Global Lambda Integrated Facility

GLIF displays dazzling digital video 'first'

3 October 2007 -- A number of impressive demonstrations almost stole the show at the 7th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop, which was held in Prague on 17-18 September. However, more than one hundred participants ensured that the limelight stayed focused on lively discussion and consensus-building.

Researchers and network engineers from five continents convened for the event, which was hosted by CESNET, the Czech national research networking organization, a pioneer of lambda networking. The workshop’s opening plenary session featured an introduction to GLIF by Kees Neggers (SURFnet), and a presentation by Jan Gruntorád (CESNET) about relevant activities in the Czech Republic. There followed presentations from the GÉANT2 (GN2) project and from the United States, Japan, Korea and Brazil. The rest of the two-day programme consisted of parallel and combined sessions of the four GLIF working groups, dealing with technical issues, control plane issues, research and applications, and governance.

Technical Issues

The Technical Issues Working Group issues addressed a diverse range of topics. Operators of GLIF Open Lightpath Exchanges (GOLES) announced the newest updates on equipment and lambda deployments. This information exchange was complemented by discussions about the circuit requirements for the upcoming Supercomputing 2007 conference and about preliminary findings of the EARNEST sub-study on technical issues.

Representatives of SURFnet and AARNet shared their experiences with fostering needs for lightpaths in their respective constituencies; inter-domain monitoring and management of lightpaths started to converge towards an interoperable approach

A new area of activity for the working group was lightpath visualisation and management. These are very important for operating lightpaths once provisioning has been completed. As the number of lightpaths increases, existing management tools are insufficient for visualising all the component parts of a lightpath or for dealing with a unified naming scheme. Work is on the way in various groups to address these needs.

Several other presentations covered experiences of interconnecting lightpaths between different domains using automated control-planes.

Control Plane Issues

The Control Plane Working Group kicked off with a review of the challenges related to the interoperability of different control plane software. Several presentations then triggered lots of discussion. One focused on the reservation models (chain model and hybrid model) for allocating bandwidth. Another featured a demonstration of lightpaths being used to provide a large-scale high-performance digital media (HPDM) service.

Authentication and authorisation issues were much addressed and possible solutions were presented. One involved 'tokens' - pieces of software that contain the information necessary to provision the path requested (by a user or software) across multiple domains for a certain time.

One of the outcomes of the control-plane meeting was an agreement not to focus on specific control plane protocols, but on interoperability of various control planes. To achieve this it is necessary to agree on the interfaces to be shared, and to define a Generic Network Interface (GNI).

Applications and Dazzling Demonstrations

The Research and Applications Working Group had a particularly overloaded programme, testifying to the growth of lambda applications in various fields of research over the past year. This was also reflected in the very advanced applications that were demonstrated at the workshop venue.

Particularly spectacular was a demonstration by the CineGrid organisation of 4K high resolution digital video transfer from Japan, the Netherlands and the United States. An experiment in remote interactive digital film processing then had its world premiere, with partners in Prague, the States and Canada all working together to improve the quality of a specially recorded film.

The quality of 4K cinema is staggering: larger and sharper than reality, four times better than high-definition TV and ten times better than normal television. Further demonstrations of CineGrid applications took place at the Barrandov film studios outside Prague, and other applications were demonstrated at the venue after the workshop concluded.

The workshop was held in the Carolinum, the building that housed the rectorate of Charles University Prague for more than 600 years. It was definitely not built with optical cabling in mind. Arranging for lambda connectivity and other necessary facilities for the demonstrations therefore took an enormous effort from CESNET, but this hard work was proved very worthwhile.

Further Information

The proceedings of the workshop are available at

For more details about the CineGrid demonstrations and partners, read CESNET's English language press release.

About GLIF -- The Global Lambda Integrated Facility is an international virtual organisation of NRENs, consortia and institutions that promotes lambda networking. GLIF provides lambdas internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and supports middleware development for lambda networking. It brings together some of the world's premier networking engineers to develop an international infrastructure by identifying equipment, connection requirements, and necessary engineering functions and services. More information is available on the GLIF website at

About TERENA -- TERENA is the association of research and education networking organisations in and around Europe. TERENA organises technical activities and provides a platform for discussion and collaboration to encourage the development of high-quality computer networking infrastructures and services for the European research community. It also operates the GLIF Secretariat, funded by donations from sponsors. For more information, see the TERENA website at