South Africa’s high-speed network for research impresses with data transfer rates of one terabyte in three minutes

In response to the need to move large datasets at high speed, specifically for data-intensive research, the South Africa National Research Network (SANReN) implemented a backbone network with 100 Gbps capacity and 100 Gbps data transfer nodes in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Using this backbone, a record data transfer result of one terabyte in three minutes was achieved between Johannesburg and Colorado in the United States of America (USA).

Moving large amounts of data poses a significant challenge. Networks optimised for business operations are typically neither designed nor capable of meeting the data movement requirements of data-intensive research. When scientists attempt to run data-intensive applications over these general-purpose or enterprise networks, poor results are achieved. This poor performance significantly impacts the scientific mission, leading to challenges such as not receiving data on time or resorting to drastic measures like physically shipping disks.

The CSIR, through SANReN, increased network capacity and associated data transfer services facilitate the movement of large datasets by South African researchers and scientists.

The power of the 100 Gbps international link over the South Atlantic Cable System between South Africa and the USA was demonstrated using the new SANReN 100 Gbps data transfer nodes at the Supercomputing 2023 conference in Colorado. The link capacity was filled to 98% and the demonstration group achieved almost three terabytes per second in data transmission between the conference venue and points in the USA, Brazil and South Africa.

Photo 1: Graph showing filling of Amlight 100Gbps link

Photo 2: Amlight_Exp links that were demonstrated, covering three continents