Next Generation Internet Capability Coming Soon To BU

Feb. 24, 2006

by Frank Raczkiewicz

Baylor University is one major step closer to bringing a state-of-the-art high-speed broadband Internet network connection to campus. The National LambdaRail (NLR), a group of leading U.S. research universities, has announced it has completed a nationwide fiber optic infrastructure with up to 40 individual light paths--each of which can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. Baylor will soon connect to that infrastructure, which will eventually provide the campus will all sorts of capabilities.

"When Baylor researchers compare data with other researchers across the country, it can sometimes take hours to transfer large datasets. With this, it would only take a matter of minutes because of the higher band width," said Dr. Truell Hyde, who is Baylor's vice provost for research. "If an art professor wants to show his class different art from The Louvre, for example, he can give a live video-tour without the glitches. The NLR will have a big impact on both students and faculty."

Baylor will be one of the first universities in Texas to connect to the system. The Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), of which Baylor is a member along with 33 other Texas institutions, is building a 2,100-mile network across the state that will provide connection points to the NLR for its member universities in 13 Texas cities. Baylor information technology officials said they hope to have the new Internet capability up and running on campus in a few months.

In 2002, Baylor, in partnership with Texas State Technical College, received $175,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to connect with Internet2. But because the NLR opportunity came up in time, it allowed Baylor to skip Internet2 and move directly to NLR. As a result, the new Baylor science building was outfitted with fiber-optic capability to connect to the NLR.

"Think of it like Internet3," said Dr. Reagan Ramsower, vice president for finance and administration and former chief information officer at Baylor. "Basically, this is a telecommunication network that is owned by universities across the nation without any commercial providers."

The NLR created the network by buying unused fiber optic lines laid throughout the country during the dotcom boom. Baylor lies along the proposed route of the network, which parallels I-35.

For more information, contact: Truell Hyde at (254) 710-3763 or Reagan Ramsower at (254) 710-3554.

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