First Internet2 Next Generation Infrastructure 800G Single-carrier Link Online; Long-haul, Flex-grid Deployment Complete

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

By Chris Wilkinson, Network Services Director of Planning and Architecture

Internet2 today deployed its first 800 Gbps single-carrier optical circuit between Phoenix and Tucson as part of its Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) program. This circuit leverages a 102 Ghz carrier generated by a single Ciena Waveserver 5 transponder at each endpoint. This milestone marks the first 800G native link to be deployed by a US research and education network.

Optical Power Spectrum graphic
102 Ghz channel as viewed from the Ciena 6500 flex-grid platform

PTP status code
Sample of line characteristics displayed by one of the WaveLogic 5 transponders on the 800G link

Delivery of this link is the culmination of an intense effort to upgrade Internet2’s nationwide Ciena 6500 platform and underlying fiber optic cable. This work has been underway since 2019, but has accelerated substantially since Fall 2020. 

On February 25, 2021, the Internet2 project team completed the upgrade of all Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) to flex spectrum on all east-west long-haul routes nationwide. Additionally, the majority of the fiber was upgraded from LEAF to SMF28 to better match the coherent transmission technologies being used to convey the new 800 Gbps link.

Flex-grid ROADM and fiber route upgrade status as of February 25. Red segments and sites have been upgraded. Black segments are additional route upgrades being made as fiber becomes available. 

Internet2 plans to rapidly expand its 400G and 800G transmission capabilities along these newly flex-grid enabled routes; more link capacity will come online as our phase 2 hardware deployment team (GDT) continues to move across the country. This team is deploying the Cisco 8200 and Waveserver 5 platform with completion targeted in March of this year.

Cisco 8200 and Ciena WaveServer 5 deployment status as of February 26.
Cisco 8200 and Ciena Waveserver 5 deployment status as of February 26. Red sites have been visited by the install team.

The successful deployment of this initial 800 Gbps link is the culmination of thousands of hours of effort from both the Internet2 community and teams in many organizations, including Internet2, GlobalNOC at Indiana University, Ciena, Lumen, and GDT.