University of Arkansas Gets Fastest Internet Connection in the State

University of Arkansas Gets Fastest Internet Connection in the State
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- This month, the University of Arkansas joined the most prestigious research institutions in the nation with a new 100-gigabit connection to the internet, ten times the speed and reliability of the previous 10 gigabits per second.

The increase in network capacity allows for more high-level research and puts the university on the map to compete for grants and attract researchers from around the globe, while still serving the everyday needs of students, faculty and staff.

The new connection, implemented on the campus network August 10, was made possible by a $496,948 National Science Foundation grant from the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Division to the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON).

An expanded internet connection not only allows for faster video streaming and web conferencing, it also makes it possible for more University of Arkansas researchers to receive funding and support from institutions like the National Science Foundation. University of Arkansas researchers received over $101 million in external grants last year, and the 100-gigabit connection to regional and national networks will lead to increased funding for researchers across campus.

"The Internet2 network will not only support advancements in research opportunities in Arkansas, but it will also create and foster an environment of collaboration with colleagues and other researchers both nationally and globally," said Steven Fulkerson, ARE-ON executive director. "I am extremely excited as 100 gigabit advanced networking capabilities now puts Arkansas on a level playing field with other states to better attract top notch researchers."

University of Arkansas computer scientist Matt Patitz was recently awarded a $500,000 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. His research, related to theoretical and computational modeling of molecular self-assembling systems, is in its infancy.

"The NSF's support for high-risk, high-reward research is imperative, and such forward-thinking investment in areas like this one are what make it possible for researchers like me to broaden new avenues of research," Patitz said. "Without support from the NSF, this field would be many years behind its current pace, and at worst it may not exist at all."

Like many University of Arkansas researchers, biological anthropologist Claire Terhune works with other scientists at universities around the country. A better internet connection allows for the instant exchange of files and ideas. The National Science Foundation recently granted $219,000 to Terhune and her colleagues to study the way skull and jaw anatomy affects the health of 16 primate species, including humans.

"I share and download very large datasets (3D scans or CT scans of specimens) extensively with my colleagues. Having a faster network connection would decrease the amount of time it takes for files to upload and download," Terhune said.

With the improved internet connection, the University of Arkansas can better provide the resources needed for students, faculty and staff to stay connected and engage in learning 24/7/365.

"This project is a significant expansion of the campus network connectivity," said Elon Turner, director of infrastructure. "The internet is a critical utility for the campus students, faculty and staff. We're fortunate as an institution to have been able to stay ahead of the campus demand for bandwidth as other schools struggle to keep up. The demand is even more intense now as the cloud technology trend accelerates. With this 100 gigabit per second internet connection, no one is in competition for this critical resource."

Contacts

Erin C. Griffin, content strategy and IA specialist
Information Technology Services
479-575-2901, ecgriff@uark.edu

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