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Warning: Pacific Rim researchers are about to outpace you

Speed read
  • TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G is the 1st 100 Gbps R&E network connecting US and Asia.
  • Faster data flow means faster discoveries.
  • Japanese professors can now join Pacific Research Platform.

Slow internet connectivity can really mess up your Netflix, but when scientists experience slow internet speeds, the whole world’s knowledge is delayed. Luckily, collaboration between the US and Asia has enabled the world’s first 100 Gbps circuit connecting Pacific Rim research and education networks to their counterparts in the US.

Called the TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G, the new link connects network research hubs in Tokyo and Seattle. The new circuit is funded through a US National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for the TransPAC4 and Pacific Wave projects, and is a collaboration between Indiana University, the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN), and the NSF.

TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G will support multiple direct 100-gigabit connections to the US Department of Energy's high-speed networks, the Energy Science Network (ESnet), and Internet2. These ultrafast connections will deliver data transfer speeds that are 10 times faster than current rates to researchers between Asia and the US. 

To put this in perspective: If a US scientist downloads several hours of ultra high-definition 8K video from Tokyo, what had previously taken more than one hour can now be done in less than 10 minutes.

“This is the first 100G trans-pacific circuit, and will enhance the work of research and education networks throughout Asia,” says Kazunori Konishi, network operation center director for APAN. “The technologies of the TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G will be open to other networks, and I expect experimentation of high-performance file transfer technologies in both single and multiple Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) streams. Cloud services for research & education will be encouraged, and large video file transmissions will be conducted without data loss.”

Konishi also expects the TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G to play a role in big data exchanges in projects at the Large Hadron ColliderBelle2, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii.

“I'm excited by the possibilities this new 100-gigabit circuit and open exchange fabric will enable,” says Jennifer Schopf, principal investigator on TransPAC4 and director of international networks at Indiana University. “From high-energy physics, astronomy and bioinformatics to climate science and geoscience – researchers will now be able to share their largest databases at extremely fast speeds. The TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G circuit is a game changer for the world of big data research.”

The new link will also provide the possibility for Japanese professors to join the the NSF-funded Pacific Research Platform project led by the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley.

Our research network links, fast as they are, will soon be insufficient to support large-scale science, and with faster flows of data will come faster discovery. Bandwidth is important, but is only one facet of solving the world's hardest problems. International cooperation among the scientific community is the greatest result of the TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G network. Open, fast, and safe research networking for the world is fast becoming a reality.

Read Ceci Jones's TransPAC Pacific Wave 100G press release here.

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