Northern Wave Announces First Light Across Northern Tier

April 17, 2012

Chicago, IL

Today the North Dakota State University (NDSU) and Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP) announced “first light” on a new 10 Gbps optical connection between Seattle and Chicago called Northern Wave. Built using National Science Foundation (NSF) grant funds, Northern Wave will ultimately provide for a shared 10Gbps network for research and education institutions choosing to participate from Seattle to Chicago. The grant, part of NSF’s Academic Research Infrastructure program, funds the optical equipment to build the network along a fiber path provided by PNWGP (from Seattle to Minneapolis) and the BOREAS network (a collaboration among the Universities of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin- Madison, and Iowa State University (

Ultimately, Northern Wave will connect to Pacific Wave ( in Seattle and to StarLight ( in Chicago where a large number of international networks and universities choose to exchange networking traffic in very large, multi-gigabit flows. Researchers and educators in any connecting institution along the path in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington will have access to this 10Gbps pathway and exchange facility.

“Northern Wave brings a significant new capacity to network through improved communication facilities as well as easy exchange of data for initiating collaborations with other institutions. This is especially important for the establishment of large competitive research centers. It will also provide connectivity to large computational and visualization platforms at remote locations,” says Kalpana Katti, North Dakota State University Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and NSF CAREER Award grantee.

“Northern Wave puts into place a new piece of the cyberinfrastructure necessary for the complex interdisciplinary work that is on the cutting edge of science and technology,” said Amy Philipson, Executive Director, Pacific NorthWest Gigapop (PNWGP)

Once completed and operational, Northern Wave will enhance research and education network capabilities by seeking to increase network efficiency, reduce latency, increase throughput, and reduce costs; and will provide a state-of-the-art national and international peering exchange facility designed to serve researchers throughout this region by connecting them to research and education networks throughout the U.S., the Pacific Rim and the world.

About North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University is a student-focused, land-grant, research university — an economic engine that educates students, conducts primary research, creates new knowledge and advances technology. The university provides affordable access to an excellent education at a top-ranked research institution that combines teaching and research in a rich learning environment, educating future leaders who will create solutions to national and global challenges that will shape a better world. For more information, visit

About Pacific Northwest Gigapop

The Pacific Northwest Gigapop is a nonprofit corporation serving research and education organizations throughout the Pacific Rim. They provide cost-effective, robust, reliable, high-bandwidth, and high-capacity networking to support the missions of these organizations and the needs of researchers, faculty, students, and staff. PNWGP designs, implements, and manages a multi-state high-bandwidth and high-capacity network specifically designed to meet unique requirements of research and education communities. For more information, visit

About Boreas

BOREAS is the Broadband Optical Research, Education and Sciences Network, a collaboration of four major research institutions in the upper Midwest: Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. BOREAS operates a Regional Optical Network (RON) to service the advanced production and experimental network requirements of the research and education institutions in our region. For more information, visit

About the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility The StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility provides advanced network services optimized for high-performance applications, especially data-intensive scientific research. StarLight provides high-performance multi-layer switching among participating networks, including true optical switching for wavelengths. StarLight is developed and managed by the the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, in partnership with Canada's CANARIE and the Netherlands' SURFnet. StarLight receives funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation. See


Kim Owen
North Dakota State University

Jan Eveleth
Pacific Northwest Gigapop

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