Tsinghua team launches China’s first 1.2-Tbps internet backbone

Tsinghua team launches China’s first 1.2-Tbps internet backbone

Tsinghua University, China Mobile, Huawei and China Education and Scientific Research Network (CERNET) have officially launched a 1.2-terabit optical backbone connecting three Chinese cities using all-domestic gear.

The 3,000-km terabit backbone, which connects Beijing, Wuhan and Guangzhou, is part of China’s ten-year Future Internet Technology Infrastructure (FITI), the successor to CERNET’s current internet network.

According to the state Xinhua News Agency, the IPv6 FITI network – which began work in 2013 under the auspices of the Education Ministry – has been operational since 2021, connecting 40 universities in 35 cities.

However, Tsinghua deployed the terabit technology between Beijing, Wuhan and Guangzhou in July 2023 in collaboration with China Mobile, Huawei and CERNET. Those links have been undergoing testing since then.

At a press conference on Monday, Tsinghua said backbone network has passed all tests, and has been operating smoothly and reliably at 1.2 Tbps.

FITI project leader Wu Jianping says the backbone is using a next-generation IPv6 core router that supports 3×400G multi-optical path aggregation, among other things.

“All software and hardware equipment are domestically produced and independently controllable,” he said.

Wu also said that FITI would be ready by the end of this year.

Apart from championing the indigenous technology used to build the network, Tsinghua (as well as state media) claims the 1.2-Tbps backbone is the fastest internet backbone in the world.

However, it depends who you’re comparing it to. Last year, the Energy Sciences Network (Esnet) – a 24,000-km network which US Department of Energy labs use to swap massive data sets – was upgraded to run at 46 Tbps.

In May this year, a team of Japanese, Australian, Dutch, and Italian researchers set the current world record for fastest optical transmission, achieving 1.7 Petabits per second over 67 km of industry standard optical fibre.

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