Lightpath Service

A Lightpath is a dedicated, high-bandwidth, end-to-end connection on the CANARIE Network. Researchers rely on the dedicated bandwidth of a Lightpath for the most secure and resilient network connections available for conducting ongoing research or performing demos. Lightpaths also add route diversity to organizations that are already connected to the National Research and Education Network (NREN).

Lightpaths have been used to:

  • Acquire dedicated end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) and high-volume data transfers across computing grids
  • Interconnect research facilities across the country within a private network
  • Create dedicated end-to-end infrastructure for an international research project so that it can carry out development and demonstration activities

Two types of Lightpaths are available:

  • Production: required for greater than eight (8) weeks
  • Demonstration: required for eight (8) weeks or less

Role of NREN Partners

In principle, the CANARIE Network portion of Lightpaths are provisioned between NREN partners or from an NREN partner to an international network. Lightpath provisioning requires coordination with NREN partners and their engineering teams; NREN partners may charge fees for equipment, time, and co-located space. In certain cases, with approval from the NREN partner, Lightpath applicants may connect directly to a CANARIE Network node.


Applicants are responsible for the incremental infrastructure costs associated with the provisioning of Lightpaths across the CANARIE Network. These costs may be attributed to additional CANARIE Network interfaces and/or local loops. For Demonstration Lightpaths, CANARIE may provide interface cards and/or local loops, based on availability.

Requests from the US, Europe, or Asia

For Lightpaths terminating in Canada:

Requests for Lightpaths where one end terminates within Canada are processed as if both ends terminate in Canada. Please see above.

For endpoints outside of Canada:

Production Lightpaths: Upfront payment of CANARIE’s avoided cost is required.

Demonstration Lightpaths: Completed on best-effort basis; pre-empted by Canadian research needs.

Request a Lightpath

To be approved for a Lightpath, applicants must demonstrate that their organization/team:

  • Has a genuine need for the bandwidth, QoS, or other benefit that only a dedicated Lightpath will provide;
  • Has a well-developed plan of how to take advantage of the bandwidth, including details on what operating system kernels, device drivers, network protocols, and protocol stack tuning strategies will be used; and
  • Is in the process of making arrangements with their respective provincial NREN partner for providing a matching, equivalent Lightpath from the NREN partner to the requested campus.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Right to Pre-empt

Applicants must acknowledge that CANARIE has the right to pre-empt a Lightpath, reduce its capacity (with suitable notice), or charge the Applicant for the Lightpath at cost, if:

  • The Lightpath is underused or inactive
  • Lightpath demand across the CANARIE Network exceeds available capacity, across a given segment, at a given time

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