New Internet2 connection boosting research
When researchers and faculty members at Mississippi's research universities and institutions switched on their computers last week, they had a new direct connection to the ultrafast Internet2 network via the new Jackson Internet2 connector site.
With more than 8 terabytes per second of potential capacity now flowing through Jackson, the Internet2 connection gives Mississippi's researchers the ability to share large sets of data with collaborators across the country and around the globe. University officials expect the enhanced connection to boost research and economic development efforts statewide.
The switchover moves the high-speed connections used to support research at Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, UM Medical Center and University of Southern Mississippi from Baton Rouge, La., to Jackson. The start-up and transfer is a joint project between the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and Internet2.
David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at MSU, said the direct connectivity to the new Internet2 point of presence in Jackson will allow for enhanced collaboration with other research universities and federal labs around the nation and the world.
"By enabling the development of new software applications, providing real-time control of remote instruments and allowing for massive data transfers more quickly and reliably than before, this enhanced capability will allow MSU to engage in new research endeavors, advance scientific discovery and promote economic development activities for the region and the state," Shaw said.
The project was made possible through expansion funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The switchover was months in planning with representatives from each institution making a case for the move. Last fall, IHL signed an agreement with Internet2.
"Connecting to the Internet2 network represents a tremendous step for Mississippi public universities, the state and its citizens," said Hank M. Bounds, IHL commissioner. "Our institutions collaborate very closely on academics and research, and improving our connectivity through Internet2 will strengthen this process. The end result is research and innovation that encourage and support economic growth and opportunities to benefit all Mississippians."
The Jackson connector site is possible because of the new Mississippi Optical Network, referred to as MissiON.
Former Gov. Haley Barbour worked with AT&T to create the network for the Mississippi Research Consortium, which includes UM, MSU, USM and JSU. The network also serves the UM Medical Center, the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg and NASA's Stennis Space Center.
"We are delighted that MissiON is now directly connected to the Internet2 Network and that these expanded capabilities of the new Internet2 network are available in Jackson," said Rob Vietzke, Internet2 vice president of network services. "The new network node dramatically improves Mississippi's ability to collaborate with hundreds of similarly connected advanced research organizations across the globe.
"MissiON, which is the 21st regional network to become a connector to the Internet2 Network, now makes it possible for Mississippi Research Consortium members to use our newly upgraded 100G network -- the nation's fastest, coast-to-coast network -- to implement new technologies that support scientific 'big data' and cloud applications to drive innovation involving clean energy, cancer cures, astronomy and other important global collaborative research."