Ciena, a network specialist, and RENATER, the French national telecommunications network for technology education and research, today announced the successful completion of a next-generation 100 Gigabit per second (Gb/s) network trial connecting the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva and the IN2P3 Computing Centre in Lyon, a distance of 220 km. Based on Ciena’s ActivFlex 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, the 100G solution supplements the capabilities of RENATER’s existing fibre-optic network and considerably expands its capacity – helping meet researchers’ ever-increasing demand for bandwidth while protecting past investments.

RENATER connects more than 1,000 education and research sites in metropolitan France and overseas departments and territories via GÉANT, the main pan-European network for research and education. It facilitates collaboration between French researchers and their peers worldwide, forming a valuable tool for research and education. During the trial, RENATER successfully transmitted data belonging to the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), a large-scale global collaboration of grid infrastructures and computer centres dedicated to the advancement of the Large Hadron Collider project.  More than a petabyte of data was transmitted during the trial - equivalent to the content of 212,000 DVDs, a stack the height of the Eiffel Tower - at an average speed of 96 Gb/s.

“Researchers and educators work best in collaboration and need high-capacity and flexible networks to support their projects. Ciena’s 100G technology can catalyze innovation in this sector by connecting the best minds – and their data –faster than ever before. The Ciena team is thrilled that our own technology breakthroughs, including the world’s first 100G coherent optics, can help advance the world-changing discoveries of the scientific community,” said Eric Sele, vice president and regional managing director, South and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Ciena.

The Ciena 100G coherent technology trialed in RENATER’s network is capable of delivering a total throughput of 8.8 Terabits per second on a single strand of optical fibre. It is based on Ciena’s ActivFlex 6500 platform and its proven Adaptive Optical Engine technology, which enables simple upgrades from existing 10G or 40G networks to allow research organizations to gradually scale their networks as their bandwidth requirements grow. Ciena’s 100G coherent capability can be deployed over Ciena’s ActivSpan Common Photonic Layer, a compact, low cost and easy-to-engineer line system. It can also be deployed over third-party amplifier chains to protect past investments.

According to Dany Vandromme, director of RENATER, "This trial demonstrates the maturity of Ciena’s 100G solution and validates its capability to enable very high transmission rates. The ease and simplicity of deploying this type of technology empowers research bodies and opens the doors to new models and theories – especially in the field of high energy physics, where experiments involve large volumes of data.”

The 100G trial took place in early December 2010 and allowed for comprehensive tests of all equipment involved. A second phase of tests, validating the trial results in a multi-vendor environment with a 100G signal sent as an ‘alien wavelength’ over existing compensated line infrastructure, was performed over the Lyon-Dijon link (280 km).

Ciena's ActivFlex 6500 platform supports both 100G and 40G coherent transmission and is the first system to offer both coherent 40G and 100G commercially.

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