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5/30/2007
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DOE Rolls Out Powerful ESnet For Scientific Researchers

The optical network will serve more than 50,000 DOE laboratory staffers and scientists as well as thousands of academic researchers.

The first segment of the U.S. Department of Energy's powerful Energy Sciences Network (ESnet4) for scientific researchers has been deployed in the initial step of its national rollout, according to an announcement Wednesday.

The ESnet4 will be rolled out in segments from the East Coast to the West Coast until it is fully operational by September.

Scheduled to initially operate on two dedicated 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) wavelengths on the new Internet2 nationwide network, the robust optical network will serve more than 50,000 DOE laboratory staffers and scientists as well as thousands of academic researchers.

The announcement was made by the DOE's Office of Science and by the Internet2 networking consortium of research and education researchers. The physical network itself is being delivered in collaboration with Level 3 Communications.

"The launch of this first segment of ESnet4 represents a significant step toward a state-of-the-art optical network that is a critical component supporting the United States' scientific leadership," said Dr. Raymond Orbach, DOE under secretary for science, in a statement. "Not only does this new architecture provide greater bandwidth and higher reliability for DOE researchers, but it also underscores the support of DOE's Office of Science to the entire U.S. university community."

In addition to the power and throughput of the network, Jon Bashor, ESnet spokesman, said important innovations are planned for the network, which has been designed to transport huge data files quickly.

"Researchers will be able to reserve bandwidth," he said, noting that end-to-end transmission of large files will be able to be sent during off hours after bandwidth has been earmarked for individual researchers.

Redundant networks are planned for major usage areas to ensure that data gets through. According to the Internet2 announcements thousands of scientists are already planning to utilize the network when it is completed this fall and when the world's largest particle accelerator at CERN in Switzerland is switched on by the end of the year. "Mountains of data coming in from CERN" will be transported from the CERN facility to Brookhaven National Lab in New York and to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, according to a DOE official. From those two U.S. labs, the data can then be sent to various U.S. researchers.

ESnet, which is funded by the DOE's Office of Science, is operated by the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Supercomputing centers, particle accelerators and massive scientific data storage systems are served by ESnet.

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