Energy Sciences Network

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Energy Sciences Network
ESnet Logo
Abbreviation ESnet
Formation 1986
Region served
United States

The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-speed computer network serving United States Department of Energy (DOE) scientists and their collaborators worldwide. It is managed by staff at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

All DOE Office of Science labs are directly connected to this network. The ESnet network also connects to over 100 other research and education networks.


ESnet is a high-speed network serving thousands of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) scientists and collaborators worldwide. ESnet links researchers at national laboratories, universities and other research institutions. It was formed in 1986, combining the operations of earlier projects known as HEPnet (for high-energy physics) and MFEnet (for magnetic fusion energy research).[1]

Managed and operated by the ESnet staff at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ESnet's high speed network provides direct connections to 30 major DOE sites, as well as interconnections to over 100 other research and education networks. ESnet is funded principally by the DOE Office of Science through the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.[2]

From 1990 to 2007, ESnet's average traffic has grown by a factor of 10 every 47 months.[3] By 2005, the core network used packet over SONET links at 10 Gbit/s.[4]

ESnet development programs include:

  • OSCARS: The On Demand Secure Circuits and Reservation System software developed at ESnet, and now open-sourced to the community, creates multi-domain, virtual circuits guaranteeing end-to-end data transfer performance on the network.
  • perfSONAR: A test and measurement framework that provides end-to-end monitoring of multi-domain network performance. ESnet is a key member of the international perfSONAR collaboration.
  • Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI): Launched in 2009 by $62 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, ESnet's Advanced Networking Initiative was a project to handle the expanding data needs between DOE supercomputing facilities. ANI meant to accelerate the deployment of 100 Gbit/s technologies to support science research and education, that will transition into a production network.

A 100 Gbit/s plan was announced in July 2011 along with the Internet2 consortium to lease "dark fiber" otherwise unused capacity.[5]


ESnet4 is a science data transport network with enough bandwidth to transport multiple streams of 10 gigabits per second. ESnet4 used:

  • A circuit-oriented science data network for moving terabytes of data. Like a direct line connecting two endpoints, this dedicated network allows information to flow directly from one remote host to another.
  • An Internet Protocol (IP) network for typical data transfers. Unlike the Science Data Network, the IP network is connected to many computers, and can have multiple endpoints. To reach a destination, information traveling on an IP network will constantly encounter routers that direct and redirect it. Like air-traffic controllers, the routers determine the most efficient routes.
  • Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) are the last component of ESnet4. This system carries both science data and IP networks to effectively connect research centers in the same geographic region. Currently,[when?] 11 ESnet sites are served by MANs.

The Long Island MAN and the Chicago Area MAN were specifically built to facilitate the movement of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The ESnet carries LHC data from CERN to U.S. Tier 1 sites over its network. Eventually 15 million gigabytes of data per year will be distributed to researchers across the globe.[6]

CERN collects data from the LHC, sending information across the Atlantic Ocean via the fiber optic network USLHCnet, which is managed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. An ESnet hub in Manhattan is the US entry point for LHC ATLAS data. From there, ESnet delivers data from the LHC’s ATLAS detector to Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, to be processed and stored. Meanwhile, data from the LHC’s CMS detector traverses USLHCnet into ESnet in Chicago, arriving at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., for processing and storage. Researchers at universities and DOE laboratories across the country connect to these databases through ESnet4, the DOE’s next-generation scientific network. Internet2, the country’s leading education and research network, and ESnet officially launched a partnership in 2006 to develop and deploy ESnet4 just in time for the LHC experiment.[7]

In 2009 ESnet was named one of the "government organizations that understand IT innovation".[8]


  1. ^ Jim Brown (March 19, 1990). "Fermi Labs eases traffic crunch on campus DECnet". Network World. pp. 1, 49. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)". US Department of Energy. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ Joe Burrescia (January 21, 2008). "ESnet Update" (Microsoft PowerPoint). Presentation at Joint Techs Workshop. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ Joe Burrescia, William E. Johnston (September 19, 2005). "ESnet Status Update" (PDF). Presentation at Internet 2 International Meeting. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ Erica Naone (July 25, 2011). "Network for Wild Experimentation". Technology Review (MIT). Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "ESnet4 Helps Researchers Seeking the Origins of Matter". News release (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). September 9, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  8. ^ John Foley (September 15, 2009). "InformationWeek 500: 10 Government Organizations That Understand IT Innovation". Information Week. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 

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