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Oklahoma Research Initiatives Power Up Through 100G Connectivity

January 3, 2017

Oklahoma’s research organizations are performing world-class experiments. From crucial weather radar data to the human genome, the state’s brightest minds are shaping the future of Oklahoma and the world. But high-level research isn’t just lab coats and test tubes; the data generated by experiments at Oklahoma’s high-level research facilities requires supercomputing speeds for processing large datasets and collaborating with researchers across the globe. As Oklahoma’s partner for digital education, OneNet is able to provide these organizations with a connection to Internet2, the fastest nationwide connectivity dedicated to research.

Internet2 is a member-owned advanced technology community that operates the nation’s largest and fastest, coast-to-coast research and education network and also operates trust, identity and cloud service programs. OneNet has provided Internet2 connectivity for the state since 1999. In 2012 OneNet was the first to connect to Internet2’s newly deployed 100 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) network, and in 2015 OneNet connected its own 100Gbps fiber ring to the Internet2 network. This gives The University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman, Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater and Oklahoma State University-Tulsa a 100Gbps fiber connection that is linked to Internet2’s nationwide research network.

All of Oklahoma’s educational institutions, including K-12s, higher education, career techs and even research organizations like GE Global Research, benefit from the greater bandwidth and speeds offered through the 100Gbps network. However, this connection is specifically beneficial, because it allows researchers to transfer and receive high-volume data without slowing speeds across the rest of their institution’s network. Without this dedicated research network, high-level experiments would be impossible.

“The Internet2 community, through partners like OneNet, offers a dedicated foundation that facilitates access, sharing and collaboration of huge volumes of research and education data,” said Internet2 Vice President for Network Services, Rob Vietzke. “A dedicated ultra-high performance research network is one of the ways we are able to remove barriers and accelerate discovery and collaboration among our global community.”

Researchers at OSU rely on Internet2 connectivity for processing massive amounts of data and transmitting it across the nation. Bioinformatics research allows researchers to make assumptions about massive datasets without having to individually track each data point. This allows scientists to efficiently map the human genome and perform other groundbreaking experiments. Scientists at OSU frequently collaborate with researchers across the country, and processing massive data like this is only possible through OneNet’s partnership with Internet2.

OneNet’s participation with Internet2 keeps Oklahoma’s research institutes from having to develop their own costly connections to facilitate research. The size of Internet2 has led to a nationwide peering collaboration that lowers costs for OneNet and the organizations it serves. Without Internet2, OneNet would have to purchase massive bandwidths from commercial providers, which would drive up costs for everyone. Because Internet2 membership is only open to research networks, commercial providers would not be able to provide these universities with the same comprehensive connectivity at such a low rate.

“At Internet2 we know that the research and education community’s needs are unique. Our role is to facilitate the community in finding solutions,” said Internet2 president and CEO, David Lambert. “The power of community is having the ability to combine resources to develop innovative new solutions to these unique challenges.”

Oklahoma’s Internet2 connection has enabled dozens of grants and created numerous programs that total millions of dollars for research within Oklahoma. Internet2 connections aided OU’s efforts to become a center of atmospheric research and also power the National Weather Center in Norman. Without a dedicated research connection, these high-level projects would not be possible and research initiatives would be stifled.

“OneNet’s role as Oklahoma’s digital partner in research and education is to empower organizations to use their connectivity to engage individuals, communities and our world,” said OneNet Executive Director Vonley Royal. “Our partnership with Internet2 gives our brightest researchers the resources needed to do that.”

In a digital age, fast, reliable connectivity is the foundation for the groundbreaking research initiatives taking place in Oklahoma. OneNet’s partnership with Internet2 allows research universities to pursue projects and grants with confidence, creating a legacy of innovation.

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