7.8 km of wires for a 10 times faster connection

To keep the pace with its research, our institute must be able to have a particularly fast internet connection. Idiap is currently undergoing a massive upgrade of its own network. Thank to optic fibre and new wires the network speed will increase by a factor ten.

Data storage and calculation power are often considered as the key numbers for a high performance research centre. However, without an adequate network infrastructure to support these performances, scientific research can be significantly slowed. To keep the pace, Idiap is upgrading its internal network to allow a high speed connection between the computers and the servers. During several months, Idiap System & Infrastructure team will work to install 7.8 km of new wires in the building, including 3.8 km of optic fibre and 4 km of copper wires. The aim is to increase the current 100 Mb/s connection speed by a ten factor to reach a 1Gb/s speed available for each computer. Such a connection means that the equivalent of a DVD of data can be transferred in just a few seconds.

Distributed computing and hard work

Idiap’s network is also configured to take advantage from the resources available among stationary computers. By using the so called distributed computing method, computing tasks needing a big amount of resources processes can be cut into smaller tasks and then dispatched to regular stationary computers, rather than to a supercomputer. Thanks to the new network speed, this process will be even more efficient.

To upgrade the network, most of the active elements need to be replaced. Elements at the core of the network will have a switching capacity of 10Tb/s (1Tb/s earlier), distribution on floors will skyrocket from 2Gb/s to 80Gb/s and – at the end – each user will have a 1Gb/s connection available. WiFi access points are also upgraded. At the end, it represents a total of 40 switches, 20 access points and 1’600 network ports to be changed.

This gigantic work will be spread over several months.