National LambdaRail Network Now Complete

Southern Light Rail Connects Georgia Tech and Other Georgia Research Alliance Universities to National Research Network

The equivalent of the golden spike in the transcontinental railroad, National LambdaRail (NLR), is now complete. As the operator of the Atlanta node of NLR, Southern Light Rail (SLR) is pleased to offer connectivity to more than 150 universities, research institutions and other organizations through a nationwide advanced fiber optic network. NLR's advanced optical, Ethernet and IP network infrastructure consists of more than 10,000 miles of fiber optic cable across the United States. Southern Light Rail (SLR) is one of the 12 member consortia of research organizations that invested in this network that is dedicated to facilitating research. Georgia participants in SLR include Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia and University of Georgia.

"As a leading research university, it is fitting that Georgia Tech is part of this elite group of universities building and using one of the fastest networks in the world," says Charles Liotta, Georgia Tech's vice provost for research and graduate studies and Regents professor of chemistry. "Georgia Tech invested in this fiber optic network so that our researchers, who often deal with massive amounts of data or need real-time remote control of sophisticated equipment located across the country, will have access to the most robust network possible."

Because NLR owns the underlying fiber optic cable and optical equipment, as well as other networking equipment, it can cost-effectively implement multiple, diverse experimental and production networks on its nationwide optical fiber footprint with unprecedented flexibility and responsiveness. A core set of basic services is currently available from NLR. Variations of these basic services, as well as additional services are available upon request.

NLR can be described as a very fast 'highway' with 'multiple lanes.' Some lanes operate as dedicated lanes reserved for a researcher requiring a very fast, direct connection. To access these dedicated lanes, researchers pay a fee for this premium service based on distance, bandwidth and time. One of the other lanes on the NLR 'highway,' called the National Exchange Fabric, is shared and available now to Georgia Tech researchers at no charge for demonstration projects to the connected universities and research institutions.

"NLR provides Georgia Tech researchers unprecedented control over a network infrastructure with up to 40 individual lightpaths-each of which can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second and be used to deploy dedicated side-by-side, but physically and operationally separate, production and experimental networks," says Ron Hutchins, Georgia Tech's chief technology officer and associate vice provost for research and technology.

"Having access to the NLR infrastructure through Southern Light Rail gives Georgia Tech researchers unparalleled services and capabilities. Because of the close and ongoing coordination among member organizations, SLR is able to provide researchers a unique level of assistance and facilitation in provisioning and maintaining these services," says John Mullin, Georgia Tech's chief information officer and associate vice president and associate vice provost for information technology.

"Industry researchers may use National LambdaRail for solely research applications, and in fact, Cisco Systems is a member," says Brian Savory, executive director of Southern Light Rail based at Georgia Tech. Researchers with questions about NLR and needing more details about services may contact Brian Savory at 404-385-5171 or

About Southern Light Rail
Southern Light Rail (SLR) is a Georgia Tech non-profit corporation providing National LambdaRail (NLR) access to the Georgia Research Alliance universities, other universities in the Southern region of the United States and governmental and private sector organizations involved in university research initiatives. Visit for more information.

About National LambdaRail
National LambdaRail is 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 puts the control, the power and the promise of experimental network infrastructure in the hands of our nation's scientists and researchers. Visit for more information.

Southern Light Rail Participants

Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University
Medical College of Georgia
University of Georgia

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
University System of Alabama

National LambdaRail Primary Connection Points
Los Angeles
New York City
Washington D.C.

Useful Links
Southern Light Rail

National LambdaRail