Shadow network hits speeds up to 100 times faster than Google Fiber

June 23, 2014
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What do you consider to be fast internet? 10 megabits per second? What about 100mbps? We’ve heard that LTE-A service in South Korea is pushing upwards of 400mbps, and that Google Fiber clocks in up to 1Gbps, but is that good enough? We are learning that certain government agencies have their hands on their own shadow network that is getting real world, cross country transfers up to 91Gbps.

The private pipeline is called ESNet, short for Energy Science Network, it is supervised by the US Department of Energy and is used by the likes of NASA and Science National labs. The network also juts out of the U.S. with pipes headed to international scientific locations, such as CERN.

Scientists and researchers at the various connected locations across the United States are using the network to transfer large files and data sets like genome sequences from the Human Genome Project and data from the large Hadron Collider.

ESnet US Shadow Network

Click image to enlarge

The U.S. shadow network is designed using mainly commercially available hardware. Although these guys are not in the business of providing internet to the masses, we can still think of them as guinea pigs. Someone has to make sure that 100Gbps is safe for home use, who knows what could go wrong with those sorts of speeds.

If the thought of 100Gbps internet speeds is exciting to you, then you’ll love that the same crew of researchers and hardware manufacturers are now working on attaining 400Gbps using the same basic infrastructure. I can only hope that the then deprecated 100Gbps hardware could find its way to an ISP near you, in the hopes of seeing faster and less expensive speeds hitting every home and mobile device across the globe.

100Gbps is a great network speed, but we have to wonder how long it will be before the average consumer actually needs these sorts of speeds. Let’s just say that you are the average consumer, what would you do with 100Gbps data speeds?

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