Boston University and Irish firm Intune Networks are partnering to create the Boston University Research Switch and Transport (BURST) network, which will be based upon Intune Networks’ optical packet switch and transport (OPST) technology.
Details of the partnership were announced at an event in Boston, which Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended while on his two-day visit to the city over the weekend.
The aim of the next-generation R&D network will be to explore new network architectures, identifying how both entities can exploit the challenges presented by the explosion in internet traffic and services.
With internet video forecast to be 62pc of consumer internet traffic by 2015, Prof Alexander Sergienko from Boston University spoke about how carriers providing consumer internet face both a challenge and an opportunity.
"All of this new traffic is being carried on dated networks which were not designed for this purpose," he said.
Sergienko said new network architectures are needed to support the growth spurt and demand for bandwidth and performance of new network-hosted services, such as video, content management and storage, applications, remote computing and social networking.
"The BURST network will seek to respond to the challenges faced by the world’s telcos – enabling a network designed for web services and the cloud," he said.
The Irish Government has already invested in the creation of an Exemplar Network in Ireland. This is being used as a test bed by both academic researchers and commercial organisations. Its aim is to act as a catalyst to support Ireland’s ambition to become a hub for R&D activity in the digital economy.
Kenny spoke in Boston about how the creation of the Irish Exemplar is a "key component" of the aim to position Ireland as a knowledge economy.
"We are already seeing the returns of the investment in this innovative, Irish-based technology. We see the establishment of a similar network here in Boston as a very positive step in strengthening technology and collaborative links between both countries and taken together will cement our joint commitment to stimulating the digital economy," he said.
Jim Lowrie, senior vice-president of Worldwide Sales, Intune Networks, who is based in Boston, added that the BURST network would support the company’s plans for the US this year. Intune Networks is now rolling out commercial trials in the US.
"To support these trials, it will be very useful for our customers to be able to see the potential of the technology in action on the BURST network. By showcasing what can be achieved in the Boston metro area, organisations will get some insight into the potential of our tuning laser technology," said Lowrie.
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