SLR Overview

National Lambda Rail (NLR)

Southern Light Rail, Inc. (SLR) provided researchers in the southeast with access to National Lambda Rail (NLR). NLR was a major initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications.

NLR aimed to catalyze innovative research and development into next generation network technologies, protocols, services and applications. NLR put the control, the power, and the promise of experimental network infrastructure in the hands of our nation’s scientists and researchers.
NLR Group A Report
NlR Group B Report

Southern Crossroads / SoX

Southern Crossroads / SoX is a cooperative initiative by the members of the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). Initial support for development of the SoX inter networking aggregation facility is provided by a National Science Foundation Grant.

SoX is designed to facilitate access to current and future highly integrated, digital communications services for education, research, and economic development within the region and across the United States. The mission is to connect both SoX Participants to Next Generation Internet services, as well as commodity services where appropriate, thus enhancing opportunities for collaboration among university researchers at institutions throughout the Southeast in a very cost effective manner. SLR will also connect researchers to each other but with dedicated point-to-point connections rather than shared ones.

The Georgia Collaborative Research Initiative (CRI)

The Georgia Collaborative Research Initiative (CRI) is a Georgia Tech effort with the goal of supporting the increasingly collaborative nature of scientific research. This initiative originated with the understanding that current and future research depends on the following:

  • The ability to collaborate within a community of researchers with shared interests
  • The ability to access vital resources (data, computing cycles, services, applications, and instrumentation)

Presently, these needs can be difficult to satisfy. But, with the formation of the Southern Light Rail (SLR), which connects to the National Lambda Rail (NLR) , a unique opportunity has presented itself. The capability to bring dedicated large bandwidth connections directly to a researcher makes it feasible to satisfy these needs. The CRI is about going beyond providing better network connections between researchers. It is also focused on recognizing and understanding the context of the individual researcher and applying this towards the development of applications that enable the researcher to work more effectively.

Currently, the CRI is working with local universities to better understand which research groups are trying to collaborate but are hindered by their current conditions. As these groups are identified, this initiative will support a process of evaluating needs, specifying solutions, writing grant proposals, and coordinating the various pieces (people, tools, time) of the project as necessary.

To learn more, read a summary of a case study that is in progress now.

International Connectivity

Many research projects require collaboration with international groups. Southern Light Rail, Inc. (SLR), working with National Lambda Rail (NLR), Internet Educational Equal Access Foundation (IEEAF), as well as other international providers can provide the necessary international connectivity.

SLR is one of the partners that will provide international connectivity.Projects that are supported by international network connection:

Network Architecture

The SLR network is designed to provide the best possible connectivity for research and education. The network is constructed using DWDM optical gear over dark fiber and lambda access across the Southeastern United States. These resources give SLR the greatest flexibility in provisioning network services tailored to the needs of individual researchers.

The SLR network can provide users with a broad range of services from optical lambdas, to single or multi-Gigabit Ethernet channels to IPv4/v6 routed service. By controlling the data service all the way down to the optical wavelength, SLR is able to provide dedicated network paths without the congestion and delay variations normally experienced in current IPv4-based networks like the Internet and I2. The user’s traffic can also be optically isolated from other network users, an important aspect for security sensitive applications.

In addition to the service benefits, the SLR architecture provides a significant cost benefit to SLR users versus traditional public network services. By utilizing dark fiber and lamdba access, SLR can provide high capacity data services at significantly less cost than a commercial service. This results in better network connectivity for research and education networks at lower cost.