BIoT Canada

Canadian researchers break records for data transfer with newly established ‘light path’

TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, in partnership with Canarie Inc. and Atlas C...

October 1, 2002  

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TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, in partnership with Canarie Inc. and Atlas Canada, have successfully transferred a terabyte of research data at rates equivalent to a full DVD in less than one minute over a newly established “light path” extending 12,000 kilometres from Vancouver to Geneva.

“The ability to establish dedicated “light paths” across several networks is required for high-performance research applications and is expected to be a cornerstone of future commercial applications, including high definition
multimedia on demand,” said Bill St. Arnaud, senior director of network projects at Canarie Inc.

“The transfer of large quantities of data has been difficult in the past and the “light path” technology allows researchers around the world to share findings and data,” said Corrie Kost, TRIUMF project leader. “This project demonstrates that with “off the shelf” equipment, high speed data transfer can be the next-generation technology for commercial and research institutions.”

The demonstration, part of the iGRID 2002 conference held last week in Amsterdam, required dedicated portions of fibre-optic networks, spanning one province (BCnet) and two national research and education networks (CA*net 4 and SURFnet) to establish the on-demand private network. Experiments were also conducted on the DataTag link, a dedicated European-US research link between Chicago and CERN.

The project culminated in establishing the first large scale end-to-end “light path” to transfer a Terabyte of research data (equivalent to the amount of data on approximately 1500 CDs) from disk-to-disk at rates equivalent to a full CD in less than eight seconds (or a full length DVD movie in less than 1 minute).

Peak transfer rates in excess of 1 Gigabit/second were achieved, twice the previous known record for this distance, according to Canairie.

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