Until recently, Internet2 had a theoretical limit of 10 gigabits per second, but now, by sending data using 10 different colors of light over a single cable, operators are boosting the network's capacity to 100 Gbps. "It's now possible for a single computer to have a 10 gigabit connection and we needed to have a way of making sure that those kinds of demanding applications could be served at the same time as all the normal uses," said Internet2's chief executive, Doug Van Houweling. An institution typically has one 10 Gbps connection to the 100 Gbps Internet2 backbone for normal Internet usage, along with a second 10 Gbps connection it can tap on demand for specific needs, said Van Houweling.
The new Internet2 network was largely completed in late August, and its operators this week made it possible for researchers to temporarily grab an entire 10 Gbps chunk for specific applications, so that they don't slow down normal Internet operations. The Internet2 network, run by Level 3 Communications Incorporated, parallels the regular Internet to let universities, corporations and researchers share large amounts of information in real time.
Internet2 is already planning future expansion: by adding certain equipment the network can easily boost capacity another fourfold to 400 Gbps — something likely to begin in 12 to 18 months.
News source: MSNBC