Last week, the research group behind the Internet2 network announced that they were phasing out their existing Abilene network and replace it with something even faster.
The yet unmanned network which is expected to be launched by mid 2007 will pack new technologies that will allow data to be transmitted at 10 times the current speed.
This technological breakthrough has been made possible by allowing a single cable to transmit more than one colour or wavelength. The more colours the cable is capable of transporting, the faster it is. Internet2 is envisaged to have up to 80 available wavelengths by the time the project is completed, which will push the theoretical limit to a rather unbelievable 100GB per second. That's roughly equivalent to moving 20 DVDs per second.
Internet2 is actually a consortium which regroups more than 200 US based universities as well as secondary schools. While Internet2 is currently running on shared networks, Douglas Van Howeling, its CEO, has already announced that the 2007 move will see Internet2 get dedicated cabling.
The ability to shuttle huge amount of data around the globe is crucial to the ever growing scientific and academic community. It will be like gas that fills available space. No doubt the community will quickly find ways to use the available bandwidth and ask for more.