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CENIC Completes 100-Gig Upgrade of CalREN NetworkAn upgrade to the main data pipe supporting the California Research & Education Network (CalREN) has been completed, boosting network speed for education communities that use the system to 100 Gigabits per second.


As a member of the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), which operates CalREN, the California Community Colleges (CCC) already has big plans to take advantage of the speedier network. With several initiatives underway to support the state’s online education goals, the CCC expects to introduce new applications in the coming year that will put heavy demand on campus networks.

“Our college system is harnessing the power of the Internet to offer more online courses and readily accessible academic planning services to increase success rates,” said CCC Chancellor Brice Harris. “These tools could not be offered without blazing-fast Internet speeds, something that CENIC is committed to providing on behalf of our students.”

'Constant State Of Accelerating Growth'

Nearly 10,000 sites are connected to CalREN, with 11 million users every day. The upgrade will enable these users to create and engage in even more advanced and innovative teaching and learning methods, as well as cutting-edge global research in a large and ever-increasing variety of network-dependent disciplines.

In particular, California’s research universities, including the 10 campuses of the University of California (UC), the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University will be able to take advantage of 100-Gigabit connections from their campus research networks into CalREN.

“As with many advanced networks, CalREN backbone traffic is in a constant state of accelerating growth, and we’re always heartened by this since it means that the network is doing the job it was designed to do: encourage innovation of all kinds,” said CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox. “This makes ongoing network upgrades like this absolutely critical to the continued health of California’s spirit of innovation.

“Not only that, but CENIC is in the process of reaching out to entire new segments of statewide education, such as public libraries and arts and cultural institutions, which will spur even greater demands,” Fox said.

Traffic Demands Doubled In 2013

CENIC saw CalREN traffic nearly double in the first months of 2013 to 18 Petabytes in February 2013, a 99.1% growth rate over February 2012. The growth rate from January 2012 to January 2013 was similar, at 93%.

CalREN is a 3,800-mile fiber-based advanced network serving California’s research and education communities, including the K-12, CCC, California State University and UC systems, as well as many private universities.

CalREN consists of three separate tiers, each optimized to serve a specific set of research and education needs: daily network use like email and web browsing (CalREN-DC), high-performance research (CalREN-HPR), and network-based experimentation and development (CalREN-XD). The just-upgraded 100-Gigabit Layer 2 backbone serves the first two tiers and the increasing demand being placed on them by researchers in data-intensive disciplines, ongoing connectivity upgrades for CENIC members and connectivity for new members, such as public libraries and arts and cultural institutions.

Janis Cortese is Manager of Publicity and Communications for CENIC.