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Lightpath Service

A Lightpath is a dedicated, high-bandwidth end-to-end communication that provides effective bandwidth over great geographical distances, where available.


This ongoing program allows researchers to request and obtain dedicated CANARIE network infrastructure resources to build their own networks.

Researchers rely on the dedicated bandwidth of a Lightpath to supply them with the lowest latency and jitter and/or increased security that traditional network connections cannot provide.

Typically, anyone can request a Lightpath for the following purposes:

  • To perform research
  • To perform demos, and/or
  • To provide route diversity to organizations

Lightpaths have been used to:

  • Achieve dedicated end-to-end QoS and high volume data transfers such as computing grids
  • Interconnect institutes across the country into a private network
  • Create dedicated end-to-end infrastructure for an international research project to carry out development and demonstration activities

For ease of Lightpath allocation management, two Lightpath types have been defined, based on duration:

  • Production (required for a period greater than eight (8) weeks)
  • Demo (required for a period of eight (8) weeks or less)

How to Get a Lightpath

Lightpath requests will be coordinated by a CANARIE Network Services Coordinator. The Network Services Coordinator will normally contact the Lightpath Applicant within three (3) business days of receiving a duly filled out Lightpath Request Form below, to confirm the requirement, discuss the details of the request, and communicate costs if applicable. To the extent possible, Lightpath requests which meet all the requirements will be processed and implemented by the Network Services Coordinator.

Lightpath Request Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate to the satisfaction of CANARIE that their organization/team:

  • Has a genuine need of the bandwidth, QoS, or other characteristic that 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
  • Is in the process of making arrangements with the applicable Regional Advanced Network (RAN) for the provision of matching equivalent Lightpath across the RAN and campus

Request a Lightpath


    Regional Advanced Network (RAN) Role

    In principle, the CANARIE Network portion of Lightpaths are to be provisioned from RAN to RAN or from RAN to international network. Coordination with RANs and RAN engineering is required for Lightpath provisioning and RANs may charge fees for equipment, engineering, and co-located space. In certain cases, with RAN approval, 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 attributable to the requirement for additional CANARIE Network interfaces and/or local loops. For demo Lightpaths (short term), where available, CANARIE may provide interface cards and/or local loops.

    Requests from the US, Europe, or Asia

    Upfront payment of CANARIE’s avoided cost is required for production Lightpath requests (long term) between two endpoints outside of Canada. Short term requests for Lightpaths between two endpoints outside of Canada will be done on a best efforts basis but may be pre-empted by Canadian research needs. Requests for Lightpaths where one end terminates within Canada will be treated in the same manner as requests for Lightpaths where both ends terminate in Canada.

    Right to Pre-empt

    Applicants must acknowledge that CANARIE has the right to pre-empt a Lightpath or reduce the Lightpath 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

    Related Resources/Documents

    Lightpath Reporting Guidelines

    Sample Lightpath Memorandum of Understanding