Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

Mississippi Plans Broadband Network for 4 Research Universities

on August 22, 2011
Mississippi's state flower, the magnolia.

By the end of the year, members of the Mississippi Research Consortium will be able to transfer data from research projects faster on a new fiber-optic network.

The consortium includes four universities: the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Jackson State University.

Other consortium members include the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Mississippi Department of Information Technology, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Stennis Space Center.

These organizations do cutting-edge research that requires more super computing power than they currently have, said Felix Okojie, the chair of the consortium as well as vice president of research and professor of public health and education at Jackson State University.

"This fiber-optic network is really intended to give us more super computing power," Okojie said. "By having this, we'll be able to move terabytes of data across the different universities and across different collaborative partners."

And it will also provide the infrastructure that faculty need to be competitive. Because of network limitations, faculty members haven't been able to answer some requests for proposals.

The MissiON network will give universities 20 times more broadband capacity than they have now. That increased capacity will help faculty be more competitive when they answer requests for proposals and share information quickly with their research partners.

The $16 million state research network will be covered under Mississippi's existing contract with AT&T, who collaborated with the state on the project.

"This is something that we've been waiting for," he said, "and we are really excited."



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