SCinet

SCinet, the state-of-art, on-site network designed and built especially for the annual SC conference, enables a rich environment for real-time demonstrations, communications, and collaboration. SCinet works with applications developers who attempt demonstrations using most or all of the provided bandwidth. A high-speed network testbed provides access to major national networks and testbeds, and a virtual conference capability with international participants. As in prior years, an elite team of researchers, exhibitors, communications carriers, and networking equipment suppliers will work with talented volunteers from universities, government and industry to assemble and operate SCinet, making the SC2003 conference one of the best-connected sites on the planet.

SCinet Chair
Jim Rogers
Torch Technologies, Inc.

SCinet Vice Chair
Charles D. Fisher
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

SCinet Vice Chair
Jeff Mauth
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

SCinet is the high-performance network built to support the annual International Conference for High Performance Computing and Communications (SC). The SC Conference Series is co-sponsored by ACM SIGARCH and the IEEE Computer Society. SCinet features both a high-performance production-quality network as well as an extremely high performance experimental network, Xnet.

Volunteers from educational institutions, high performance computing centers, network equipment vendors, research networks, and telecommunication carriers work together to design and deliver the SCinet networks. Industry vendors and carriers donate much of the equipment and services need to build the LAN and WAN infrastructure. Planning begins more than a year in advance of each SC conference and culminates with a high-intensity installation just seven days before the conference begins.

For SC2003, SCinet is providing direct wide area connectivity to Abilene, DREN, ESnet, and vBNS+, and many national and worldwide networks through peering relationships with these networks. Level (3) Communications is one of our most significant partners in 2003, delivering three distinct OC-192c WAN circuits from Los Angeles and Chicago. Aggregate WAN connectivity delivered to the Industry and Research Exhibitors is expected to exceed 40 billion bits/second (Gbps). Qwest Communications is providing invaluable access to dark fiber in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, high-bandwidth cross-connects to their national networks in Los Angeles and Chicago, and is sponsoring the Bandwidth Challenge for the fourth consecutive year.

Service Offerings
Wireless

  • Ubiquitous IEEE 802.11a and IEEE 802.11b service throughout the meeting rooms, common areas, and exhibit floor space.

Ethernet [2][3]

  • 100BaseFX (multi-mode fiber) (1500-byte Ethernet frames)
  • 1000BaseSX (multi-mode fiber) (1500 or 9000-byte Ethernet frames)
  • 1000BaseLX (single-mode fiber) (1500 or 9000-byte Ethernet frames)
  • >10GBase-LR (single-mode fiber) (1500 or 9000-byte Ethernet frames)

IP over SONET [4]

  • OC-48c/STM-16c (single-mode fiber) (4470 byte IP packets)
  • OC-192c/STM-64c (single-mode fiber) (4470 byte IP packets)

SONET [5]

  • OC-12c/STM-4c (single-mode fiber)
  • OC-48c/STM-16c (single-mode fiber)
  • OC-192c/STM-64c (single-mode fiber)

Dark Fiber [6]

  • single-mode fiber only

    Notes:
    [1] Native IPv4 and IPv6 Unicast provided by default, with automatic address allocation from the network.
    [2] Native IPv4 Unicast, IPv4 Multicast, and IPv6 Unicast provided by default. Router-to-router connections (IPv4 /30) and subnet routing options supported.
    [3] Private 802.1q VLAN trunking supported between booths on request.
    [4] Native IPv4 Unicast, IPv4 Multicast, and IPv6 Unicast provided by default. Router-to-router connections only.
    [5] Wide-area SONET circuits will be terminated at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center demarc. These circuits will be carried to the booth by SCinet-managed optical transport equipment or dark fiber, at the discretion of SCinet.
    [6] All dark fiber will be run through the SCinet NOC patch panels, where it will be terminated and cross-connected. Cost is assessed on a per-booth basis on each span to the SCinet NOC. Cross-connects within the SCinet NOC are included in the span charge.

Network Performance Monitoring
The SCinet architecture incorporates a number of features that support network monitoring. Monitoring will be used both to watch the internal network for operational purposes and to characterize the high-performance network applications that traverse SCinet, in particular for the Bandwidth Challenge.
Utilization and errors for all external links, and all major SCinet internal links will be monitored for operational purposes. Active techniques will be used to monitor reachability over the external links and latency to key sites.

Internet2®, in conjunction with SCinet, will provide a "weather map" showing current utilization on all SCinet external links, based on the technology used for the Abilene NOC weather map, developed by the Abilene NOC at Indiana University.

Spirent Communications will provide multiple Adtech AX/4000s to passively monitor each wide area connection and collect statistics. These statistics will include total aggregate traffic counts on each of the connections and total instantaneous traffic counts for use in judging this year's Bandwidth Challenge.
Flow data (e.g, NetFlow, cflow) will be collected from routers and visualized using FlowScan, a tool developed by Dave Plonka at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Network Security
The design characteristics that define the SCinet production networks include high bandwidth, low latency, resiliency, and scalability. SCinet peers with the Internet, agency, and national wide area networks through a series of very high-speed connections. To maximize performance across these interfaces, there are no firewalls. In this regard, the SCinet network is a logical, albeit temporary, extension of the open Internet. Exhibitors and Attendees are reminded that, in this potentially hostile environment, network security is a collective responsibility.

Insecure Applications
Exhibitors who use insecure communications methods are exposing their networks and systems to compromise. The use of insecure applications, including TELNET and FTP, is strongly discouraged. These applications are subject to compromise because they send passwords to remote hosts in human readable cleartext. Attendees are strongly encouraged to protect their sessions through a mechanism such as Secure Shell (SSH), where all communication is encrypted. SSH implementations are available for little or no cost and are straightforward to install and use. Each attendee is responsible for ensuring that their communications sessions are protected in accordance with their security requirements

All IEEE 802,11a and 802.11b wireless networks, including those provided by SCinet, are vulnerable by their very nature. The ease of use that makes them attractive is the same feature that is most easily exploited. Wireless networks are open to unauthorized monitoring or snooping by anyone within range of an access point.

Passive Monitoring
SCinet will passively monitor traffic on most external network connections as part of routine network performance monitoring activities. In addition, SCinet has a restricted capability to monitor exhibit floor and external network traffic for evidence of security-related activity including compromise or abuse. However, by no means should this coverage be considered a substitute for safe security practices. Please do your part by being cognizant of network security risks and protecting your systems and sessions.

Expanded Wireless Network Services
In collaboration with Cisco Systems, SCinet will deploy both IEEE 802.11a and IEEE 802.11b wireless networks within the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center. Both wireless networks are part of the production SCinet network, providing access to the Internet, and many other national and agency networks. The IEEE 802.11b wireless network, operating at a peak transfer rate of 11Mbps, and the IEEE 802.11a wireless network, operating at a peak transfer rate of 54Mbps, will be provided on the Exhibit Floor, in the Education Program areas, the Ballroom and meeting rooms, and in many common areas within the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center.

Free Wireless Access for All Attendees
SCinet provides the wireless networks for use by all exhibitors and attendees at no charge. Please refer to the wireless coverage diagram available at the SCinet NOC for specific coverage information for both networks. Known wireless network limitations, such as areas of reduced signal strength, limited client capacity, or other coverage difficulties will be described with additional signage at appropriate locations throughout the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center.

DHCP-Enabled Service
IP settings, including IP and DNS addresses for wireless clients, are automatically provided by SCinet via DHCP. Laptops and other wireless devices configured to request network configuration information via DHCP receive this information automatically upon entering the SCinet wireless coverage area. Wireless devices must conform to the IEEE 802.11a or IEEE 802.11b standards. Please refer to http://www.weca.net/ for more information.

Wireless FAQ Available
SCinet cannot directly support requests for assistance with wireless devices. However, a matrix of network interface cards, operating systems, and access point compatibility is listed on the SCinet web page along with links to wireless equipment vendors, device drivers, and instructions. Wireless network interface cards are available for purchase through the SC2003 conference store.

Wireless Monitoring
SCinet will monitor the health of the wireless networks and maintain this information for exhibitors and attendees. The wireless networks are governed by the SCinet Service Level Policy posted on the SCinet public web site at http://scinet.supercomp.org. In summary, while every practical effort shall be made to provide stable reliable network services, there is no explicit service level agreement for any SCinet network, including the wireless networks, nor are there any remedies available in the event that network services are lost.

SCinet Control of the 2.4GHz and 5.2GHz Frequency Radio Spectrum
In order to provide as robust a wireless service as possible, SCinet must control the entire 2.4GHz and 5.2GHz frequency radio spectrum (2.412GHz-2.462GHz) and (5.15GHz to 5.35GHz) within the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center. This has important implications for both exhibitors and attendees:

  • Exhibitors and attendees may not operate their own IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, or 802.11g wireless Ethernet access points anywhere within the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center, including within their own booth.
  • Wireless clients may not operate in ad-hoc or peer-to-peer mode due to the potential for interference with other wireless clients.
  • Exhibitors and attendees may not operate 2.4GHz or 5.2GHz cordless phones.
  • Exhibitors and attendees may not operate 2.4GHz wireless video or security cameras, or any other equipment transmitting in the 2.4GHz or 5.2GHz spectrum.

Successful Wireless Operation is a Community Responsibility.
SCinet wants you to have a successful, pleasant experience at SC2003. This should include the ability to sit down with your wireless-equipped laptop or PDA and check email or surf the Web from anywhere in the wireless coverage areas. Please help us achieve this goal by not operating equipment that will interfere with other users. SCinet will actively police both the 2.4GHz and 5.2GHz frequency spectrums and reserves the right to disconnect any equipment that interferes with the SCinet wireless networks.

Xnet
Xnet (eXtreme Net) provides a venue to showcase bleeding-edge, developmental networking technologies and experimental networking applications.

The SCinet exhibit floor network has evolved into a robust, high-performance, production-quality network that exhibitors and attendees depend on for reliable local area, wide area, and commodity network service. Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult for SCinet to showcase bleeding edge, potentially fragile technology. Simultaneously, OEMs have at times been reticent about showcasing bleeding-edge hardware in SCinet, as it became a mission critical, production network.

Xnet provides the solution to this dichotomy by providing a venue which is by definition bleeding-edge, pre-standard, and in which fragility is understood. Xnet thus provides vendors and researcher exhibitors an opportunity to showcase emerging network gear or capabilities, prior to their general commercial availability.

Xnet debuted in Portland, OR, at SC99, where Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology was used in the implementation of OC-48 SONET rings on the conference show floor. At SC2000, Xnet demonstrated pre-production and early delivery 10-gigabit Ethernet equipment connecting several exhibit floor booths. The SC2001 Xnet expanded the deployment of 10-gigabit Ethernet using equipment from several vendors and using 10-gigabit Ethernet in several Bandwidth Challenge applications. In Baltimore at SC2002, with 10-gigabit Ethernet a commodity and the telecom industry focused on survival, Xnet took a sabbatical. For SC2003, Xnet returns with a focus on advanced optical switching technologies. Please refer to materials available at the time of the conference for additional information.

High-Performance Bandwidth Challenge
Continuing the tradition started at SC2000, SCinet and Qwest Communications are sponsoring the Fourth Annual High-Performance Bandwidth Challenge. For the Bandwidth Challenge, applicants from science and engineering research communities across the globe will use the unique SCinet infrastructure to demonstrate emerging techniques or applications, many of which consume enormous amounts of network resources. At SC2002, a team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory captured the competition for the “Highest Performing Application” with a wide area distributed simulation that demonstrated a peak data transfer rate of 16.8 gigabits per second, nearly 300,000 times faster than an Internet user with a typical 56K connection.

For SC2003, applicants are challenged to significantly stress the SCinet network infrastructure while delivering innovative application value across the multiple research networks that connect to SCinet. To support Bandwidth Challenge contestants, SCinet facilitates access to the networks, provides technical support to applicants, and makes arrangements for equipment and floor and rack space to applicants with demonstrable needs.