A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Internet2 Fall Member Meeting in Atlanta, here’s a brief summary of the highlights.
Merit Networks BTOP funding –
This year Merit Networks, the provider of statewide research and education networking in Michigan, received $69.6 million in BTOP stimulus funding for broadband development projects in the State of Michigan. As part of the Merit REACH-3MC infrastructure build in the Upper Peninsula, their fiber route takes them approximately 10 miles from the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC). The UNDERC facility is a biological research station, situated on 7,500 acres bordering the Upper Peninsula or Michigan and Wisconsin. In addition to our biology department conducting research at UNDERC, faculty and students from the University of Wisconsin also participate in Summer research programs. Years ago, I lead the Network Engineering team to work with the local CLEC, UP Phone Company, to install a DSLAM and DSL service to the property, as an upgrade to the existing slow satellite link, and a huge cost savings off the proposed T1 from Verizon.
So, we’re having Merit give this a first look for feasibility. This may lead to a more detailed study on what’s involved, including costs to connect the UNDERC facility to the Merit backbone for high speed Internet2 research connectivity as well as commodity Internet.
IPTV and Research Channel Working Group –
For years I’ve been involved in the Research Channel Working Group and this was a great opportunity to catch up on the activities of the group. The team is primarily focused around big bandwidth video initiatives, like HighDef, ConferenceXP and DVTS. In addition, the IPTV Working Group, chaired by Walt Magnussen (Texas A&M), had a meeting to discuss an IPTV trial over Internet2. This is something in which Notre Dame should participate, since we are in good shape on the network side of things, including IP Multicast. The initial plan is small scale, about 8-10 channels, delivered to about 15 universities, and only about 15-20 locations per campus. Definitely something worth exploring.
African and Caribbean Special Interest Groups –
These meetings were centered around the development of research and education networks and Internet connectivity in their respective regions. With our work in Uganda, we are already well aware and have recommended Uganda Martyrs University joining and connecting to the Research and Education Network of Uganda (RENU). Improved Internet and communications connectivity is crucial to the growth of the Ford Family Program in Human Development and Solidarity, as their biggest desire at this point is to conduct reliable videoconferencing and communications. The same issues apply to the ND Haiti Program and their drive towards telemedicine, using videoconferencing links between Leogane, Haiti – Notre Dame – Rochester General Hospital. I’ve gathered some good information to move forward on both fronts here.
Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group –
I presented on a couple of “big video” events we’ve conducted the last several years – the DVTS video collaboration with Tsinghua University and the USC Master Class we worked on last year, using DVTS. Specifically, the relevance of these events and impact on the teaching and learning environment. This was a great chance for us to showcase our work with China a few years ago. My presentation generated many questions and contacts of other institutions that would like to work with Notre Dame on future video collaborations.
Finally, it was good to reengage the Internet2 community, as we’ve been somewhat absent at the table the last few years. Especially as we focus more of our efforts on supporting and assisting the Notre Dame research community, while still maintaining our stellar undergraduate environment.