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June 24, 2005
Department of Energy Dramatically Increasing Bandwidth to Support Scientific Research Throughout San Francisco Region

BERKELEY, CA –The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science today (June 24, 2005) dedicated an innovative new network for scientific research at six DOE sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. By increasing bandwidth to these sites, DOE will help advance research in areas such as climate change, genetics, renewable energy, nanotechnology, national security, and basic science in physics and chemistry.

Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the Office of Science, launched the new network by connecting one of DOE’s most powerful supercomputers to the new network, which is part of DOE’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). The new metropolitan area network (MAN), will provide dual connectivity at 20 to 30 Gb/s (10 to 50 times the current site bandwidths, depending on the site using the ring) while reducing the overall cost. ESnet supports the large-scale science and large-scale collaborations of DOE’s Office of Science nationwide.

The MAN network architecture is an example of the nation’s leading physical sciences research agency adopting an approach that is faster, cheaper and better ‑ faster in that bandwidth will increase tenfold; cheaper in that the annual networking cost for the six DOE sites in Northern California will drop from $1.5 million to $500,000; and better as the new architecture improves reliability with redundant links.

The new architecture is designed to meet the increasing demand for network bandwidth and advanced network services as next-generation scientific instruments and supercomputers come on line.

“Scientists at our national laboratories need the best available technologies to conduct their world-class research," said Dr. Orbach. “This new network provides a necessary, cutting-edge resource for researchers as they seek to understand important subjects such as the development of sustainable energy sources as well as the creation and evolution of the universe."

Through a contract with Qwest Communications, the first of the ESnet’s MAN rings is now being phased into production and will dramatically increase bandwidth to the labs. The first MAN ring will be in the San Francisco Bay Area and will provide dual connectivity to six DOE sites – the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories/California – at substantially reduced cost. The MAN will also allow high-speed access to California’s higher education network (CENIC), NASA’s Ames Research Center and DOE’s R&D network, Ultra Science Net.

These sites are being connected to the MAN in stages, starting with SLAC, LLNL, and Sandia in early June and NERSC today. All sites are scheduled to be connected by September. The Bay Area MAN will connect the existing ESnet production backbone. The new architecture also forms the basis for advanced network services, such as guaranteed bandwidth virtual circuits. Such services are essential to support continuous science data analysis (e.g., from the CERN particle accelerator’s CMS and ATLAS high energy physics experiments in Switzerland) by thousands of U. S. scientists, and to support real-time interaction with on-line facilities, such as DOE’s Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and magnetic fusion experiments at General Atomics, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, and MIT.

ESnet is operated for DOE by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. To learn more, go to Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Learn more at