An Update to the Research & Education Community: Acting CEO Wendy Huntoon on State of NLR's Business, NLR at SC10, UCAN and 100G

November 10, 2010

An Update to the Research & Education Community: Acting CEO Wendy Huntoon on State of NLR's Business, NLR at SC10, UCAN and 100G

As I start my third month as acting CEO of National LambdaRail (NLR), I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update on NLR's business and share some recent decisions we've made at NLR to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our commitment to be the network uniquely dedicated to the success of U.S. research and education (R&E).

Demand for NLR's services continues to remain strong, with more than 20 new waves deployed in the past 90 days and over 20 quotes provided for additional NLR waves or circuits.

In that same time period we've seen the number of organizations wanting to connect to the NLR-operated Research & Education Cisco TelePresence Exchange - the only national TelePresence exchange in the world dedicated to R&E - jump more than 25% to a total of over 125 endpoints in the U.S. and 9 foreign countries. And NLR's agreement with Tata Communications, announced in September, provides the ability to link our respective TelePresence exchanges, enabling NLR TelePresence users to interconnect with other TelePresence users in over 140 additional countries.

And in the past year more than half a dozen universities or regional networks have joined NLR as individual institution participants, including MIT, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), New York University, Northwestern University, NYSERNet and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

NLR remains on solid financial footing. Like many other, growth-oriented businesses, we are actively looking for new revenue opportunities with the goal of being able to continue to keep costs down for our R&E users.

At this year's SC10 conference, which starts this weekend in New Orleans, NLR will be providing high-performance networking for 10 booths and a total of over 25 collaborators from leading research organizations in the U.S. and abroad. We'll be providing more details in an announcement and on our website on Friday.

In order for NLR to focus its effort and budget on directly supporting our users at SC10 and to keep NLR overhead at the show at a minimum, we decided against having a separate booth this year. As we have done many years in the past, NLR will have a counter in a partner booth. At SC10, we'll be sharing space with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, in booth #3513, and NLR information will also be available in the booths of Indiana University (#3625) and RENCI (#4647).

With regard to the U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN) and serving community anchor institutions, NLR has provided service to many anchors historically, via our existing infrastructure, services and partnerships with regional optical networks (RONs). After review of the final National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) guidelines associated with the U.S. UCAN funding, we have concluded that we should continue to serve community anchors via existing mechanisms rather than as a sub recipient of NTIA U.S. UCAN funding.

We understand from many of our R&E users that being able to transport, store and analyze vast amounts of data is an increasingly important requirement in many advanced research disciplines. To meet this need, NLR upgraded its network in 2009 to be capable of alien 100G waves. In 2011, NLR has targeted plans to upgrade its network yet again with 100G transponders to provide NLR users with the additional choice of native 100G.

In closing, I'd like to express my appreciation for the confidence the R&E community has placed in NLR. NLR continues to provide the bulk of networking resources in support of the GENI project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. NLR also provides the high-end computing testbed for NASA and NLR, together with Indiana University, is helping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) design, deploy and maintain its next-generation climate research network, NWave. NLR remains committed to continuing to be the advanced network dedicated to R&E, maximizing the benefits of network ownership and control and delivering the highest performance and the greatest flexibility and customer service at a reasonable cost and without any open access contraints or Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) restrictions.

If you have any questions or comments for us, we'd like to hear from you. Please send to


Wendy (Gwendolyn) Huntoon
Acting CEO and Chief Technology Officer

About National LambdaRail (NLR)

Owned and operated by the U.S. research and education community, NLR is one of the world's most advanced networks: 12,000 miles of high-performance optical fiber coast to coast, capable of speeds up to 100 Gigabits per second. Over 280 universities and federal laboratories use NLR as their network for leading-edge research. With no restrictions on usage or bandwidth, very high availability, a choice of next-generation network services and applications, and customized support for individual researchers and projects, NLR creates opportunities for collaboration, innovation and commercialization among the global research community and between private and public partners. For more information, please visit