Ciena Joins SARNET research initiative

Created July 17, 2015
Applications and Research

International collaboration leverages SDN for advanced cyber-attack detection and defense

The Secure Autonomous Response programmable networks project (SARNET), which includes Ciena, is exploring how software defined networking can help alleviate cyber-attacks and program networks to provide enhanced cyber-terror detection and defense. SARNET utilizes a multi-purpose, high-capacity research network and allows researchers to trial advanced network detection and defensive functionalities that automatically reconfigure around anomalies to help create and control agile, resilient and high-performing architectures.

SARNET is a four-year collaboration agreement between the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, Ciena and an airline, designed to explore methods for autonomous Internet security. T project allows researchers to automatically create, manipulate, move and remove network services as needed. With added software intelligence, the network can be programmed to instantly reconfigure, self-provision and self-heal, helping to prevent attacks, such as denial-of-service attacks, which have more than doubled in the last year according to the 2015 Akamai State of the Internet security report.

The research network leverages Ciena’s SDN-enabled 8700 Packetwave platform with multiple research laboratories, including UvA, which is connected to Ciena’s Ottawa, Canada R&D facilities via its OPN research network. International connectivity is achieved via CANARIE in Canada; Internet 2, Starlight and ESnet in the United States; and, SURFnet in the Netherlands. It also includes computers and storage clouds based on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) exoGENI architecture.

Cees de Laat, University of Amsterdam, Principal Investigator, SARNET, commented, “SARNET exemplifies the significant transformation that future networks need to make in order to reconfigure and self-provision instantly. This collaboration is exploring just one of the use-cases made possible by SDN. Autonomous Internet security would alleviate a lot of pressure on today’s networks, freeing up resources and opening the industry up to a raft of other innovations.”

Rod Wilson, Senior Director of External Research, Ciena, said, “Networks are becoming agile, software-enabled infrastructures, and the ability to adapt to changing traffic patterns and bandwidth demands is more crucial now than ever. Enabling instantaneous responses to cyber-attacks or cyber warfare is a logical next step on this journey, and demonstrates an important advantage of software-defined networking. With SARNET we are creating powerful new software intelligence that can help increase the security of our digital society.”

See also: Ciena Official Press Release

Matthew Peach

This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.