EU researchers using the GEANT network will be able to access capacity of up to 2 terabits per second.
GEANT is the superfast pan-European research network that helped discover the Higgs Boson particle at the CERN Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. It was also the only internet connection to Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring revolution in 2011, according to the European Commission.
The upgrade to the network began in September 2012 and was coordinated by DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe), which leads the project consortium of 41 partners.
Using the Infinera DTN-X optical transmission platform deployed on the GEANT backbone - comprising 8,592 kilometres of fibre - and 35 Juniper MX series universal routers, testers were able to activate 2T bps of long-haul superchannel optical capacity in June. The test route was between Amsterdam and Frankfurt, as this was deemed to be one of the busiest in Europe.
This superchannel is now permanently available to users of Europe's National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), including 32,000 universities, 22,000 primary and secondary schools, research institutes, libraries, museums, national archives and hospitals. This will allow data transfer at speeds of up to 100G bps throughout the core GEANT network. The 24 European points of presence can be configured statically or dynamically, offering bandwidth on demand.
Speeds like this will enable faster collaboration on research projects and meet the increasing demand for data transfer capacity. The amount of data that needs to be distributed, analysed, stored and accessed is increasing exponentially as more global research projects come online, according to the Commission, which has to date provided €307.8 million (£269 million) in funding for the GEANT network.
"We need high speed and high capacity to keep in the global research race. The data side of the research equation is almost as important as the research itself today," said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. "With this upgrade, this project is essentially future proofing GÉANT until 2020," she said.