ESnet5 is well on its way to entering production

In mid-July we began activating the 100 gigabit-per-second optical waves needed to deploy the new nationwide ESnet5 backbone into production by the end of November.  We are thrilled to announce that all of the waves have been brought up successfully as of October 23.  In parallel with this work, ESnet engineers have successfully tested the new network using a clever “snake test” wherein a path is provisioned through the entire network and traffic is generated and received by test equipment, looking for errors and packet loss. The details of this test will be described in a separate blog, so stay tuned.


Our engineers’ attention has turned to provisioning the routing infrastructure in preparation for moving traffic from the old ESnet4 network to the new 100G-enabled network.  With the new infrastructure tested and ready to go, we are beginning the final phase of the transition which will continue through the third week in November.  During that time, our engineers are changing routing metrics to prefer the new network in a phased manner, taking care to make sure no loops or bottlenecks are created.  Greg Bell, ESnet’s Director, has likened the transition to changing engines between cars while they’re speeding down the highway.  Of course we aim to do so without interruption while continuing to provide excellent service. Once that phase has been completed and traffic is running on the new 100G production core network, our focus will change to the remaining work, which is to remove the ESnet4 links and decommission it – ending an era that served science well and beginning the era of the network as a scientific instrument.

– Mike Bennett, ESnet Network Engineering Services Group Lead

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