By David Caldwell, Director of Network Services
Network traffic destined for off-campus destinations can travel along several different pathways once the traffic leaves the boundaries of the campus network. Besides the normal commodity Internet connections, traffic from UT Arlington bound to some sites will end up traversing either the National Lambda Rail (NLR) PacketNet or the Internet 2 Abilene network systems. Both of the NLR PacketNet and the Internet 2 Abilene networks offer nationwide high-speed backbone services to member institutions.
The Internet 2 Abilene Network is primarily organized around the concept of connecting regional network aggregations points, typically referred to as Gigapops, to provide advanced network services to the Gigapop members. UT Arlington is a charter member of the North Texas Gigapop (NTG). This is where any UT Arlington traffic bound for, or coming from, the Abilene network is transferred. The other members of the NTG are the University of North Texas, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Christian University, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Southern Methodist University, and the Southern Regional Branch of the National Weather Service.
Participation in the NLR is primarily organized around the concept of connecting state or regional research and education network organizations. UT Arlington is one of the 33 charter member institutions of the Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN). LEARN is the state´s new optical fiber network, originally funded in September 2004, which is continually being expanded to provide high-speed connectivity between member institutions as well as to research networks across the country in support of higher education´s research, teaching, health care, and public service missions.
Both Internet 2 and NLR provide advanced networking capabilities for use by the nation´s research and education community. In the case of the Internet 2 network, the fiber backbone is leased from a commercial entity while the focus of the NLR network was to create an infrastructure that is owned and controlled by the research community. Currently, an effort is underway to merge these two organizations in hopes of consolidating the enhanced capabilities each group possesses while providing cost reductions to the communities they serve.
For more detailed and current information concerning NTG, LEARN, Internet 2, NLR, and the proposed merger please visit the following sites.
North Texas Gigapop
LoneStar Education and Research Network
National Lambda Rail