Internet 2 and its 10 GB pipe take center stage at CSVA

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Internet 2 was front and center at The Collegiate Sports Video Association convention in San Diego as video coordinators look to ride the high-speed network to more quickly and easily move into digital game exchange workflows. Chris Thomas, senior network architect, UCLA Office of Information Technology, discussed how colleges and university athletic departments should work more closely with their IT departments to ensure all departments have access to Internet 2, a 10 Gbps Internet link that is shard by 200 schools.

There are two primary challenges. First, getting administrators to understand that the loop is not designed for just academics. He urged making use of a letter from the CEO of Internet 2 to CSVA that makes clear that athletic departments can use it as freely as the physics or engineering department.

“The IT department might have the opinion that you shouldn’t use Internet 2 but you need to tell them that the agreement is for university business not academic use, he added.

The second challenge is convincing the IT department to remove any bandwidth impediments, firewalls, caps on the amount of or speed at which content can be shared.

“Universities need to negotiate faster bandwidth and remove usage charges,” says Thomas. “Usage charges send the wrong message: that its bad to send a lot of data over the network.”

That’s why the Internet 2, with its high speed and no byte charges, and a commitment to adding new servers and technology to stay ahead of the usage curve is important. At the end of the day it’s about helping schools and coaches leave the public Internet behind.

“The problem with the commodity Internet is that when a company like Verizon charges $20 a month it limits the amount of equipment which limits the speed of the network,” he says. “It works fine for sending email but is too slow and congested for large file transfers.”

Thomas also discussed the central server-based game exchange system set up by the Pac-10.

“In a peer-to-peer model we would need to worry about 90 connections because there are 10 schools exchanging video,” he says. “But with a client-server approach we only need 10 connections.”

Other conferences, however, differ. The Big 10, Big 12 and SEC all use peer-to-peer models while the ACC, with six schools participating, uses File Transfer Protocol.

The server averages 1.5 TB per week of storage with an average file size of 18 GB. “With a 100 Mbps connection it takes 27 minutes to transfer a file and a Gigabit connection takes three to eight minutes,” adds Thomas. The record for the year was a 17 GB file pushed over in three minutes at an average of 700 Mbps.

Russ Hobby, Internet 2 Program Manager for Science and Engineering, says the group is working on some next-generation improvements. Dynamic bandwidth, for example, will allow users to set up dedicated bandwidth between point A and point B. Federated identities are also in the works, allowing a home institution to vouch that a user is who he or she says they are.

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