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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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04/30/2006 - Spokane Will Work with Seattle at Light Speed

Forget Interstate-90 mud slides and crowded airport security lines. The Pacific Northwest GigaPop (PNWGP), a 10-gigabit Ethernet information superhighway, is extending its presence in Eastern Washington.

The initiative, which will be in production in 2007, will make the trip from Eastern Washington to Seattle -- and on to Australia and the Pacific Rim -- no trip at all. The development will provide the vastly connected Eastern Washington region even greater access and bandwidth across the Pacific Northwest, making vital research and education collaborations a real-time reality.

The Pacific Northwest GigaPop network, a nonprofit organization operated by the University of Washington, enables its members to collaborate on a national and international level and supports new product development. Via the GigaPop network, Eastern Washington can extend its proven collaboration and project successes to the west side of the Cascades.

The road to GigaPop started in 2002 when Avista Utilities recognized its ability to put to use a wealth of underutilized fiber as a catalyst for education, research and economic development. Scott Morris, president of Avista Utilities, leaders from Eastern Washington University, Whitworth College and others in Eastern Washington envisioned utilizing the fiber asset (a $1.3 million contribution from Avista) as a private Internet for member-to-member collaboration in research, education, and business incubation. This vision was the genesis of the Virtual Possibilities Network (VPnet), which launched in September 2004.

The PNWGP provides connectivity to leading edge national and international communications fabric in the Pacific Northwest. It connects with Pacific LightRail, Internet2/Abilene, high performance federal networks (DID, NIH, NSF, etc.), and it is the peer-to-peer point for Pacific Rim, Canadian, and European networks.

The Eastern Washington Regional Gigapop (EWG) will link the region to these high performance networks, and the National LambdaRail (NLR). The NLR is a consortium of leading U. S. research universities and private sector technology companies who are creating a national networking infrastructure for network-based research. The NLR will enable applications in science, engineering, and medicine. The LambdaRail gets its name from “Lambdas” which are specific light wavelengths transmitted over optical fibers. Optical networks which use a technology called Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) are based on many Lambdas, so that DWDM allows transmission of up to forty simultaneous data streams on forty separate wavelengths simultaneously. Each of these wavelengths is capable of transmitting 10 gigabits of data per second. This is about 200,000 times the speed of a dial-up Internet connection.

The EWG will begin with the deployment of a two-strand, 10 Gigabit link from Spokane to the Pacific Northwest Gigapop in Seattle’s Westin Building. The two strands of fiber, carrying one lambda, will be easily and cost effectively expandable by multiples of ten gigabits as demand grows. Today’s technology allows up to 40 channels to be allocated.

Uses for the Gigapop are limited only by the imagination. Possible applications include international education and scientific collaboration, music collaborations, film colorization, and collaborative medical research. New projects, like new technologies, protocols, services and applications, can be developed in this region and evaluated by academic and federal research institutions thousands of miles away.

 
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