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ATM Connectivity to STAR TAP Ends April 30, 2004

December 8, 2003

STAR TAP to Turn-down OC-12 Link between SBC NAP and StarLight on April 30, 2004

The STAR TAP (Science Technology and Research Transit Access Point) initiative has received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) since 1997 to create a central persistent peering point for North American research and education networks to interconnect with similar networks from Europe, Russia, Asia and South America.

The STAR TAP project initially focused on the interoperability and interconnectivity of ATM-based networks. From 2001 onwards, the users have been concurrently developing StarLight, the optical STAR TAP, for 1GE and 10GE and optical switching of wavelengths.

NSF funding for ATM-based connectivity ends April 30, 2004, after which STAR TAP will no longer subsidize an ATM OC-12 connection between the SBC NAP and StarLight.

StarLight, currently supported by the NSF (award ANI-0229642) through September 30, 2005, resides in a newly renovated data communications center on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University. The facility hosts a wide range of equipment related to NSF and DOE-funded experiments, TeraGrid, I-WIRE, and joint university / corporate research and development efforts, as well as national and international connectivity to research and education networks. The facility has the rack space and power to accommodate the leading-edge optical switches as well as experimental equipment for “lambda-empowered’ applications.

Starting in 1997, STAR TAP management worked with Ameritech (later SBC) to develop the SBC NAP to provide a wide range of ATM-based advanced networking services to the national, international and regional research and education community. The START TAP facility and the user community have set many milestones, and have demonstrated unequivocally that global connectivity is necessary to advance scientific and engineering research and education. However, STAR TAP member networks have been steadily migrating to the StarLight facility since it opened two years ago. STAR TAP / StarLight managers had planned to continue the OC-12 one more year if there was sufficient demand, but most of the networks still needing ATM connectivity to StarLight are making simpler and cheaper arrangements. The practicality of keeping the OC-12 alive through cost-sharing by remaining members has been eliminated.

The STAR TAP / StarLight management is committed to serving the high-performance research and education community by providing not only a persistent infrastructure, but also a proving ground for advanced applications, performance measuring and technology evaluations. International support for these efforts is reflected in the number of new connections to StarLight happening at this time. This facility is being developed by researchers, for researchers, so your input is encouraged. Contact Tom DeFanti (tom @ with questions and/or comments.

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