Minutes of Working Group Meeting

Keck Base Facility, Waimea

December 6, 2001




  1. Current Network Status
  2. Aside from a few minor problems caused by software upgrades at Abilene and at the UH campus, there are no problems to report. Downtimes caused by the upgrades are typically a few minutes.

  3. Update on planned UH ITS network upgrades
  4. Note: The first two items are currently operational.

  5. Report from the MKO Users' Committee Meeting
  6. To bring the network managers up to date with the latest developments, Pui Hin presented the report she gave at the 2001 MKO Users' Committee Meeting. Here are the main points:

    1. The past year and a half - how much did it cost?

      • Services funded by two NSF grants awarded to Gemini and UH-ITS:

        • DS3 Summit to Hilo - $3,000/month
        • DS3 Hilo to Manoa - $11,200/month

      • Additional services provided by UH-ITS:

        • DS3 to DREN connection point
        • Connection to the Internet2 through DREN
        • Genuity DS3 to commodity sites

    2. NFS grants expiring March 2002 - how do we pay for these services?

      • Go with the current services and divide up the cost by some algorithm
      • Variation of the current services
      • Use the soon-to-be-available UH-ITS Microwave between Hilo and Manoa
      • Other alternatives for the interisland connection

    3. Going with the current services - how much does it cost each observatory?

      • Total cost summit - Hilo - Manoa is ~$15,000/month
      • Gemini currently has a dedicated 10 Mbps pipe between Hilo and Manoa and will pay one-quarter of this total
      • Balance to be divided among the other nine observatories - $1,250/month assuming equal shares
      • Some amount to UH-ITS for connections beyond Hawaii, to the I2 sites and commodity sites

    4. Variation of the current configurations - Hilo to Manoa

      • Interisland DS3 has a three-year contract, an early termination fee will be assessed
      • Reduce bandwidth between Hilo and Manoa for lower fees if that satisfies our contract obligation
      • 10 Mbps ATM link is ~$6,000/month

    5. Cancel the interisland DS3 service - use the soon-to-be-available UH Microwave System.

      OC3 (155 Mbps) microwave system soon to be deployed, this system:

      • replaces the Hawaii Interactive Television System (HITS) which currently supports distance learning statewide
      • provides data connectivity among UH campuses on all islands. Each campus is currently connected at T1 capacity provided by the State microwave system, the HAWAIIAN
      • At start, bandwidth requirement for distance learning from all three campuses, UH Hilo, HCC, and WHEC, is ~28 Mbps

    6. Using the UH Microwave - how much will it cost?

      Working number - $1,500/month per observatory, based on 10 clients, at 10 Mbps AVERAGE bandwidth

      This will cover:

      • DS3 from summit to Hilo
      • Connection between Hilo and Manoa - UH interisland Microwave - OC3
      • Connection from Manoa to the I2 - OC3
      • Connection from Manoa to commodity Internet - OC3
      • For the period March 2002 to March 2003, UH-ITS will also pay any early termination fees for the the interisland DS3

    7. Other alternatives for the interisland connection

      DS3 from Time Warner is $13,500/month - not a good alternative at this time

    8. Other benefits from going with UH - UH is becoming a hub for regional and international academic networking

      • Rapid increase in bandwidth capacity
      • Enhanced UH's connectivity - providing direct paths to Japan, Australia, and the Pacific RIM
      • Provide additional redundant paths

  7. Post Grant network fundings and Other Issues
  8. Several issues were discussed following Pui Hin's report. Here are the main concerns:

    1. Reliability of the microwave system

      There were some concerns over the reliability of the new microwave system. Gemini has good experience with microwave equipment in Chile. Pui Hin pointed out that the microwave will be in place for at least a month or two before our switching over from the DS3. She will also find out more about the technical aspects of the system.


    2. Issues with QoS:

      Jim Kennedy of Gemini first raised the concern of video conferencing being affected by ftp traffic. One possible solution would be to limit the bandwidth of each location to a level where it cannot monopolize the network, for example, limiting each site to 10Mbps. Another solution is to prioritize the types of traffic, for example, setting h323 packets to highest priority and ftp traffic to the lowest. The working group preferred this solution since it will make better use of the network bandwidth. Pui Hin has found out that in a mixed ATM and IP environment, the implementation is more complicated then one would expect, but possible, using Weighted Fair Queuing (WFQ) on ATM with Cisco equipment on both ends. It will involve every site marking their network traffic with pre-determined priority and the router where QoS is applied to example these packets. However, with WFQ, packets are not actually examined until there is congestion.

      With the switchover to the Microwave, the only shared stretch of ATM network between the MK summit and the Internet2 is the stretch between MK summit and Hilo. Since available bandwidth is also the least (45Mbps) on this stretch, it makes sense to apply WFQ on this stretch. To support WFQ, the router engine and the ATM card on the summit router need to be upgraded. Since we are missing a backup router in Hilo, Pui Hin suggested buying a new router with the ATM card that supports WFQ, and using the old router for a backup in Hilo. Whereas, we currently can route packets to the Internet through either the summit router or the Hilo router. This Hilo router will become the only connection point to the Internet not counting the T1 frame relay back up. Further, all observatories must upgrade the IOS of their summit ATM router to version 12.0(5)T or later.

      Since WFQ does not take effect until congestion occurs, it was also suggested by several members that we should to go ahead and setup WFQ, but not deploy the queuing until it becomes necessary. Further, additional bandwidth between summit and Hilo should be considered if congestion occurs often.

    3. Price reasonableness and future bandwidth requirements

      The question of whether the price (10 x $1,500) is reasonable was briefly discussed. The bottom line is no one will be able to buy the same service through any other provider at this time, so the price is deemed to be reasonable.

      There were also some concerns as to what happens when the OC3 microwave is outgrown. Pui Hin has learned from David Lassner that UH-ITS is already working on a second OC3 as fibers between the islands are being acquired. Whatever infrastructure we put in now, including a new router for the summit, and termination of the fibers between UH Hilo and the IfA building, will continue to be useful whether we stay on the microwave or switch to fiber connection in the future.

    4. Cost sharing methods

      There was some discussion on whether the cost of the network should be shared equally or by usage. All members other than CSO favor equal share of the cost. These are some of the reasons for supporting equal share:

      • Network usage among the observatories are similar over time.
      • Share by usage might discourage some observatories to provide certain types of services, such as ftp.
      • Since our payment to UH-ITS is a fixed amount, 10 x $1,500 a month, everyone's monthly cost is affected by other observatories' usage level. That is, if the costs were calculated by usage, one observatory might have to pay more because other observatories lower their usage.

      Richard Chamberlin of CSO however would like to see the costs shared by usage. CSO requires very little bandwidth and will simply not participate at $1,500/month. After further discussion, members agreed to let CSO participate at $600/month as long as CSO's usage remains at its current level. Again, since we are paying UH-ITS a fixed amount of 10 x $1,500 a month, CSO's participation even at $600/month will lower everyone's rate by a little than if we have only nine participants.

    5. UH-Hilo participation

      Richard Crowe of UH Hilo Astronomy department is setting up a facility at the construction camp at HP and has contacted Pui Hin regarding the possibility of using the MKOCN. Their usage will be small, a few PCs will be used. Members agreed to let UH-Hilo participate at $300/month, one tenth of the summit to Hilo DS3, plus a share of the annual maintenance costs.

  9. Summary and Consensus
  10. At the end of the day, members agreed that the following should be recommended to all the directors:

    1. Go with the UH Microwave at a price based on 10 x $1,500/month for 10 Mbps AVERAGE bandage. UH-ITS to provide:

      • DS3 from summit to Hilo
      • Connection between Hilo and Manoa - UH interisland Microwave - OC3
      • Connection from Manoa to the I2 - OC3
      • Connection from Manoa to commodity Internet - OC3
      • For the period March 2002 to March 2003, UH-ITS will also pay any early termination fees for the interisland DS3

    2. Bandwidth cost (as opposed to maintenance cost, which will continue to be shared equally among all participants) will be divided as follows:

      • CSO will pay $600/month
      • UH-Hilo will pay $300/month for the use of the DS3 between summit and Hilo
      • The rest of the cost will be shared equally among the following organizations/facilties:

        CFHT, Germini, IRTF, JAC, Keck, SMA, Subaru, UH88, and VLBA

    3. A new router will be purchased using infrastructure funds and WFQ to be set up between summit and Hilo.

  11. Next Meeting
  12. March 7, 2002, 10:00 am, at Gemini

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Last updated December 10, 2001 by Miranda Hawarden-Ogata