Internet network accelerates

IUS Horizon

During the first week of the fall semester, the Internet network was so full that it became radically sluggish.

People couldn’t log into their computers while others couldn’t surf the Internet at fast speeds. This is one reason the IUS network is about to get a speed boost from a program called i-Light.

It’s a fiber optic network linking the IU campuses across the state. This network sends information at the speed of light.

Lindsay Edwards, journalism freshman, browses the Internet at noon, a peak time for network activity and a typical time for sluggish Internet speeds.
Lindsay Edwards, journalism freshman, browses the Internet at noon, a peak time for network activity and a typical time for sluggish Internet speeds.

Tom Prinz, interim director of IT Support and Communications, said this network connection will speed the Internet up by 200 percent.

“We’re connected to Bloomington at 45 megabits per second,” Prinz said. “With i-Light, we’ll be moving along with the rest of the state at 10 gigabits per second.”

He also said we’re one of the last campuses to be added to the faster network. He said people are running a cable from here to a node in Sellersburg.

Larry Mand, vice chancellor of Information Technology, said he estimates the connection to be completed by the end of September.

I-Light itself is a group from Purdue and Indiana University. Mand said they were appointed by the governor to set their high-speed network in place.

He also said the process started last year when IU Southeast requested to be included in the i-Light loop.

“It cost about $10 million to complete the last mile legislation,” Mand said. “We worked through the spring to ensure we were included. The legislature confirmed us in April.”

Then a request for proposal was made for companies to run the fiber optic cable. The winning bidder was selected and the legislature provided $250,000 to connect IU Southeast to the node in Sellersburg.

When it comes to speed, i-Light will enable students to download large sets of data. It could send the written contents of the IUS library to another campus in a matter of seconds.

Mand said the campus won’t be restrained by location. “Students can pursue research that would be hampered by time and cost of travel. It also provides teachers with the kinds of info they need to be teaching.”

Until the i-Light system is connected, heavy campus Internet traffic may hamper network speed.

In the meantime, Mand said IU Southeast is requesting a second DS3 circuit to double the bandwidth. When i-Light is implemented, these two circuits will serve as backup in case the main system goes down.

He also said the university is trying to limit traffic during peak Internet usage times. These times are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We told faculty not to do anything unnecessary,” Mand said. “Downloading songs and listening to internet radio can wait until later when they won’t strain the system.”

John Petrysian, coordinator of Network Services, said the IUS phone system accesses the network as well. It’s called Voice-Over IP.

The VOIP system uses the network to keep all the phones connected, mostly on a one-way basis. Petrysian said, for instance, the police could communicate through all the phones in an emergency.

He also said this system takes up so little bandwidth that it doesn’t put a strain on the system.

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred at a certain speed.

Internet and VOIP usage isn’t the only thing filling up the network.

Danny Clements, Help Desk lead and business senior, said there have been incidents of file sharing, which takes up a lot of bandwidth and slows the network down. He said these file sharers were stopped.

File sharing Web sites include Lime Wire and BitTorrent.

Clements also said wireless Internet connections won’t provide the high speeds that wired connections do.

He said the wireless network stretches all over campus, including to the residence lodges. Anyone logging into the wireless network for the first time must download IUsecure.

Clements also said the wired, personal computers in the residence lodges no longer require the user to log in every time they use it. “We found an optimal setting where everyone is safe, but not inconvenienced,” he said.

By JOSEPH DEVER
Staff Writer
jwdever@ius.edu