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Nikhef and SURF realise first international 400Gbit/s connection between Amsterdam and CERN

Nikhef and SURF have together realised the first international 400Gbit/s connection. The connection runs between Amsterdam and CERN in Switzerland and has a distance of 1650 kilometres. This connection builds on the successful pilot project in the Randstad conurbation in 2020.

Netwerkapparatuur SURF in Amsterdam

Successful tests

The connection between Nikhef in Amsterdam and CERN runs over fibre optics with optical equipment from SURF. The first tests over this line have been concluded positively. Last year Nikhef and SURF already tested the same technique in the Randstad. The techniques used in the test are also being used in the new international connection.

Extra attention needed

A fibre-optic connection of over 1650 kilometres requires extra attention. For example, it is important that the fibres are as clean as possible. In order to limit the loss of the connection, as few fibre connectors as possible have been used. These connectors caused loss. SURF therefore welded together as many fibres as possible in the connection. In addition to these preconditions, the connection also had to be reinforced to be able to work over 1650 kilometres. Special Raman amplifiers were used for this purpose. 

Particle accelerator is restarted

In recent years, CERN has carried out a number of upgrades to the Large Hadron Collider. In 2021, the CERN particle accelerator will start up again slowly. The intention is that the LHC will be back in full production by 2022. The data generated by the LHC will then be distributed worldwide via Nikhef. A fast and stable connection is essential for this. 

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