ESnet’s director Greg Bell said: “Particle physicists have been pushing the boundaries of networking technology for decades, and they will make use of our new extension almost immediately.

“Very soon, other data-intensive fields will benefit as well. We expect to see significant network traffic across the Atlantic from the astrophysics, materials science, genomics, and climate science communities.”

The importance of all construction and implementation targets are considered vital because CERN has shut down the LHC for upgrades but is expected to resume operations next spring, at which point it will be generating significantly more scientific data every day.

However, the organisation say they face a challenge in constructing such a network as the four cables that will be laid down will face a number of challenges to remain out of harms’ way, particularly shipping that may accidentally cut a cable as a result of an anchor drop.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic