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Julie Wernert
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Last modified: Monday, November 23, 2009

IU receives NSF grant to lead campus trials of future research network

November 23, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has been chosen by the National Science Foundation to help develop the Internet of the future. Under the grant, IU will explore the operation and deployment of the NSF-sponsored infrastructure for network research known as GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations). This award follows an earlier NSF grant to IU to construct an experimental supercomputing network called FutureGrid, which will enable new approaches to scientific research.

Developing future Internet technologies requires experiments that run on extremely large scales to replicate the behavior of today's Internet. The Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center (IU Global NOC) is the recipient of the $300,000 NSF grant to explore GENI using OpenFlow software. The Global NOC is known for its expertise in operating and managing large-scale research and education networks. Principal Investigator Chris Small, IU Global NOC network and system engineer, will lead the IU enterprise GENI campus trials.

"IU's experience in large-scale research networks in the US and beyond make it an ideal home for this part of GENI's work on the future of advanced networks," said Brad Wheeler, vice president for information technology and CIO at Indiana University. "In the past 12 months, the IU Global NOC has been awarded, or been a partner in, four GENI proposals bringing over $1.1 million in funding to Indiana University."

The campus trial will focus on operations, dynamic provisioning, and distributed monitoring. The Global NOC will develop tools and procedures to integrate OpenFlow-enabled networks into existing campus operations. OpenFlow software makes it possible to conduct experiments on hardware already deployed in IU campus networks. In connection with other university campus trials, experiments in new network protocols and applications can run at scales not previously possible.

"Enterprise GENI and the OpenFlow software will allow innovation to happen in the wiring closets in every building on campus," said Chris Small. "The campus trials will create the unique opportunity for experiments to run end-to-end, not only in wide area networks but in campus networks as well. The Enterprise GENI campus trial will also explore ways to deploy distributed measurement infrastructure for managing networks and research uses such as security."

Dynamic provisioning software such as Sherpa -- developed by the Global NOC and used to provision circuits on the National LambdaRail (NLR) network -- will be integrated to provide end-to-end connectivity.

The Global NOC will work very closely with researchers at Indiana University and other institutions to deploy experiments on OpenFlow testbeds and production networks.

About the IU Global NOC

The Global Research Network Operations Center (Global NOC) at Indiana University is a premier provider of highly responsive network coordination, engineering, and installation services that support the advancement of Research and Education networking.

From its support of the Internet2 Network, to National LambdaRail's FrameNet and PacketNet, to the IPGrid optical network, the IU Global NOC has become an unrivaled provider of 24x7x365 expert support for the most advanced research networks in the country. See

About GENI

The Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) is an experimental network research infrastructure sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This suite will support a wide range of network science and engineering experiments such as new protocols and data dissemination techniques running over a substantial fiber optic infrastructure with next-generation optical switches, novel high-speed routers, citywide experimental urban radio networks, high-end computational clusters, and sensor grids. All infrastructures will be shared among a large number of individual, simultaneous experiments with extensive instrumentation that makes it easy to collect, analyze, and share real measurements. See