TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Poland Builds Europe's Largest Optical Research Network

Poland Builds Europe's Largest Optical Research Network

Marcus Didius Falco (
Sun, 31 Oct 2004 21:21:37 -0500

For more information on this item please visit the CANARIE CA*net 4
Optical Internet program web site at

[Excerpts from Lightwave article - BSA]

Once restricted by the bandwidth limitations of 622-Mbit/sec ATM
leased-line connections, Polish researchers today rely on the largest
scientific network ever deployed by a European country: PIONIER, the
Polish Optical Internet. When the final five of 21 academic MANs are
interconnected-scheduled to occur by the end of this year-PIONIER will
have reached 5,500 km of optical fiber, delivering 10 Gbits/sec of
networking power.

PIONIER supports transmission speeds up to 10 Gbits/sec across 2,600
km of optical fiber, making it the largest scientific network ever
deployed by a European country.

"PIONIER is not just a network; it's a complete development program,"
contends Artur Binczewski, manager of the network department of Poznan
Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC), which serves as PIONIER
research and development center for new-generation networks, grids, and
portals. "The long-term purpose was to facilitate the ongoing development
of the information society in Poland, and PIONIER has provided us with the
robust, flexible network architecture necessary to enable this vision."

As part of the GANT vision of a multigigabit pan-European network,
PIONIER is being linked with neighboring national research and education
networks (NRENs). Connections into the Czech Republic, Germany, and
Slovakia will bring Poland into an e-region, and through the Porta
Optica project the network will be expanded to Poland's eastern

Even in this nascent stage in the network's overall development, Polish
science has benefited from PIONIER's capabilities. In interferometry,
astronomers link data gathered by multiple radio telescopes to create
space images of tremendous expanse and resolution. A very long baseline
interferometry (VLBI) radio telescope can generate more than 1 Gbit/sec of
traffic during a single session. Before deployment of the PIONIER network,
VLBI radio-telescope data had to be stored on magnetic tape and shipped to
central correlators abroad to give Polish astronomers usable images. Using
PIONIER's 10-Gbit/sec capacity, VLBI radio-telescope data can be carried
across the network, cutting cycle times and costs for agencies.

While it was being determined what equipment would light PIONIER, PSNC
was acquiring rights of way along public roads, railway tracks, and
power distribution lines and installing optical fiber across
Poland. "We knew national deployment would be the big step," explains
Maciej Stroinski, technical director at PSNC, "but what we wanted to
achieve, we've achieved."

Bill St. Arnaud
Senior Director Network Projects
+1 613 944-5603

John F. McMullen

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