July 11, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, England -- A major milestone has been accomplished by the European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), where for the first time a user-requested high speed circuit has been set up dynamically between Ireland and Greece. This concept, known as "Bandwidth-on-Demand" allows users to request network capacity according to their needs.
The recent demonstration involved the dynamic establishment of a dedicated end-to-end 1 Gigabit Ethernet circuit between two end-user workstations. The circuit was set up within minutes and spanned the infrastructure of: GRNET, the Greek NREN; the pan-European network GEANT2; and the Irish NREN, HEAnet. In the trial, two workstations were interconnected through the circuit, offering a data transmission speed 1,000 times faster than a commercial 1 Mbps ASDL line for the transmission of high-resolution video. The circuit was also released in a dynamic manner.
Afrodite Sevasti of GRNET, and leader of the research activity, said, "We have demonstrated that it is possible for a network user to request their own bandwidth. We'd now like to expand our work within the research networking community to collect user feedback and further our research. We are already working closely with our U.S. counterparts at Internet2 and ESNet to extend the possibilities beyond Europe."
The recent demonstration is the result of research into a novel communication networks' service architecture, tailored to the needs of the multi-domain, multi-technology pan-European Research and Education community. Known as the "AutoBAHN" (Automated Bandwidth Allocation across Heterogeneous Networks) architecture, it allows authorized end-users to directly access network resources from their workstation, wherever it is located in Europe. This is achieved by setting up on-demand dedicated circuits spanning multiple countries, and multiple networks, administered by different entities and using different technologies.
In contrast to general Internet principles, where the user is implicitly connected through his workstation to any other far end point around the world -- without any control of the capacity and quality of his communication -- the AutoBAHN concept allows an authorized user to explicitly define the destination of his data and the speed and quality used for this transmission. The service can be offered upon demand, subject to the availability of resources. Similar services have been offered by the telecommunications industry for some time now, but AutoBAHN focuses on end-user control and ease-of-use with simple Web-based user interfaces.
To make the demonstration possible, a group of GEANT2 project participants worked intensively for two months and in collaboration with the network administrators of GRNET, GEANT2 and HEAnet. Any network wishing to join the group of AutoBAHN-enabled networks has to operate the AutoBAHN system and declare through it its capabilities to support user requests for originating, transiting or terminating dedicated capacity circuits.
About GEANT2 http://www.geant2.net
About GRNET http://www.grnet.gr/en
About HEAnet http://www.heanet.ie/
More information on Internet2 http://www.internet2.edu/
More information on ESnet http://www.es.net/