National LambdaRail

NLR Blog

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.