The Backbone of Choice

ACANS News & Information Center

The Backbone of Choice

In their presentation, New Mexico High Speed Networking Project , Norma Grijalva, NMSU, and Gary Bauerschmidt, UNM, said that New Mexico is a board member of National LambdaRail, and that National LambdaRail had signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).   Grijalva and Bauerschmidt made this announcement at the 24th Annual CHECS conference held October 12-14 in Albuquerque.

National LambdaRail is an initiative by research universities and private sector technology companies to provide national scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications.    Since signing the agreement with DOE, DOE has since announced that National LambdaRail will be their backbone to implement an important part of its next generation network.   National LambdaRail has the ability to transport data at a high rate of speed by accessing multi networks that are supported by their own lightwave or wavelength.

Two access nodes, stated Grijalva, one in the Las Cruces/El Paso area, and the other in Albuquerque, give CHECS-Net members the ability to connect to the national backbone in two places.   “National LambdaRail,” said Grijalva, “is going to be a research network, and since New Mexico has a bunch of research assets (astronomy, the Very Large Array in Socorro, and Apache Point Observatory to name a few), this partnership is beneficial to CHECS-Net members.”

Grijalva and Bauerschmidt also outlined the New Mexico increase in Internet2 bandwidth project during their presentation.   It is a collaborative effort among CHECS-Net, Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), New Mexico research universities, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. This collaboration has increased the Internet2 bandwidth from an OC-3 (155 megabits per second) to OC-48 (2.5 Gigabits per second).

“The New Mexico GigaPop,” stated Bauerschmidt, “is not a physical site.   It is a series of sites that connects different people depending on location.” A GigaPop, according to:, is short for gigabit Point of Presence, a network access point that supports data transfer rates of at least one gigabits per second.

Grijalva asked those present to keep in mind “this is the configuration today, but you need to think of this as dynamic.   And when we talk about GigaPop, we are talking about connecting as many people as possible and keeping local traffic local (within the state of New Mexico).”

“We want to leverage all the resources we can,” said Grijalva.   “We want to partner and build collaborative networks so that our dollars can do more.   We want to reach more people throughout New Mexico.   And these are just the first steps.   Don’t think of this as the end goal; think of it as the beginning.”

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