Internet2 has finished the transition of its research and education network traffic to the fifth-generation backbone that interconnects with 37 state and regional networks, serving every state in the country.
It’s an important development because the network serves a critical niche in the national broadband infrastructure and underpins high-capacity and advanced services. In 2021, Internet2 moved over 2.75 exabytes of data, equivalent to a video call that is 594,557 years long, or 27.5 million high-definition films.
Internet2’s next-generation hardware 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.
The network’s new optical layer, Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) supports up to 32 Tbps per segment, while the generation of transponders will provide increments of 400-800 gigabits per second. Additionally, the NGI’s new packet layer provides 8-16 petabits per second of port capacity per location, delivering “new software-driven advanced capabilities” with a greener footprint, with an expected 70% reduction in power consumption.
“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,” said Howard Pfeffer, Internet2 president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “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.”
Internet2 often is an early adopter of cutting-edge technology that is subsequently adopted by commercial operators.