Original Global Real Time SuperLab Experiment (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video Original Global Real Time SuperLab Experiment. 

This video explains why researchers working on the Global Real-Time (RT) SuperLab project needed to successfully connect research assets at multiple sites, via high-speed internet, enabling consistent, near-real-time data transfer performance.

Narrator: “The idea to connect power grid research assets via high-speed internet started with the Global Real-Time (RT) SuperLab project. The goal of RT SuperLab was to prove the concept.”

Text on screen: Where we started: Global Real-Time SuperLab.

Narrator: “Could research equipment separated by thousands of miles work together like it was next door? The answer at the time: Sort of.”

Text on screen (same as narration): Could research equipment separated by thousands of miles work together like it was next door? The answer at the time: Sort of.

An image of the Northern Hemisphere appears with text labels identifying several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research laboratories, three U.S. universities, and research institutions in France and Italy. Lines connect all these labels.

Narrator: “The RT SuperLab demonstration showed that the underlying network connections worked. It successfully connected 80 devices across 5 U.S. and international universities and 3 national DOE labs.”

Image of Northern Hemisphere remains on screen. At the bottom, icons represent 80 power grid devices, 5 universities, and 3 DOE labs.

Narrator: “It was a first-of-its-kind achievement for NREL and DOE national labs.”

Text on screen: A first-of-its-kind achievement.

Image of Northern Hemisphere remains on screen.

Narrator: “But this demonstration surfaced some flaws in the approach.”

Image of Northern Hemisphere remains on screen.

Narrator: “It used a standard internet connection with a ‘Virtual Private Network’ (VPN) built with firewalls. This approach created unpredictable delivery performance.”

Text on screen (same as narration): It used a standard internet connection with a ‘Virtual Private Network’ (VPN).

Image of Northern Hemisphere remains on screen. A circle appears in the center of the image, with file-folder icons moving from left to right.

Narrator: “So transmitting research data across these networks and through VPNs resulted in inconsistent latency leading to poor performance of the data transfer.”

Previous image remains.

Narrator: “This variability in the latency made it impossible to synchronize across devices. Think of it this way:”

Previous image remains.

Narrator: “Have you ever had a video call in which the audio didn’t match the video? That’s what happened with the SuperLab experiment: data made it through, but it was choppy. Large amounts of the data being exchanged competed with other traffic on the internet connection. Additionally, the VPN firewalls slowed down data transfers, making it difficult for researchers to see the picture clearly.”

Previous image remains, but now a drawing of an open laptop appears where the circle had been. The laptop is projecting a video call, with a woman’s face on the left and a man’s face on the right. The laptop shrinks and moves to the bottom of the Northern Hemisphere image. The circle with the moving file folders comes into view again, while the woman’s lips move as if talking—and the picture of the woman becomes blurred.

Narrator: “To successfully connect research assets at multiple labs, steady, consistent latency would be critical.”

Text on screen (same as narration): To successfully connect research assets at multiple labs, steady, consistent latency would be critical.

Previous image of Northern Hemisphere, with text labels, remains.

Narrator: “Now, the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems, or ARIES, platform is connecting labs across the country to simulate energy grids. But it won't work unless researchers can overcome these latency problems.”

Text on screen: Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems is connecting labs across the country to simulate energy grids.

Previous image of Northern Hemisphere zooms into the United States. Text labels identify six DOE national laboratories, with lines connecting all of them.

Narrator: “And that would mean finding a dedicated, secure end-to-end connection that also enabled consistent, near-real-time data transfer performance.”

Text on screen (similar to narration): That would mean finding a dedicated, secure end-to-end connection that also enabled consistent, near-real-time data transfer performance.

Previous image remains.

Text on screen: Coming up next, The latency fix: ESnet’s OSCARS service