Tuesday, January 24, 2006

SURFnet6 launched

Yesterday the Dutch Minister Brinkhorst of Economic Affairs launched the new computer network SURFnet6. It is the most innovative network worldwide. It is the first hybrid network, consisting of a router network combined with an optical network.Surfnet6 is the first national (research) network designed as a hybrid network.

The network will connect connects 180 universities, research institutes and academies for professional education to one another as well as to the Internet and serve a total of 750.000 students and staff of Dutch institutes for higher education and research.

It is also an intelligent network. The normal traffic will be handled by the router network, while the bulky research data will be handled by the optical network with speeds of 10Gb. In the router network as we know it know the data are cut up into small packages and routed through the network. In scientific experiments amounts of data can be generated and might clog the network as the cutting up into small parcels does not work fast enough. In the optical network, light paths are constructed between computers over which those data can be transmitted without cutting up and interruption. The light path will be able to transport high definition quality video or data from astronomy research.

SURFnet6 will be used for scientific puposes, but also be part of public private experiments. In fact some High Definition TV projects have been done already experimentally. An upcoming HDTV project will be performed in the framework of the World Championship Soccer in Germany.

The network is unique in the world. It is also a link in many global networks such as NedLight, the internet link between Chicago and Amsterdam, but also part of a link between Vancouver (Nortel research labs) and Amsterdam. Also a link between Japan and the Netherlands is in operation. Last August a trila was held between Japan and the Netherlands demonstrating a live peformance of a violonist and a remore orchestra.Virtual reality gets more real.

In order to promote this new network in the academic institutes, an art campaign has been started. In 20 institutes light works have been installed imaging the the transport of data through light paths.


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