AARNet gets 10 gig speed boost to US

Australia's academic researchers will network with their US counterparts much faster following government funding for two 10Gbs circuits.

The Department of Education, Science and Training last week announced $16.4 million for two fibre optic cables linking Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet) with its US equivalents.

The connection will help local scientists collaborate in international, data-intense projects, as well as gain access to expensive resources.

New project examples would be grid computing, and scientists' access to the world's premier astronomical observatories in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, said AARNet director, international developments, George McLaughlin.

Local researchers currently use a 155MB per second link to connect to the US, which provides limited research opportunities, he said.

Southern Cross Cable Networks will add the new circuits via its undersea cable sites in Sydney, Hawaii and mainland US.

One of the two circuits will be connected to the US at Hillsboro in Oregon via Hawaii, as part of the Southern Cross Trans-Pacific Optical Research Testbed (SX TransPORT) project. McLaughlin said this circuit will also connect to Internet2's Abilene backbone network and other research networks such as National Lambda Rail.

The other circuit will connect to San Luis Obispo in California, with plans for interconnections with Los Angeles and Abilene.

McLaughlin said once equipment was sourced and placed, he expected the first experiments on the links would run around April or May next year.

"We still need to arrange interconnection with the US facilities. So there's equipment to be sourced and placed like routers, switches, optical interface cards.”

Research organisations which will access SX TransPORT include Australia's universities and the CSIRO.

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