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REANNZ goes live with 100Gbps line, plans for future SDN capability

Sathya Mithra Ashok | June 19, 2014
Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ), the Crown-owned entity that maintains and manages a high-performance network for NZ's research and innovation communities, has gone live with a 100Gbps line.

Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ), the Crown-owned entity that maintains and manages a high-performance network for NZ's research and innovation communities, has gone live with a 100Gbps line.

The line currently connects its Auckland fibre optic ring to two Southern Cross Cable Network landing stations.

"We went live a couple of weeks back and traffic has been flowing on it. All our member traffic is going across it now. We have more than 160 members including the national library, museums, ministry of education, and all crown research institutes. From our users perspective I don't think they even notice. But from our perspective it was very easy and seamless," says Steve Cotter, REANNZ CEO.

The link has been enabled by Juniper's MX480 routers.

"We have had a majority of our network infrastructure on some of the other Juniper MX series routers and switches. The team was familiar with Junos and we have been very comfortable with its reliability and operational flexibility. It is really the operating system choice of our engineers. So the switch to MX 480 platform, which is the 100Gbps capability, was very seamless and it went with no problems," says Cotter.

The project itself is part of a larger initiative involving a public-private partnership with FX Networks to establish a shared optical network infrastructure among several New Zealand sites.

"This project is part of us adding a lot more capability for the scientists and researchers in NZ that are participating in global collaborations. So we have had significant growth in our network in the last couple of years as NZ participates in some of the big science projects. We have seen a tsunami of data coming at us and we have had to keep up with that demand," says Cotter, speaking to Computerworld NZ.

According to Cotter, overall REANNZ traffic has grown 80 per cent year-on-year. International traffic is exceeding 100 per cent growth year-on-year. REANNZ recently partnered with AARnet (the Australian research and education network) to increase its international bandwidth capability to 40Gbps.

"In order to support 40Gb to both Australia and US we needed to upgrade the infrastructure between the Southern Cross landing points and we built out a fibre optic ring around Auckland and we lit it with our first 100Gb wavelength," explains Cotter.

According to Cotter, 100Gbps capability will be extended to the rest of the country based on demand from universities and research institutes.

"The rest of the country getting it is somewhat dependent on the infrastructure upgrades that are underway in universities. For example, Otago is currently doing a big campus upgrade. University of Auckland is doing similar things and so are other universities. As they improve their campus infrastructures we will stay one step ahead of them in brining the backbone infrastructure up to 100Gb," says Cotter.

 

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