Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( November 18, 1998)
Internet 2--- Speeding Up the Information Superhighway
SDSM& T is joining the next generation Internet that will leaving non- participants in the cyberspace dust! The new, high- speed connection will move SDSM& T into the fast lane of the information superhighway. The change in network speed is akin to switching from a moped to a turbo- charged race car on the Interstate highway!
The National Science Foundation ( NSF) recently selected SDSM& T as one of the approximately 150 research universities around the nation to be connected to Internet 2. South Dakota Tech joins a very prestigious group. These 150 universities with Internet 2 connections represent only 4% of the approximately 3,600 higher education institutions in the United States.
SDSM& T will soon be connected to this new high speed, high- capacity fiber- optic network. This high- speed connection means that scientists at SDSM& T will have the capacity to transmit large amounts of research data and also have “ real- time” video interactions with their colleagues located elsewhere in the nation. The connection to Internet 2 provides SDSM& T with a capacity approximately 30 times greater than the current network for sending information electronically.
“ This enhanced connectivity will allow us to communicate and share equipment and resources in new ways,” says Katherine “ Kata” McCarville, SDSM& T Director of Instructional Technology Services. “ Internet 2 is at the forefront of developing applications that will push the technology network forward to support them.”
The current Internet, which began as a research tool, does not have the “ bandwidth” or capacity to transmit the huge amounts of data and graphics that many teachers and research scientists need. Much like a traffic jam on the freeway, today’s Internet often gets bogged down in handling millions of daily electronic transmissions.
This congestion stems from the explosive growth in using the Internet for everything from e- mail and electronic commerce to surfing the World Wide Web and playing video games. According to a recent survey by Nielsen Media Research and Communications, more than 1/ 3 of U. S. adults ( 70.5 million) now use the Internet— an increase of 340% in the past three years!
Internet 2 is a partnership among higher education, industry and government that is developing advanced technology and Internet applications to meet the research needs and education missions of higher education. Participants in Internet 2 are members of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, which provides leadership and direction for advanced networking development within the U. S. university community. Corporate partners include 3Com, Advanced Network & Services, AT& T, Bay Networks, Cabletron, Cisco, FORE Systems, IBM, Lucent, MCI, Newbridge Networks, Qwest, Nortel and Starburst Communications.
Just as today’s existing Internet stemmed from investments in federal and academic research networks of the 1980s, the development of Internet 2 by universities, in collaboration with industry and government, will result in a new generation of Internet applications and commercial uses that will benefit all society. Internet 2 will not replace the current Internet but rather is a parallel network.
In addition to a dramatic increase in speed from the current Internet, another important advantage of Internet 2 to researchers and higher education is that Internet 2 allows for data transmissions to be sorted and prioritized. Bandwidth can be reserved on the Internet 2 network, which can then make possible “ real- time” applications, including video presentations and medical imaging.
Access to this high speed high- capacity network, researchers will be able to collaborate with their scientific colleagues in other geographic locations and share large amounts of data, including three- dimensional graphics. Applications are currently being developed to provide the capability to operate complex equipment, including high- tech imaging devices, from remote sites. This advanced research and education network offers tremendous potential to be applied in a myriad of ways— virtual laboratories, digital libraries ( with real- time sound and video), telemedicine in rural, medically underserved areas, and distance education.
Connectivity to this heavy duty computer networking infrastructure has very important economic development ramifications for attracting more high- tech businesses to South Dakota. Future SDSM& T graduates will have experience in utilizing the applications of the new technologies. Faculty members will be accessible for consulting work that involves these advanced data transmissions, which can in turn drive the demand for networking infrastructure into the commercialization phase.
As new applications for scientific research, telemedicine, and education are developed, a ripple effect will occur, leading to increased private sector demand for high speed connections. Regular Internet service providers experienced a similar ripple effect the past few years. This can drive the private sector need for advanced networking services to a point where the high speed, broader bandwidth will eventually become the common denominator for commercial connectivity.
SDSM& T’s connection to this next generation Internet network offers tremendous potential for expanding and enhancing distance education programs in South Dakota. The higher education institutions in South Dakota will have greater opportunities to share faculty expertise and also offer students access to courses otherwise not available to them. This can result in enhanced academic opportunities and greater collaboration within the South Dakota higher education system.
Funding from the National Science Foundation ( NSF) has been instrumental in the effort to connect SDSM& T to high bandwidth networks. An NSF EPSCoR ( Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) grant provided $ 1.4 million for the Great Plains Networking Consortium to build a high bandwidth pipeline connecting universities in the six Great Plains states from North Dakota to Arkansas. SDSM& T, along with South Dakota State University ( SDSU) and the University of South Dakota ( USD), are members of the Great Plains Networking Consortium. Through the grant, a “ drop point” was provided in each of the six states to connect to the network pipeline. The EROS Data Center serves as the drop point in South Dakota.
“ The Great Plains Network will play a key role in leveling the playing field for the scientists in this region,” stated Royce Engstrom, EPSCoR project director. “ Our researchers will have access to the same computing resources as scientists in the rest of the country.” The Internet 2 program is focused on developing applications that require or take advantage of high speed high- capacity network connectivity. The new national network for education and research that is being put in place to support these applications is being deployed in two modes— the vBNS and Abilene networks.
The DakotaLink project, which NSF also approved for funding, will connect the EPSCoR universities in North and South Dakota ( SDSM& T, SDSU, USD, UND and NDSU) through the EROS Data Center, and eventually have access to both the very high performance Backbone Network Service ( vBNS) and Abilene. This high capacity network allows scientists and engineers to collect and share vast amounts of data, collaborate better across large distances, and run complex equipment remotely.
The NSF grant will provide SDSM& T, SDSU and USD with DS- 3 fiber optic connections to the high speed computer- networking infrastructure. A DS- 3 pipe connection can handle 328 mbps, which is equivalent to 328,000,000 bits per second. This means SDSM& T researchers and students now will be able to send and receive data more than 200 times faster than the 1,540,000 bits per second capability of the current T- 1 connection! In comparison to the average modem of a home computer operating from 28,800 to 56,600 bits per second, the speed of the new DS- 3 connection will be 6,000 to 11,000 times greater!
In addition to NSF funds underwriting the cost of the intercampus connections to the new high speed electronic network, SDSM& T is providing an equivalent match to its share of the NSF grant. SDSM& T’s matching funds are being used to improve the access of researchers, professors and students to the network. These efforts include acquiring faster routers, as well as installing fiber- optic cable within and between campus buildings.
The connection to Internet 2 will transform higher education in South Dakota by reaching new markets and fostering collaboration between research institutions that are geographically scattered. A few examples of current SDSM& T research activities that will immediately benefit from this new capability to quickly transmit large amounts of data include the Upper Missouri River Basin project, three- dimensional depictions of virtual mines, and weather models used by the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences.
SDSM& T’s connection to Internet 2 will open the electronic floodgates for the university. The high performance networks linking powerful computers and vast databases will usher in a new age of scientific exploration as students and faculty zip along the information superhighway at the speed of light. Overcoming geographic barriers, the new high speed network will zap SDSM& T to the forefront of leading- edge research on the next generation Internet.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.