The fastest internet network in the US just got better! How was it even possible? The Energy Sciences Network (Esnet) has been upgraded to ESnet6. It now has a whopping bandwidth of 46 Terabits per second (Tbps). However, it is strictly for scientists only.
The original ESnet was brought forward in 1986 to help connect scientists at various Department of Energy (DOE) labs around the US. This made it easier for them to quickly share huge amounts of raw data. After many years and several upgrades, in 2021, a massive 1.1 exabytes of data was transmitted over the network.
Here comes today’s giant leap. ESnet6 is made up of 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of dedicated fiber optic cables spanning the country, enabling network backbone links that can each transfer data between 400 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and 1 Tbps. It is interesting to note that this isn’t a record data transmission speed – that honor belongs to an experimental setup in Japan, which achieved a mind-boggling 1 Petabit per second (Pbps), which is 1,000 Tbps.
For comparison, you’re probably getting by on a few hundred Megabits per second (Mbps), while ESnet6 is equivalent to 46 million Mbps. If you have access to a 10 Gbps fiber connection which is the fastest internet speed available to consumers, ESnet6 is still 46,000 times faster than your connection.
ESnet6 is designed to enable scientists to transfer large datasets between teams, instruments, and facilities, and it’ll be equipped to help handle major, data-intensive research areas like climate modeling, genomic studies, telescope observations, physics experiments, and quantum information.