User Facilities

Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)

Berkeley, California
Start of Operations
Number of Users
53 (FY 2016)

The ESnet is a high-speed network serving thousands of Department of Energy researchers and collaborators worldwide.


The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), stewarded by Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryExternal link, is a high-speed network engineered and optimized to support the Department’s large-scale scientific research. ESnet interconnects the entire national laboratory complex, including its supercomputer centers and user facilities. ESnet allows scientists to use Department of Energy’s unique research facilities independent of time and location with state-of-the-art performance levels by providing direct connections to more than 40 Department of Energy (DOE) sites at speeds up to 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). ESnet differs from a traditional provider of network services because massive science data flows require different handling than small flows generated on the global Internet. The facility’s special capabilities include virtually lossless data transport, bandwidth guarantees spanning multiple network domains, and a distributed performance-monitoring platform. ESnet’s peering connections to the global Internet are resilient, redundant, and decentralized. ESnet staff monitor connectivity on a 24/7 basis, and in case of problems they work with DOE sites, commercial providers, and other research networks for resolution. ESnet also operates a productive and well-utilized network research testbed at national scale, open to DOE and non-DOE scientists alike, for the purpose of conducting applied research in a range of networking topics, including software defined networking architectures, post-TCP protocol dynamics, and the identification and improved performance of high-throughput science data flows.


Constant improvements to scientific instrumentation and simulations drive ever-increasing volumes of data on ESnet. Network traffic on ESnet is growing at twice the rate of the commercial Internet; today it carries approximately 20 petabytes of data each month (1 petabyte = 1,024 terabytes = 1,048,576 gigabytes).  In the past, data generated by the high energy physics community, especially by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has been a primary driver of network growth on ESnet. More recently, other data-intensive communities including climate, photon science, genomics, and materials science have begun to generate significant data flows as well. For example, Basic Energy Sciences (BES) facilities such as the Linac Coherent Light Source can produce up to 18 terabytes (TB) of data per day, while upgraded detectors at the Advanced Light Source will soon generate approximately 10 TB per hour.  BES predicts that these rates will increase by an order of magnitude in the coming decade.  It is expected that climate modeling data from the Community Climate System Model will be distributed and replicated worldwide for analysis and validation; bandwidth requirements for this one collaboration will likely approach 100 Gbps. ESnet is specifically designed to handle the challenges of transferring these large datasets for the scientific community. Together with national and international partners, ESnet advances scientific discovery by enabling timely communication of scientific data nationally and across the globe.

Last modified: 6/19/2017 4:31:41 PM