The ground network in California connects Caltech with JPL, the site of the satellite ground station. This portion of the network was established as part of Pacific Bell's extant fiber optic network. Due to the integrated nature of Caltech and JPL, the only infrastructure required to establish this physical connection was the installation of a fiber optic line from the Caltech backbone to the remote observing room in the astronomy building. Existing available bandwidth between Caltech and JPL well exceeded our requirements. This segment of the network has been extremely stable, remaining reliable and unchanged for the duration of our experiment.
The ground network in Hawaii has been somewhat more complex in its evolution, primarily due to the relative inexperience of GTE Hawaiian Telephone, as compared to PacBell in California, and a lack of prior infrastructure in Hawaii. The first segment of the Hawaii network consisted of undersea optical fiber connecting the satellite ground station in Honolulu to the GTE Hawaiian Telephone office on the big island of Hawaii. Although already in existence, this fiber had been installed less than a year before our project began. The next segment of the network utilized microwave antennae to reach across the big island of Hawaii to Hale Pohaku, at the 9,000-foot level on Mauna Kea (see Figure 3a.). At that time, fiber optic cable had not yet been installed in these relatively remote areas. As we shall show, the introduction of the higher bit error rates (BER) of this non-fiber segment produced noticeable instability in the end-to-end network. Fortunately, in January of 1997 this portion of the ground network in Hawaii was upgraded to optical fiber. The improved performance for high-speed data transfers of the final all-fiber network was immediately apparent. The final segment of the Hawaii network, from Hale Pohaku to the telescope dome on the summit of Mauna Kea, employed pre-existing fiber optic cable. Figure 4 illustrates the final network configurations in Hawaii and California.