Harder! Better! Faster! Stronger!*

av Jörgen Städje den 11 Apr 2016

The Swedish University Network SUNET is being upgraded. It was great before, but now it will be incredible. At its inception in 2007, OptoSunet was a 10 Gbps network, but that was then. This is now. The rocket needed more boosters. Users have come to expect 100 Gbps, and more.

sunet-c-logo2

We just had to face the facts. The OptoSunet was outdated. It had served us well and long, without any significant outages. We have enjoyed an uptime of about 100%. Nice try, but it is not enough in the long run.

See the boasting promo!

There have been periodical generational changes during SUNET’s whole existence. But now all users will get significantly increased security, better redundancy and an almost non-existent risk of downtime through equipment outage.

Looming in the horizon are more web services, cloud services, more security features and even better peering with large institutions in Europe. European networking is bracing itself for new data cannons such as CERN, the European Spallation Source (ESS), EISCAT 3D and Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which, if left unattended, might choke the network.

SUNET will not let you down.

The times they are a-changin’

The new SUNET was first conceived at the back of a napkin in early 2014, and a tender was submitted to the Swedish fibre operators in mid-2014. Offers were received in December. In March 2015 it was clear that Tele2 had won the tender. Cameras whirred and managers high-fived each other. SUNET had just leased 8000 kilometres of dark fibre.

Hardware was ordered in September 2015 and deliveries started to arrive in January 2016. Equipment is now (April) being distributed around the country. A test network has been verified to work.

The new SUNET is intended to be up and running nationwide in the end of 2016.

Tech Details

The topology has changed for the better, from a star network to a ring structure. The star structure meant every data packet had to be routed to Stockholm and back again. That meant a lot of latency, but that was technology then.

The new ring structure will mean more fibre routes to each region, increasing availability. The latency from one university to its nearest neighbour will be significantly reduced, by not having all traffic passing through Stockholm.

A traditional network is a hotch-potch of short hops, requiring expensive opto-electric regeneration equipment, but by acquiring the latest technology we are able to hop thousands of kilometres without opto-electric regeneration. Luckily, although lengthy, Sweden is not thousands of kilometres long. The new network, while delivering better performance and serving even more customers than before, is actually shorter than the previous one. Not only has this reduced the price, but also improved latency.

Our EDFA and hybrid Raman-EDFA amplifiers are wideband enough to not having to be upgraded as bandwidth demands increase. By stepping away from the conventional fixed ITU space 50 GHz optical grid structure and employing a variable Flexgrid or Gridless technology we will be able to save bandwidth and increase the spectral efficiency as the need for wider channels arises.

The Need for Speed

The future promises more speed. At startup everyone gets 100 Gbps, but our forecasts see the need for terabit speeds. We believe that we, through wise purchasing of optical infrastructure (In Line Amplifiers, ROADMs etc) will be able to handle terabit speeds without too many modifications. New DWDM channels can be added without taking the system down. We begin with using just a few channels, but have the option to populate all 96 channels as the need arises.

Peering reduces costs

Thanks to the cooperation between SUNET and NORDUnet, we keep the cost down by maintaining peering points at important sites, such as AMS-IX in Amsterdam, LINX in London, CERN in Switzerland, as well as Miami, Washington, Chicago and Palo Alto.

Most research today is global. SUNET is here to serve the national and international research and education communities with enough capacity.

We are not able to, and we do not want to tell our customers how to use the network. We do not, and will not, try to put stoppers or bureaucratic procedures in place to limit data usage, or demand explanations for why anyone would want ten gigabits to any particular location. This would harm research, as researchers have no possibility to predict their future transmission requirements.

Instead, it is our responsibility to empower the researchers to do everything they want to do, without limitations.

Want to know more?

If you are yearning for more details, please contact Börje Josefsson.

Börje Josefsson

COO
or Per Nihlen

Per Nihlén

CTO, Teknik, strategi, upphandling
0703-494137

Basic Facts

  • SUNET serves 35 Swedish universities, as well as 21 national museums and art schools, and 32 government authorities and large scientific institutions.
  • Basic connection speed is 100 Gbps.
    Those who wish, may continue using 10 Gbps.
    1 Gbps connections are more or less scrapped.
  • Uptime is calculated to be >99.96% but previously 100% uptime has been readily achieved through our double-layered redundant structure. The new ring structure promises even more robustness.

*) Daft Punk

1968-01-01

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Jörgen Städje

Jag heter Jörgen Städje och har skrivit om teknik och vetenskap sedan 1984. Friskt kopplat, hälften brunnet!