National LambdaRail

NLR Blog

Thursday, January 31, 2008

FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Project Service Provider Conference Call

Hold the date.

The USAC folks have scheduled a service provider conference call for Thursday, February 7 at 2 pm Eastern time. Details will be posted here when available.

This call is for service providers who might want to bid on the Rural Health Care projects. Services such as network design, network management, and circuit provisioning will be discussed.

A Blueprint for Big Broadband

Our friends at Educause rescently released a new paper entitled "A Blueprint for Big Broadband." Why should you care, you ask? Because universities are still leading the way in deploying and utilizing broadband through local, regional, national and international networks to support their local communities of students, faculty and staff. AND universities are training the next generation of workers who will demand, build and support big broadband.

This report proposes bringing the federal government, state governments, and the private sector together as part of a new approach to making high-speed Internet services available across the country. The report also contains a detailed analysis of broadband deployment in the United States and in key countries around the world.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Calit2 and University of Melbourne Initiate Australia's Ultra-Resolution Global Collaboration Laboratory

[Ed Note: a great example of an application utilizing the network capabilities of regional, national, and international optical networks.]

Bringing the OptIPortal and gigabit/s super-broadband networking together is the cutting-edge expertise of two of the world’s leading telecommunications research units: the University of Melbourne School of Engineering’s Centre for Ultra Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN), and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a UCSD/UC Irvine partnership.

The link-up was made possible by use of the high-capacity backbone of AARNet, Australia’s academic and research network, with a connection to the U.S. West Coast using SXTransPORT on the Southern Cross Cable Network to the Calit2 network in San Diego via Pacific Wave and CENIC.

Calit2 Director Larry Smarr notes that today’s demonstration marks the entry of Australia into the growing OptIPlanet Collaboratory, enabling innovators around the world to work together on major data-intensive scientific, medical, and environmental challlenges: “Based on today’s success, we will connect other Australian universities with universities in the United States and around the world using these advanced technologies in 2008.”

For the full article, visit
Friday, January 25, 2008

NIST Publishes a Draft IPv6 Profile in the U.S. Government

On January 23, 2008, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released a draft of its document "A Profile for IPv6 in the U.S. Government - Version 1.0." It defines a standards profile for IPv6 in the US Government for non-classified, non-national security federal IT systems. In particular, "This standards profile is meant to: (a) define a simple taxonomy of common network devices; (b) define their minimal mandatory IPv6 capabilities and identify significant configuration options so as to assist agencies in the development of more specific acquisition and deployment plans; and, (c) provide the basis to further define the technical meaning of specific USG policies." Check it out at
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

GRNOC Real-time Atlas

The Indiana GRNOC announced the availability of its new Real-time Atlas. The Atlas marries network visualization with real-time telemetry. You can use the Atlas at Both the NLR FrameNet and PacketNet maps are available.You can find more details in this PDF presentation:

SANRAD Delivers Disaster Recovery

The Northwest Regional Data Center (NWRDC),Florida's leading
computing data center for educational and governmental communities,
has deployed six SANRAD V-Switches to manage growing volumes of
archived data and protect against loss.

NWRDC provides data security, accessibility and connectivity
services to more than 80 Florida-based customers, including K-20
educational facilities, major research universities and local
governments. With a growing customer base and increasing amounts of
data to protect, NWRDC was facing a mounting disaster recovery risk
and dealing with a manual off-site storage process for archive tapes
that was cumbersome and difficult to manage. The NWRDC solution
connects the organization's mainframe system to a pair of SANRAD
V-Switches, which transfer data via the Florida Lambda Rail and
Southern Light Rail dark fiber networks to a Category 5 hot site in
Atlanta. There, NWRDC's data is securely housed and easily recovered
in the event of downtime or disaster.

See the entire release at
Monday, January 21, 2008

NLR Update at Joint Techs

John Silvester gave an update of NLR activities at the Joint Techs workshop. You can find his slides in both Powerpoint and HTML format at

Highlights include:
Lighting of the Boston node
Cisco Telepresence support hardware available for use
Availability of dynamic VLAN provisioning
Friday, January 18, 2008

Peering with the National University of Singapore

NLR is pleased to announce that the National University of Singapore (AS7610) has brought up IPv4 unicast peering with NLR Packetnet through PacWave in Los Angeles. You can see them at Welcome!

Science and Engineering Indicators 2008

The National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 is now available online. The report presents information on science, mathematics, and engineering education at all levels; the scientific and engineering workforce; U.S. and international research and development performance and competitiveness in high technology; and public attitudes and understanding of science and engineering.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MIT Launches Regional Optical Network

By Mark Silis

It's huge and it's fast and it's just been unleashed. The new MIT Regional Optical Network provides connectivity to key Internet exchange points with speeds beyond 10 Gbps, the equivalent of transmitting 10 full-length, high-definition movies in 30 seconds. This all-optical intelligent network is one of the world's largest institutional networks for research and collaboration.

IS&T partnered with Nortel to create this next-generation network, acquiring already-laid fiber-optic lines (“dark fiber”) from Level 3 Communications and Vermont Telephone. The network is designed to accommodate faster technologies and upgrades as they become available. Initially, it is being deployed across the northeast United States, connecting MIT's main campus to New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore via 1500 miles of fiber, with optical equipment at seventeen locations across seven states. Plans include linking to LHCnet, the research network maintained by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet); and the National LambdaRail. All are comprised of millions of network elements.

Diagram of MIT Ring Design

Regional Map Image

Tech Specs
IS&T's ultimate objective is to help create the fastest and most flexible network possible, one with the potential to revolutionize education, collaboration, and the sharing of research. The solution is built on Nortel's Common Photonic Layer (CPL). CPL provides for rapid provisioning of changing service and traffic patterns across the network. The CPL, combined with the Nortel Optical Multiservice Edge 6500, enables the flexibility to add a multitude of network services across the 10G infrastructure as required.


Conrad named vice chancellor for information technology, chief information officer

Larry D. Conrad, associate vice president for technology integration and chief information officer at Florida State University, has been named the new vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The UNC Board of Trustees approved Conrad’s appointment, effective Feb. 1, 2008. Conrad will succeed Dan Reed, who became director of scalable computing at Microsoft Research earlier this month.

Conrad led the effort to define and build a new high-speed research and education network in Florida known as the Florida LambdaRail, which provides opportunities for Florida university faculty, researchers and students to collaborate with colleagues worldwide.

In addition, he previously served on the board of the National LambdaRail, a nationwide high-speed research network initiative.

For the full press release, visit
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Program Website is Up

The Federal Communications Commission dedicated over $417 million for its Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP) November 19, 2007 for the construction of 69 statewide or regional broadband telehealth networks in 42 states and three U.S. territories.

You can find everything you need for the RHCPP at their new website. USAC (Universal Service Administrative Company) will provide the selected participants with guidance on the process to receive funding, how to fill out the proper forms, and other program related information.

Check it out at
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

TeraGrid-II: a vision toward the 21st century integrated knowledge infrastructure

An interesting article in Human Sciences Weekly...

Knowledge in the twenty-first century is profoundly determined by the convergence of multiple disciplines and approaches for problem solving. Collaboration is required to help not only improve but understand intersections in scientific endeavor while creating a common language that permits close interaction among researchers, administrative personnel, and society in general. Creation of new knowledge –the expected outcome at the end of the line in Science– is a process that requires infrastructure to support information exchange, analysis, and representation as well as collaborations. The Grid in the latter sense has become an essential fabric for that Cyberinfrastructure: it attempts to provide coordination of computing infrastructure in a seamless way with increasing efficacy while considering security, privacy and efficiency following the metaphor of the electric power grid where users connect as long as the meet the technical specifications3."

To read more visit
Friday, January 11, 2008

FCC Rural Health Pilot Program Update

On Tuesday, September 26, 2006, the Federal Communications Commission announced the establishment of a pilot program to help public and non-profit health care providers build state and region-wide broadband networks dedicated to the provision of health care services, and connect those networks to Internet2 or National LambdaRail. The pilot program will fund up to 85% of the costs incurred to deploy state or regional broadband networks dedicated to health care and up to 85% of the costs of connecting the regional and/or statewide to Internet2 or National LambdaRail.

All service providers (including RONs) that wish to participate in the Rural Health Care Program must have a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) issued by USAC.

The Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) is a unique number assigned to each service provider by USAC. The SPIN serves as USAC's tool to ensure that support is directed to the correct service provider. Once USAC establishes the SPIN, the service provider's name, contact information, and SPIN are forwarded to USAC to confirm eligibility.

For more information about obtaining a SPIN, call USAC's Client Services Bureau at 1-888-641-8722 or visit the USAC website at
Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Downloadable Map and Regional Contacts List

A downloadable map combined with a list of NLR member contacts is now available on the NLR website. This new version of the map shows the Regional Optical NLR member that serves each state and includes a contact person for the member. Questions regarding regional connectivity options can be addressed with these contacts.

The map is formatted to conveniently be printed on one 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper.

NLR connectivity is easy. NLR provides a variety of national backbone options. An NLR member or associate organization coordinates the regional networking components. An individual institution coordinates a local campus connection.
Friday, January 4, 2008

Joint Techs Workshops in January

Today is the last day for early registration for the Winter 2008 Joint Techs workshops in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 20 through the 24th.

Joint Techs Workshops are an international conference of networking engineers featuring presentations, Birds-of-a-Feather meetings and demonstrations of state-of-the-art high-performance networking technologies. The Winter 2008 Joint Techs will focus on Hybrid Networking, The Coming Crisis in Routing and Addressing, and Security.
Thursday, January 3, 2008

NLR Weathermaps

Did you ever wonder what was going on in your part of the National LambdaRail? Wonder no more by accessing the Weathernaps on the NLR Network Operations site.

Click on the Weathermap under the different NLR services -- Wavenet, Framenet and Packetnet to see traffic levels.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

'Shot in the Dark' Star Explosion Stuns Astronomers

[A great example of how research networking plays a key role in real science.]

'Shot in the Dark' Star Explosion Stuns Astronomers

By W. Scott Kardel, Public Affairs Coordinator, Palomar Observatory

Last January, NASA's Swift satellite detected another gamma-ray burst and quickly sent its alert to ground-based astronomers. Palomar Observatory's 60-inch telescope was one of the first to respond. The 60-inch, and indeed the entire observatory, is linked into the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN). HPWREN enabled the message from Swift to be received, allowing the automated 60-inch telescope to quickly measure the fast-fading visible-light afterglow of the GRB. Data was then sent away from Palomar. Measurements prompted observations with the giant 8-meter Gemini North telescope and the 10-meter Keck I telescope. From this astronomers were able to determine the distance to the GRB - 9.4 billion light-years distant. The burst are short lived. Without the rapid transfer of data in and out from Palomar the response to the burst wouldn't be possible.


Image credit: B. Cenko, et al. and the W. M. Keck Observatory.

Measurements indicated that this burst was likely produced by the collapse and explosion of a massive star. These stars "live fast and die young" and are expected to be found in a galaxy where new stars are being produced, yet deep images from Keck failed to find any signs of a galaxy. This means there shouldn't have been that type of star there.

So where did this burst come from? Maybe a faint tidal tail, produced as galaxies collide, is lurking too faint for even Keck to see. Maybe our understanding of this type of GRB is flawed. Deep searches with the Hubble Space Telescope hope to answer the question soon. Stay tuned.

The full story is at: