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Aqua Comms Enables the Next Generation of Scientific Research with New Subsea Route

From climate science to virtual reality to quantum physics, some of the world’s most important scientific research is supported by a private network known as the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). Connecting laboratories, academic institutions, and remote research resources, ESnet is a vital tool for scientific research in the US and around the world. This week, subsea network provider Aqua Comms announced an exciting new network build to enable ESnet to continue its crucial purpose into the future of scientific research.

An Inside Track to Innovation

Exclusively serving the needs of scientists, ESnet was built by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE) for the expressed purpose of enabling the use of scientific instruments, resources, and data across physical locations. Originally formed in 1986, the network has grown steadily from the start, with traffic doubling every year from 1990 to present, and the addition of four European connections in 2014. Today, the award-winning network includes over 60 sites, including 3 data centers, connecting more than 40 major research institutions. It’s also growing into a social network for the scientific community, hosting open-source networking software accessed by over a hundred additional non-DOE institutions and research workshops that reach nearly 40 countries.

ESnet has supported several prominent and important scientific projects over the past few years, including use of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Arecibo radio telescope, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, and even COVID research super-facilities like those run by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. ESnet’s European connection, in particular, has been especially valuable. For instance, Esnet supports the world’s most powerful particle accelerator—the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is housed by CERN, one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research. A full 25 percent of CERN’s data is analyzed State-side, enabled by ESnet’s underwater connections between Europe and the US. At present, much in the world of science passes through ESnet. 

Challenges and Solutions

ESnet, though, was at a crossroads. Equipment like telescopes, sensors, and detectors operate with more precision than ever, and supercomputers are processing faster than ever. The drastic increase in data volumes presented a significant challenge. In order to support the scientific applications of the future, they knew they would need increased bandwidth, higher performance, and lower latencies. Years in the making, DOE finalized the next generation of ESnet, known as ESnet6. ESnet6 features not only increased capacity, but smart software and greater flexibility.

When it came time to rebuild the New York-London route of ESnet, DOE turned to longtime partner Aqua Comms. As a leader in subsea connectivity, Aqua Comms owns and operates several transcontinental underwater communication cable systems, spanning from North America to Europe to the Middle East and Africa. Aqua Comms supplied ESnet with a brand new 400 GE circuit, a major upgrade from their previous 100GE. The new circuit will increase ESnet’s aggregate transatlantic bandwidth from 400 Gbps to 700 Gbps. The network route is also equipped with Ciena Geomesh Extreme capabilities, including advanced modem deployments and software capabilities. “We’re proud to be at the forefront of the technology supporting the needs of our customers with high-bandwidth, efficient network services,” says Aqua Comms CCO Chris Bayly. Together with Aqua Comms, the DOE can now ensure that the most sophisticated scientific equipment working on projects around topics like quantum computing, semiconductors, and microelectronics can be at their fastest while solving the problems of tomorrow.


Read the full press release here, or learn more about Aqua Comms here.


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