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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  June 1993, Week 2

COMMUNET June 1993, Week 2

Subject:

XUNET - Announcement

From:

Steve Cavrak <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Communet: Community and Civic Network Discussion List

Date:

Tue, 8 Jun 1993 18:15:00 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (113 lines)

Here's an example of the type of research, experimentation, and
development that is going on ... maybe this will end up in the next
Internet, maybe not.
 
(a) Steve
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 
FOR RELEASE JUNE 7, 1993
 
 
AT&T announces operation of high-speed ATM research network
over fully optical links
 
     BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- AT&T today announced a major step forward in
making the vision of a national information superhighway a reality.
It is now operating the nation's fastest wide area Asynchronous
Transfer Mode (ATM) network over fully optical links.  This research
network will help provide the knowledge leading to commercial ATM
networks that can transmit complex medical images across country,
permit multi-media conferences from the desk-top and bring the power
of super- computers, now available to a few, to many.
 
     AT&T has established a 500-mile fiber optic network that runs at
622 megabits per second between the University of Wisconsin at Madison
and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The new network
is an enhancement to AT&T's existing Experimental University Network
(XUNET), an ATM network that connects seven leading research
laboratories and universities and three AT&T switching sites
nationwide.
 
     At 622 megabits per second, the entire contents of the
Encyclopedia Britannica -- some 13 million words or 530 million bits
-- could be transmitted in less than one second.  Sending the same
amount of information from a home PC at the typical modem speed of
2400 baud, or 2.4 kilobits per second, would take more than two and
one-half days.
 
     ATM networks such as these will ultimately revolutionize people's
lives.  For example, high resolution images of complex medical data,
such as x-rays and scans, could be transmitted nearly instantaneously
from a remote hospital to a specialist located across the country or
anywhere in the world, saving precious diagnostic time.
 
     Designers will also be able to use their desktop workstations to
harness the power of remotely located super computers to build
conceptual three-dimensional product prototypes-- and view them from
every angle.
 
     Interactive multi-media audio, full-motion video and imaging
conferences will bring people from distant locations together as if
they were physically present in the same room.
 
     "Just a few years ago, the switching and transmission technology
used in this network didn't exist," said Erik Grimmelmann, AT&T
marketing director, National Information Infrastructure.  "We have
combined AT&T's expertise in ATM networks with its knowledge of
lightwave technology to demonstrate how ATM networks will bring new
capabilities to users."
 
     The new high-speed network between Madison and Urbana has
undergone operational testing and is currently active.  Work will
continue in the areas of supercomputing applications testing,
including real-time networking, multi-media and desktop video
conferencing.
 
     The new 622 Mbps ATM links will remain connected to the rest of
the XUNET, which uses ATM at 45 Mbps, through AT&T's XUNET
experimental ATM switch in Chicago.
 
     The XUNET network forms an integral part of the Blanca Gigabit
Testbed that is sponsored by the Corporation for National Research
Initiatives (CNRI), with funding for research provided by the National
Science Foundation and Advanced Research Projects Agency through a
cooperative agreement with CNRI. The network currently links the
University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, the University of California at Berkeley, Rutgers
University, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Sandia National Laboratory,
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and three AT&T network
switching sites.
 
        The fully optical network from Madison, Wis., to Urbana, Ill.
is connected through the AT&T XUNET testbed ATM switch in Chicago and
uses optical amplifiers rather than the regenerators typically used to
boost the signal.  With optical amplifiers, existing fibers can be
used to carry much higher speed signals simply by changing the
equipment at the ends; in contrast, each regenerator in the network
must be replaced in order to increase the operating speed.
 
        Regenerators convert the optical signal to an electrical
signal and only work at a specific bit rate; they must be replaced or
new fiber installed to increase the capacity of the network as demand
grows. In contrast, optical amplifiers boost the optical signal
directly and are therefore independent of bit rate.  Optical
amplifiers also permit longer transmission distances between the
points at which signals are amplified or regenerated, reducing
maintenance costs.
 
     In addition, the XUNET network takes advantage of wave division
multiplexing to greatly increase the capacity of existing fiber. Using
wave division multiplexers enables the Madison-Urbana portion to share
existing physical facilities with other traffic.
 
        Wave division multiplexers operate similarly to digital
multiplexers and allow different optical wavelengths to share the same
physical fiber optic line. This concept has significant implications
for the national information infrastructure because wave division
multiplexers will allow the creation of the infrastructure using
existing physical facilities.
 
 
                               ###

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