DOE plans ultrafast network

The Energy Department plans to build what will be the fastest telecommunications network in the government, capable of transmitting 1 trillion bits of data per second by 2004. The project would upgrade the existing Energy Sciences Network (ESNet) which connects more than four dozen DOE laboratories

The Energy Department plans to build what will be the fastest telecommunications network in the government, capable of transmitting 1 trillion bits of data per second by 2004.

The project would upgrade the existing Energy Sciences Network (ESNet) which connects more than four dozen DOE laboratories, contractors, other federal agencies, universities and research institutes, allowing scientists to share data, hold videoconferences, use DOE supercomputers and tap agency databases. Users outside DOE include NASA's Ames Research Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Among the first federal networks to employ Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) technology, ESNet was developed by Sprint Corp. under a $50 million contract awarded nearly five years ago. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which runs ESNet for DOE, expects to award a follow-on contract, dubbed ESNet 3, in October.

"This is very cool," said Bob Deutsch, federal engineering director with Cisco Systems Inc., which hopes to supply equipment to the winning vendor. "They're going where no man or network has gone before, as they've done several times in the past."

The pact, which also will include a testbed to experiment with new technology before deploying it, could drive improvements in telecommunications for the government and commercial markets, similar to the way the Sprint contract exposed the early bugs in ATM and hastened its deployment by telecommunications carriers.

Federal agencies have started to use ATM—a way of transmitting data in equal-size "packets" so that no one data file creates a network bottleneck—to use the same network to send e-mail, graphics and video files. "They're asking for that under our FTS 2001 contract," said Tony Bardo, executive director for civilian networks with MCI WorldCom. "It's not out of the realm of possibility" that agencies will need terabit/sec networks in the future as "applications continue to get increasingly bandwidth-hungry."

"Getting that first customer for that technology does tend to put it on the table as an offering for other agencies," said Warren Suss, a Jenkintown, Pa., consultant. "I'm sure that once whoever wins this comes up with some advanced high-bandwidth offerings they'll shop those around to other agencies."

Today ESNet, which supports scientific research at DOE, runs at a top speed of 155 megabits/sec, more than triple the speed of the commercial Internet backbone. DOE's demand for bandwidth is doubling every year, as scientific simulations get larger and researchers in multiple locations need to share files in real time.

"We need to be close enough to the bleeding edge to be effective but not so close as to negatively impact the research," said James Leighton, the ESNet project manager. "It is a fine line to walk." Achieving the speed that DOE wants requires two types of advances in networking technology, Deutsch said. Vendors have to figure out how to move data faster over fiber-optic lines as well as how to reduce the steps it takes to break up files into packets that are small enough to transmit.

MCI is a probable bidder for ESNet, along with other major national telecommunications carriers. However, Bardo would not directly confirm that the company had submitted a proposal. A Sprint spokesman said his company is not competing for the contract because it is focusing its efforts on developing new services rather than new transport technologies.

Meanwhile, an AT&T spokeswoman said the company would not discuss its interest in the procurement. Qwest Communications International Inc., which some industry observers also named as a potential bidder, did not return calls seeking comment.

The ESNet request for proposals does not ask the vendor to supply any specific technologies. "This time around, they gave industry a lot more flexibility in coming up with the design," Suss said. "They'll do better than they did [last time, when] they overspecified their requirements and forced industry into some technological solutions that were premature."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.