One-hundred-gigabit internet — yes, 100 times faster than the 1-gigabit internet area residents are clamoring for these days — is now up and running on the Kansas University campus.
KU completed its 100-gigabit network in recent weeks, after testing since early June, said David Day, director of IT external affairs at KU.
The super-high-speed offering is not available everywhere on campus, but rather to select areas that need it, such as researchers who amass big-data — and need to transmit that data to partners in other states or even other countries.
“Typically most people, personally and even as a university, are transferring kilobytes and megabytes, and in some cases a gigabyte or two,” Day said. “Some of our researchers are transferring terabytes of information to their colleagues at other institutions, and that’s a lot.”
KU is the first institution in Kansas to implement a 100-gigabit internet network, KU Chief Information Officer Bob Lim said. He said KU Medical Center, Kansas State University and Wichita State University plan to implement it later.
However, peer institutions in surrounding states — Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska — and all five of KU’s aspirational peer institutions already have it, making Kansas the last in that bunch to deploy 100-gigabit internet, Lim said.
Lim said the holdup for KU has been cost and prioritizing the 100-gigabit network with other “high-priority” IT needs.
Launching the network included replacing equipment that had reached the end of its life with higher-capacity equipment, which helped curb some implementation costs. Lim said there would be future recurring costs to maintain the network but declined to specify an amount at this time.
KU has had 1-gigabit Internet connections to all its buildings except residence halls for several years and 10-gigabit connections in at least eight buildings since 2014.
The 100-gigabit internet is not deployed to individual computers and workstations, but rather enables big-data stored on servers to be transferred to other servers, Day said.
The KU-based Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, or CReSIS, will be one of the new network's main users.
CReSIS collaborates with Indiana University on processing of data — in the magnitude of hundreds of terabytes — gleaned from Greenland and Antarctica, said Riley Epperson, CReSIS IT engineer.
"This will allow faster transfer times, and allow our researchers to process the data faster," Epperson said. "The new 100-gigabit network also allows our data products to be downloaded faster, which are used all over the world for glacier and climate change research papers."
The new 100-gigabit network amps up KU’s connection to “Internet2,” which Day described as “a collaborative research and educational environment focused on solving technological problems and developing innovative solutions.”
Already on Internet2 are 317 U.S. institutions of higher education, 81 leading corporations, 64 affiliate and federal affiliate members, 43 regional and state education networks and more than 65 national research and education partners in more than 100 other countries, according to Day.
KU having 100-gigabit capability is important to the state of Kansas, Lim said.
It helps the university compete as a research institution, and some research grants even require a school to have 100-gigabit capability, he said.
“We collaborate not only around the country but around the world as well,” Lim said. “It’s extremely important that the bandwidth is large. Most of the data that we’re dealing with ... if you don’t have a large enough pipe to our colleagues, our research partners, your ability to do research is limited.”