Pacific Northwest Gigapop


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WSU Connects to GigaPoP and Internet2

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University has established a connection to the next
generation communications network known as Internet2. This very-high-speed network is a
collective effort of more than 150 U.S. universities, the federal government and private industry.
The Internet2 connection is accomplished over fiber-optic circuits and is approximately 1,500
times faster than a typical dialup modem connection. The connection will greatly enhance
transmission of data for a variety of applications critical to higher education and research.
WSU President Sam Smith said the Internet2 connection is another significant advance in
the university’s use of technology. “With WSU’s established reputation in technology support,
notably Yahoo’s designation as the ‘most wired’ state university in the country, the Internet2
connection opens even more doors for students, faculty and researchers in their use and
application of advanced networking technologies.”

WSU connected to Internet2 via the Pacific Northwest GigaPoP, operated by the University
of Washington, on May 25. A GigaPoP, or gigabit point-of-presence, is a facility that allows for
the regional connection of several participating organizations to a number of national
high-performance backbone networks as well as test-bed networks for leading-edge research on network technology.

The connection was made possible through a collaboration of technical staff at the UW and
at WSU. Funding was provided in part by a supporting grant from the National Science
Foundation’s High Performance Connections Program. An additional grant from Cisco Corp.
helped defray the cost of specialized equipment.

WSU’s high-performance connection will allow researchers and educators to collaborate
with peers at other institutions and national or corporate research laboratories that are
participants in the Internet2 project and have high-performance connections.
WSU researchers in astronomy, biochemistry, biophysics, electrical engineering, computer
science, materials science, physics and other disciplines have applications that can benefit from
a high-performance network connection.

One research example is the remote use of the Apache Point Observatory telescope in New
Mexico from WSU’s Pullman campus. The network connection is used to send control information to the telescope and to receive images back. This remote observation reduces travel time and expense and allows more efficient scheduling of time on the telescope.

Other research activities include access to supercomputing centers, scientific visualization,
transfers of large data files, remote data acquisition, virtual laboratories, interactive simulations, and the transmission of digital video for research and education.

Participants in the Pacific Northwest GigaPoP also include the University of Idaho, Montana
State University, the University of Alaska, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Children’s Hospital and Research Medical Center,
Microsoft Research and the Washington State K-20 Network. Currently only WSU, UW and
NOAA-PMEL have working connections to the GigaPoP.

Amy Philipson