46 Terabits per second: This is the staggering bandwidth claimed by the latest version of the US network ESnet.
Today, most Internet connections can reach very comfortable speeds. Several operators also offer fiber optic packages for individuals that can reach 8 Gb per second under ideal conditions. But for advanced science laboratories, the situation is still very different.
ESnet has recently proved this once again. This is a network operated by the United States Department of Energy (DoE); it uses it to connect different facilities, including several supercomputers and several state-of-the-art laboratories scattered throughout the territory. They are connected by a huge network that now spans more than 20,000 kilometers of optical fiber.
It is one of the most efficient networks in the world. Each of its branches can reach extremely high ranges; the DoE usually says it’s the fastest large-scale operational network in the world.
And it has just further strengthened its position; with the arrival of the new version of the installation, called ESnet6, any branch can now move between 400 Gigabit and 1 Terabit per second. The network as a whole now supports a total bandwidth of 46 Terabits (or 46,000 Gigabits) per second and permanent!
No transfer rate records
However, an important distinction must be made: it is in fact a bandwidth records, no raw data transfer rate. In the latter category, the record belongs to a facility of NCIT, a Japanese research center. They achieved throughput greater than 1 Petabit / sor more than one million Gigabits per second (see this article).
The fundamental difference is that it is an experimental system which for now is limited to research; nothing to do with ESnet6, for short. The latter is already used daily by hundreds of researchers associated with US federal agencies. That makes this bandwidth record even more impressive, as it’s not an abstract proof of concept.
The DoE staff also believe that the arrival of ESnet6 represents an important paradigm shift for network architectures applied to research. According to HPCWorld and HPCWire, US engineers have partnered with AMD to implement a flexible, extensible, and largely automated architecture.
“ Before Esnet6, each element of the network was treated as a collection of pets says Inder Monda, director of science networks at Berkeley Lab. They are now considered a ” real flock led by a real shepherd: a program called Orchestrator. He is responsible for dynamically redirecting huge data streams as he reconfigures the network as needed in real time.
Blessed bread for researchers
And these outstanding results will directly contribute to the researchers’ work; With ESnet6, they can transfer, analyze and store astounding amounts of data. And they will need it, as they know the amount of data produced by simulators, telescopes, particle accelerators, genome sequencers and other advanced devices that exist today.
“ As the complexity of scientific instruments and supercomputer resolution increases, the scientific community faces a growing challenge explains Barbara Helland, Deputy Director of IT at the DoE.
” We have an exponentially increasing amount of data and we need to transport, share and process it faster and faster. ‘she specifies. ” With Esnet6, DoE researchers are equipped with the most advanced technology available to help them tackle challenges such as climate, renewable energy, semiconductor manufacturing, quantum computing … Suffice it to say that American researchers are already rubbing their hands.