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Internet2 Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure Testbed Leads to Production Network Services

Posted on Jan 21, 2008 by Doug Howell
Tags: Dynamic Circuit Network, Internet2 Network, Network Infrastructure, Network Performance, Performance, Performance Tools

Testbed Cultivated New Dynamic Circuit Network Technologies

HONOLULU, HI. -- January 21, 2008 -- Internet2 today announced at the Winter ESCC/Internet2 Joint Techs Workshop that it will retire its Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) testbed which successfully supported the development of revolutionary new dynamic circuit network services and supporting technologies. These technologies serve as a foundation for dynamic circuit network capabilities, such as those deployed on the new nationwide Internet2 Network which supports hybrid networking that combines IP and circuit services.

“Hybrid networks, envisioned by the research and education advanced networking community, and now instantiated in the Internet2 Network, provide users with the best of both circuit and IP networking,” said Rick Summerhill, Internet2’s chief technology officer. “While IP provides shared capacity for high performance applications, the new circuit infrastructure allows users to dynamically provision dedicated circuits to support the most extreme applications, in addition to extending all the capabilities that HOPI provided and more for new network research."

The nationwide HOPI testbed, launched in 2004, allowed network researchers and scientists from around the world to experiment with a new hybrid network model that combines the best attributes of IP and optical networking into one robust infrastructure capable of supporting the exponential growth in bandwidth needs by the research and education community.

As a result of a partnership with industry leaders, together with government agencies and organizations from the research and education community, HOPI has supported development of important optical control plane and network performance technologies. These community-developed technologies are now being further refined, standardized, and adopted by regional and international research networks.

Partners in the deployment and operation of the HOPI testbed included: Force 10 Networks; Glimmerglass; HP; Indiana University; Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), a GigaPoP organization founded by Georgetown University, George Washington University, the University of Maryland, and Virginia Tech; and the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN).

Summerhill added, “We are grateful for the support and innovative development from our partners and members who participated in the HOPI project. The resulting technologies today play a critical role in the Internet2 Network and we believe will help support the widespread adoption of dynamically switched hybrid networks among the research community and eventually the commercial sector.”

In addition to supporting production services, the new Internet2 Network’s community-controlled optical infrastructure will be able to provide network researchers with facilities for future breakable testbed networks, and fundamental networking research.

Optical Control Plane Technologies

The ability to automatically provision optical circuits across multiple network administrative domains is a critical component to supporting dynamically switched networks. To do so, several “control plane” technologies needed to be developed to both manage and control switching across domains as well as to enable interoperability between optical platforms.

The HOPI initiative worked with the NSF-funded DRAGON (Dynamic Resource Allocation via GMPLS Optical Networks) project which included collaborators from MAX, University of Southern California (USC) Information Sciences Institute (ISI) East, and George Mason University, to deploy its control plane technology across the testbed. Utilizing new extensions of open-source GMPLS software, DRAGON allows the automated provisioning and tear down of circuits across network domains and supports appropriate authentication and authorization for access to these resources. Through this collaboration, the DRAGON project was also able to utilize the HOPI testbed to further refine and develop its technology on a nationwide and international scale.

In addition to facilitating the control of optical switching nodes between domains, ensuring interoperability of these platforms is also paramount for the deployment of dynamically switched networks. Utilizing HOPI and other international research networks, collaborators from the DICE (DANTE, Internet2, CANARIE, and ESnet) Control Plane working group, have developed the Inter-Domain Controller (IDC) protocol which is based on ESnet’s OSCARS technology. Deployed as a set of web services, IDC software ensures that networks with different equipment, network technology, and allocation models can work together seamlessly to set up optical circuits.

As a result of both the DRAGON and DICE collaborations, Internet2 has recently released an early version of a turn-key dynamic networking solution, called the “DCN Software Suite” which includes IDC software and a modified version of the DRAGON software. Easily deployed in campus, regional, or backbone environments, the DCN Software Suite seeks to facilitate the set-up of dynamic regional or campus networks as well as enable them to connect to dynamic backbone networks like the Internet2 and ESnet networks and the pan-European GEANT2 network.

Phoebus Hybrid Network Performance Framework

HOPI also provided a testbed for the development of new network performance technology called Phoebus which allows applications to seamlessly set up dynamic circuits regardless of the user’s edge network access method. Phoebus was developed by researchers at the University of Delaware in collaboration with Internet2 to provide a broader segment of users the ability to take immediate advantage of hybrid network infrastructures.

As a framework and protocol, Phoebus works to transparently split the end-to-end network path into distinct segments at specific adaption points. Phoebus then works to minimize performance issues by finding and creating the best network path for the specific application from each adaption point. Because of its architecture, and its ability to transparently authenticate and redirect the application to the circuit network via a Phoebus Gateway, many applications can begin to utilize Phoebus and dynamic circuit networks with no modification.

Today, Internet2 is deploying Phoebus technology in its IP router nodes and plans to continue deployment at its optical sites to facilitate greater adoption of circuit services among its members. Other research networks worldwide like ESnet, GEANT2, RNP (Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa) in Brazil, and GLORIAD (in partnership with KiSTi in Korea) are also working to further explore and implement the technology.

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Media Contact

Lauren Rotman
lauren@internet2.edu
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