By Andree Toonk | March 21, 2008
Last Monday was the official opening of the new optical network BCNET has build together with Canarie. It was quite and official reception with the Presidents of all the major universities in BC as well as Advanced Education Minister Coell. The completion of the next generation advanced network highlights a successful partnership between BCNET and CANARIE to bring BC’s researchers, educators and students the latest in next generation networking technologies. After the speeches we saw a demonstration of the new life-size HDtv. The Ministers office in Victoria was joining the official opening using the life-size hd tv video conferencing Unit.
Because the distances here in British Columbia and Canada are much bigger we’re making extensive use of Video conferencing and the availability of these HD quality video conferencing units make this a much better experience. Actually BCNET is helping the BCNET government with implementing this for them as well and according to the minster, if they can only safe 5% of traveling, that will safe them 3 million a year! “Video conferencing for a greener B.C.” is what the minister said. Green Broadband, Green Networking or Green IT is definitely the newest thing around here.
This new network is build with Nortel equipment, using the Common Photonic Layer (CPL) as DWDM layer with ROADM functionality. On top of that we’re using Nortel’s OME6500 platform. BCNET is using the 10GE NGM cards, while Canarie is primarily using SONET technology. I’ve spent quite some time working in this network since I joined BCNET. Bringing up new wavelengths and troubleshooting problems on this network. Lately I am more focused on developing software for monitoring this network. The experience I gained while working on the SURFnet6 network, which uses largely the same technologies, have proven to be very useful.
- The network spans around 1100KM from Seattle to Calgary.
- The network supports upto 72 wavelengths
- The network currently supports and uses 3 way branching, and several spurs (We’re waiting for 4way branching)
- BCNET currently uses 4 wavelengths for 10GE services
- The network support 40Gb/s per wavelength, which gives a total capacity of 72*40gb/s = 2.88Tb/s (assuming we’re using the wavelength only once).
- With the 2.88Tb/s you could potentially download 76 DVDs per second from Calgary to Seattle!
- Last week Nortel and Comcast announced they successfully tested 100Gb/s using the same kind of equipment. That would increase the potential bandwidth to 7.2 Tb/s or 900Giga Byte per second!
I’ll leave it up to the reader to judge about usefulness of these numbers One things is fore sure, Ministers, management and policymakers love numbers like this!
An article about the opening of the new network was published in the Vancouver Sun and can be found here: B.C. universities getting a $6 million boost in bandwidth
Left to right front row: BC Net Pres. and CEO Michael Hrybrk; Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell; Regional Executive Director, Industry Canada Bruce Drake; Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Industry Canada Kevin Lindsey; and Advanced Education Deputy Minister Moura Quayle. Left to right back row: SFU Pres. Michael Stevenson; BCIT Pres. Don Wright; UBC Pres. Stephen J. Toope; Advanced Education Assistant Deputy Minister Brent Sauder; Advanced Education Assistant Deputy Minister Ruth Wittenberg; Royal Roads Pres. Allan Cahoon; Pres. & CEO of CANARIE Andrew Bjerring.