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100 G flowing through the ASTRON building

Submitter: Leon Hiemstra, Gijs Schoonderbeek, John Romein
Description: In December 2016 the fiber infrastructure in the ASTRON building was heavily upgraded, thanks to the people of Facility Services. To be prepared for the future, the main labs have been connected with a significant number of fibers to the basement, which houses the Internet Access Point and a cluster of computing machines. A few months ago, the Computing and DESP groups have been working together to build a network test setup to experiment with very high datarates of 100 Gigabit per second from the digital lab to the basement. The goal was to transmit a continuous high datarate flow from the Gemini POC board, designed for the SKA Low correlator, to a Server. Receiving high sustained datarates on servers is far from trivial and therefore an presented an interesting challenge.

The Gemini board has a powerful Xilinx UltraScale+ FPGA and can perfectly be used as a 100G data packet generator.

More information on Gemini can be found on the following daily images:

The image shows Gijs and Leon working on the connection of the digital lab to the Gemini board. In the top left, the moment of excitement is captured, when the experiment started to become successful, together with John. Finally, a screenshot of a nano fraction of the received 100G data on the Server in the basement is shown in the bottom right corner on top of an enlargement of the Gemini board. The data was generated and sent by the FPGA on the Gemini board and transported on a link between Gemini and a Server of the DAS-5 compute cluster via a 100 meter single mode optical link.
Copyright: ASTRON
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