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ORION launches 100G operational network in Canada


October 8, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

October 8, 2010

ORION—Ontario’s advanced research and education (R&E) network—announced the first phase of a major technology upgrade, making it the first, it claims, to deploy a 100G operational network in Canada, and the first R&E network in the world to deploy a 100G production network to support research and education. ORION selected Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Canada to provide the project’s next-generation optical transport and routing equipment.

“The upgrade means that Ontario is leapfrogging from a 10G backbone to
100G capacity in key parts of the network,” said Dr. Darin Graham, ORION
president and CEO. “Moving to 100G is a generational leap in
capabilities and a significant technological milestone. It helps move
Ontario to the head of the pack in terms of having an extraordinary
backbone in place to support new and innovative ways of enabling
advanced research, innovation and scientific discovery.”

The $6.5-million project is made possible with a contribution of $4.8
million from CANARIE (Canada’s advanced research and innovation network)
and a further $1.7 million investment from ORION.

“We are proud to partner with ORION to help build on Canada’s
innovation-building capacity, and to jointly enable the first 100G
production network,” said CANARIE president and CEO Jim Roche. “CANARIE
has had 100G capacity in the eastern and western ROADM networks since
2006. CANARIE will be demonstrating how this capacity can be fully
leveraged by stakeholders in the research, innovation and education
communities in the coming weeks.”

For ORION, the project is a first phase of a major upgrade of the entire
network infrastructure, which spans the province along more than 5800
km of fiber. It’s part of ORION’s strategy to build on the network
foundation as Ontario’s enabling innovation backbone, with greater
capacity to support research and commercialization, advanced teaching
and learning, public and private sectors partnerships and global-scale
science and research collaborations.

The project involves significant changes to the network’s core
architecture and the replacement of routing and optical transport
equipment in most of ORION’s physical connections points. It introduces
new features, including enhanced support for IPv6, MPLS, QoS and
enhanced traffic engineering.

The new capacity will also help address explosive growth in the usage of
the network. ORION reports a 40% spike in total backbone traffic in the
last year alone.

Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Canada submitted successful bids for the
project. Alcatel-Lucent technology was selected for optical transport,
an undertaking involving upgrades to 33 ORION network connection points
across the province. The project will incorporate Cisco’s routing
technology to deliver video-rich content and support new technologies
and applications.

The project, now in its deployment phase, will be completed Spring 2011.

CLICK HERE for ORION.