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Researchers Build World's Longest 10GB Ethernet Connection

An international team of engineers has pushed the limits of 10Gigabit Ethernet to its farthest point yet. The researchers in Canada, Japan, the United States and Europe completed an 18,500 km (11,495 mile) 10GB connection between the Japanese Data Reservoir project and the CERN particle physical laboratory in Geneva.

The network link crosses 17 time zones and is the longest native 10GB data circuit ever laid. The team used 10GB WAN PHY technology to set up a local area network at the University of Tokyo that appeared to include systems at CERN. The purpose of the monster LAN is to test the optimization and transfer of large TCP data flows across an extremely long, wide bandwidth connection.

The circuit took a serpentine route from Europe, across the Atlantic and then across backbones in Canada and the United States. Such a connection will be critical when the University of Tokyo provides the data analysis for CERN's upcoming Large Hadron Collider project.

In order to make the connection, the team had to interconnect optical lambdas between equipment from manufacturers ranging from Cisco Systems to Nortel and Foundry Networks. The successful test demonstrated the interoperability of 10GB Ethernet WAN PHY and optical SONET/SDH equipment from these suppliers.

The average transfer rate achieved between servers at the Data Reservoir at the University of Tokyo and CERN was 7.57 Gbps for a single TCP stream. The Data Reservoir also reached at 9 Gbps disk-to-disk transfer with nine Xeon servers at each end of the connection.

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