NEW YORK – By sending data using different colors of light, operators of the ultrahigh-speed Internet2 network are hoping to boost capacity by as much as 80-fold to enable researchers to connect telescopes around the world and perform other bandwidth-intensive tasks.
The new network should be in place by fall 2007, said Douglas Van Houweling, Internet2’s chief executive.
He announced the plans this week as researchers set a new networking speed record – 8.8 gigabits per second, nearing the Internet2’s current theoretical limit of 10 Gbps, which is thousands of times faster than standard home broadband connections.
“We have applications now that need more than 10 gigabits of capacity,” Van Houweling said by phone Wednesday from the nonprofit Internet2 consortium’s twice-annual meeting in Arlington, Va.
The Internet2 network, which parallels the regular Internet to let universities, corporations and researchers share large amounts of information in real time, currently uses shared fiber-optic cables run by Qwest Communications International Inc.
In the new network, Internet2 will have the cables all to itself. Operators will initially be able to transmit data using 10 colors, or wavelengths, of light over a single cable, giving the network a capacity of 100 Gbps. Eventually, Internet2 hopes to transmit on 80 wavelengths.
Although the ability to send data using multiple wavelengths isn’t new, Van Houweling said Internet2 will be deploying new circuits that can each interpret all 10 wavelengths.
With the 10-fold increase, a high-quality movie could be sent in a few seconds.