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Tech U: Research on the Rails

As their network connections to the Internet and business partners become increasingly bandwidth-intensive, corporations continue to buy and upgrade, enriching only their service providers. And for their most vital business partners, point-to-point networks are provisioned to ensure reliable performance, again at a higher cost.


Although precious few companies are in a position to deploy and manage their own business networks, educational and government research institutions have bandwidth and performance requirements that go beyond what commercial network providers can supply at reasonable prices. The retail cost for enough bandwidth to handle the data transfers needed for research and experimentation would bankrupt most institutions.

Tech University

We went back to school at universities nationwide and found cutting-edge networking, wireless, and security projects that businesses would do well to study.

Introduction: Tomorrow's IT Challenges Today
Network Infrastructure: Research on the Rails
Wireless: Compressed Air
Security: Taming the Masses
Messaging & Collaboration: The World Is Our Campus

Enterprise Apps: Sims on Steroids
Storage & Servers: The Real Big Apple

In response, universities and nonprofits have formed consortia to purchase dark fiber access and build high-speed metropolitan, regional and national optical networks. In addition to 10-Gbps IP network connections, these fiber paths can carry diverse (non-IP) traffic, a capability few conventional ISPs offer. Even better for researchers, the collapse of the telecom market meant much of this fiber could be purchased at deeply discounted rates.

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