What is ESnet?

When it comes to the internet, speed sells. Most, if not all, people want to search the web at lightning fast speeds. They want to shop at Amazon and experience no muck-ups. They want to stream movies and not have any freezes. They want to pay bills and not have the bank website take forever to load. These are simple things, but they are the beating heartbeat of daily heartbeat. Now imagine if that heartbeat flutters faster than the speed of light…

That’s the goal of many companies, especially Google, who wants to bring 10 gigabits per second internet connections to the American people, which is, let’s face it, rather ambitious, but whatever they can come up with pales in comparison with a secret Internet network employed by a certain government agency.

astronautYou see, there exists something called ESnet, which stands for Energy Science Network. It’s described by some as a shadow network, which sounds like some conspiracy theory, but it’s really just a collection of private pipes utilized by NASA and operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s really fast – 91 gigabits per second, to be exact. While the shadow network won’t be creeping into our homes anytime soon, it is nonetheless being used by projects that generate large amounts of data, such as the Human Genome Project.

While the use of the shadow network is exclusive, like admittance into a posh club, we are certainly seeing a bit of that shadow in our own our lives or, as this Wired.com article puts it, “ESnet and researchers are organizations like NASA are field testing networking technologies that may eventually find their way into the commercial internet. In short, ESnet a window into what our computing world will eventually look like.”

Yes, this shadow network is our future. By the time it gets around to us average citizens, it won’t be a shadow network anymore, but something out in the open for all to see and experience. One thing is certain is that the future of data transfer and any network, be it shadowy or not, is fiber optics – and the staff at Connected Fiber knows all about that! We serve fiber optics customers all over North Carolina.


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