U.S. city gets one of the world's fastest networks... for a week

Lucky Salt Lake. The annual conference of Super Computing is bringing 800Gbps of bandwidth with it to the mid-size Utah city.

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Eric Mack
2 min read
The Salt Palace hosts one of the world's most powerful networks starting today. Dana Sohm/Visit Salt Lake

This weekend and next week in Salt Lake City's Salt Palace Convention Center, there are likely to be more gigabits flying around, and at a faster amount per second, than just about anywhere else on the continent.

That's where a cadre of volunteers from top universities, government labs, and industry have put together a sort of dream network for this year's SC2012 Super Computing conference, beginning today in Utah. Using multiple 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) and 100Gbps circuits, SCinet links the convention center to other powerful networks around the world, including the Department of Energy's ESnet, Internet2, and National LambdaRail.

To set up the super network, SCinet teamed with the Utah Education Network and the University of Utah to acquire access to miles of fiber optic cable in the Salt Lake metro area and into the Salt Palace.

While a wireless network for the conference will be one of SCinet's uses, part of that massive pipe will also be set aside for the SCinet Research Sandbox (SRS), which "provides a unique opportunity for researchers to showcase disruptive network research using emerging technologies like 100Gbps circuits as well as OpenFlow technology," according to a release from the conference.

Altogether, SCinet will deliver nearly 800Gbps in total capacity for the duration of the week-long conference. Then it will be deconstructed, leaving attendees in a state of major bandwidth withdrawal. Sorry Salt Lake, but you should probably disconnect and get outside anyway -- ski season is right around the corner.