Advanced Networking Services Facilities

iCAIR directly manages multiple networking facilities and participates in the management of many additional networking facilities and testbeds that support network research and experimentation including:

  • Early basic research and development (R&D)
  • "Proof-of-concept" experiments
  • Preliminary prototyping
  • Large-scale prototyping
  • Demonstrations
  • Early implementations
  • Pre-production
  • Production network services and technology

iCAIR directly manages multiple large scale network research testbeds, including several that are regional, national and international in scale. After initial research and development, some of iCAIR's advanced network services and technologies migrate from labs to experimental facilities, such as metro-area, state-wide, and national and international networking testbeds, where larger scale experiments can be undertaken. Later, they may be implemented within facilities that can be accessed by the wider research community, for example, by those at other research organizations. A few may further migrate to "proof-of-concept" facilities, in a pre-production mode, or in a "near-production service" mode. In addition, often these capabilities are made available to broader communities, for example, scientists with data intensive applications, advanced network developers, network equipment designers, and organizations designing new advanced networking services.

Eventually, some of these services and technologies migrate into standards organizations, commercial equipment and systems, and provider networks. For example, the results of several iCAIR initiatives have been migrated, or are in the process of being migrated, to commercial networking services and infrastructure.

Chicago Metropolitan Area

Within the Chicago metropolitan area, iCAIR manages several major communications facilities, including a major metro area optical testbed, OMNInet, which is distributed across the Chicago metro area. These facilities are used to support large scale network research and development projects, including the design and implementation of multiple specialized testbeds and prototype services. These are highly customizable to be able to simultaneously support a wide range of experimental research projects. One is a communication facility on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University , which provides support for designing and implementing experimental network services and technologies. It has space for several dozen equipment racks, and it has fiber capacity of 360 Gbps to external sites.


Within the state of Illinois, iCAIR manages the state-wide Distributed Optical Testbed (DOT). iCAIR also co-manages the Illinois Wired/Wireless Infrastructure for Research and education (IWIRE).


iCAIR co-manage's several testbeds, including the national TeraFlow Testbed Network, and implements advanced network research testbeds, including those using the OptIPuter network, CaveWave, the National Lambda Rail, and other optical fiber based facilities. These facilities allow researchers to scale innovative services and technologies to a significant national wide and worldwide community with access to specialized high performance networks. As these services and technologies become more mature, they may become accessible to a world-wide advanced network constituency linked via advanced networks. (These services and technologies cannot be access by those who have only general Internet services.)


iCAIR co-manages several major testbeds, including the High Performance Digital Media Network (HPDMnet). iCAIR also co-manages resources that are part of the core infrastructure of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF), which iCAIR assisted to design and develop. In addition, iCAIR co-manages an advanced international communications exchange, the StarLight facility (the "optical "STAR TAP" - Science Technology and Research Transit Access Point). StarLight has several dozen 10 Gbps optical paths interconnecting advanced networks throughout the world. Also, several advanced services have been implemented in prototype on the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), a advanced multi-state regional network.

At various regional, national and international forums, iCAIR uses these facilities to showcase and demonstrate advanced networking applications, services, and technologies to a wide range of constituencies, including those related to higher education, government, research centers, and corporations.

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