Scientists hope to increase the capacity of Internet2 by as much as 80-fold by using different colors of light.
The network should be ready by Fall 2007 and will be used to connect telescopes around the world and perform other bandwidth-intensive tasks.
In the new network, Internet2 will have the cables all to itself. Operators will initially be able to transmit data using 10 colors, or wavelengths, of light over a single cable, giving the network a capacity of 100 Gbps. Eventually, Internet2 hopes to transmit on 80 wavelengths.
Although the ability to send data using multiple wavelengths isn't new, Van Houweling said Internet2 will be deploying new circuits that can each interpret all 10 wavelengths.
With the 10-fold increase, a high-quality version of the movie "The Matrix" could be sent in a few seconds rather than half a minute over the current Internet2 and two days over a typical home broadband line.