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Internet2 Next Generation Infrastructure Operational, Transition to Fully-Automated, 400G National Infrastructure Complete

Internet2 | January 21, 2022

Internet2 today announced the completed transition of its research and education (R&E) network traffic to the fifth-generation backbone that interconnects with 37 state and regional networks and serves every state in the U.S. The network serves a critical niche in the national broadband infrastructure, underpinning high-capacity and advanced services for the demanding needs of research, education, and global collaboration.

Known as the Next Generation Infrastructure, or NGI, the new network's optical layer now supports up to 32 terabits per segment with a new generation of transponders in increments of 400-800 gigabits per second. NGI's new packet layer provides 8-16 petabits per second of port capacity per location. NGI delivers new software-driven advanced capabilities while also creating a greener footprint, with an expected 70 percent reduction in power consumption achieved through the latest hardware advancements.

"The technological advancements being enabled on the Internet2 network – together with software, tools, and security resources that have been developed in collaboration with community members – are providing next-generation capabilities that propel academic and research collaborations,A comprehensive upgrade of this scale allows us to support our community's R&E infrastructure needs now and into the future – from K-12 students with connected devices, to faculty teaching classes and lab components, to scientists collaborating with colleagues all over the country and the world."

Howard Pfeffer, Internet2 president and CEO

Behind those upgraded speeds and feeds – all delivered with a reduced carbon footprint – is Internet2's next-generation hardware. That includes 12,000 miles of new single-mode ultra optical fiber across the U.S., along with power- and space-saving optical and routing equipment that is the equivalent of going from two (or more) college dorm refrigerators to a handful of medium pizza boxes at each site.

Increased Capacity, Simplified Workflows
Research and education network traffic which connects K-12 schools, higher education campuses, government affiliates, and international partners – has seen exponential growth over the last decade. In 2021, Internet2 moved over two and three-quarters exabytes of data. For reference, that is equivalent to a video call that is 594,557 years long, or 27.5 million high-definition films.

With Internet2 NGI, the network's increased capacity supports moving data quickly across the U.S. and globally, and removing obstacles within R&E networks that slow the progress of science.

Another driver for the network upgrade is the need to simplify operations that support scientific research. Today's scientific collaborations include data movement between campuses, data repositories, on-premise computing sites, the commercial cloud, and large scientific instruments distributed around the world.

With Internet2 NGI's software layer, these complexities in researchers' workflows will be increasingly simplified with an agile, flexible, and secure networking ecosystem. That ecosystem empowers researchers and campus administrators to build, monitor, and change their own extended networks from their local compute clusters to the cloud and their global collaborators and providers.

"This fifth-generation Internet2 network delivers new services with greatly improved efficiencies that are enabled for both IT administrators and researchers," said Rob Vietzke, Internet2 vice president for network services. "As a community, we wanted to ensure that the new network infrastructure delivered accelerated and better experiences for our advanced users. The improvements in speeds, capabilities, security, and resiliency all contribute to realizing faster and more capable results for scientists and educators.

Delivering NGI During Unprecedented Times
Bringing Internet2 NGI to life took more than four years of member and community discussions, technical planning, procurement, and implementation. During the last 20 months, continuing pandemic risks added unique challenges to an already complex project as collaborators moved from the planning phase to active deployment.

"Community and industry partners, along with Internet2 and GlobalNOC staff displayed extraordinary patience, resilience, flexibility, and dedication to the R&E mission throughout every phase of this project, but especially these past 20 months as we adapted to the challenges of the pandemic," added Vietzke. "For years to come, we can share stories about how the R&E community's member-centric services, active coalitions, and abundant capacity put us in a unique position to fulfill changing needs during this extraordinary time. Together, we continued delivering on program objectives at a time when we could not gather in traditional ways."

These efforts involved dozens of community contributors, Internet2 staff, GlobalNOC at Indiana University staff, as well as in collaboration with the teams at Cisco, Ciena, Lumen, and General Datatech (GDT).

"Ciena and Internet2 have a long history of success in building network architectures that fuel the next generation of scientific discovery," said Steve Alexander, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Ciena. "Years ago, we teamed up with Internet2 to create America's first 100G national research and education network and we look forward to supporting this next phase of their network evolution."

"This initiative is a clear example of Cisco's commitment to education and our focus on driving industry innovation," added Renee Patton, Cisco's global director of education and healthcare. "Our work with Internet2 is a model for the future of research and education globally. With innovative approaches such as this, we are working together to power inclusive exploration and learning for all."

"Lumen has been a key partner to Internet2 for years and provides the fiber backbone that powers their recent upgrade to Next Generation Infrastructure," commented Sonia Ramsey, regional vice president of the Lumen state and local government and education market. "Internet2's super high speed network is built on the Lumen optical fiber and colocation infrastructure that quickly and securely connects important research and development groups and academic institutions in more than 40 cities. These ultra-fast connections are designed to increase scientific collaboration among diverse organizations across the U.S."

About Internet2
Internet2 is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation's leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 323 U.S. universities, 59 government agencies, 46 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 80,000 community anchor institutions, over 1,000 InCommon participants, and 54 leading corporations working with our community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.

Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2's core infrastructure components include the nation's largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.

About GlobalNOC at Indiana University
The GlobalNOC launched in 1998, at the dawn of the commercial Internet, with a singular goal: to provide operations support enabling Internet2 to create a new kind of network, built by the R&E community to serve the R&E community. Over time, we grew to support the needs of many network partners, but remain a nonprofit focused exclusively on research, education, public-interest networking projects and development of advanced network services.

About Ciena
Ciena is a networking systems, services and software company. We provide solutions that help our customers create the Adaptive Network™ in response to the constantly changing demands of their end-users. By delivering best-in-class networking technology through high-touch consultative relationships, we build the world's most agile networks with automation, openness and scale

About Cisco
Cisco is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. Cisco inspires new possibilities by reimagining your applications, securing your data, transforming your infrastructure, and empowering your teams for a global and inclusive future.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

About Lumen
Lumen is guided by our belief that humanity is at its best when technology advances the way we live and work. With approximately 450,000 route fiber miles and serving customers in more than 60 countries, we deliver the fastest, most secure platform for applications and data to help businesses, government and communities deliver amazing experiences.

About GDT
Since 1996, award-winning technology integration partner GDT has leveraged state-of-the-art facilities, industry-leading OEM relationships, and a team of IT professionals unparalleled in the industry to digitally transform the world's most noted enterprises. From managed services to GovCloud to collaboration technology and beyond, GDT has the resources and skill to design and build custom technology solutions to suit public and private sector organizations of all sizes, as well as provide the expert services to support them.

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