SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s participation in the $130,000+ Pennsylvania Research and Education Network, which will bring more than 4,000 miles of fiber optic networks statewide, has been upgraded.
The University will now serve as a service node rather than a core note, according to Simeon Ananou, SRU associate provost for information and administrative technology services. As a service node on the system, SRU will be charged with greater operational requirements and staffing.
“Based on the current estimation from the KINBER management, the construction phase of the SRU segment is expected to be completed by November, with the network becoming operational by next February,” Ananou said.
“Very exciting. This is the future for SRU and to be in the ‘center’ of the network will be something we will look back on as a critical moment in our history,” Robert Smith, SRU president, said.
“The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has created a KINBER transition and design team and SRU will be a major player on that team. As a service node, SRU will provide storage facilities for equipment related to the network and will be involved in the provisioning of services to small and medium-size businesses making use of the system,” Ananou said.
Ananou was named a “site champion” and assigned responsibilities for making sure the site agreement is properly executed as well as making sure the University carries out the responsibilities and duties associated with running the system.
He said the system’s site survey has already begun. As part of the network’s construction, a fiber optic pathway from Route 108 to Vincent Science Center will be readied. SRU’s KINBER operations will be housed in the science center until the planned Innovation Center is constructed. SRU IT staff and KINBER engineers will maintain the on-campus operations.
SRU’s initial participation in the system was announced last February. The project is designed to bring affordable, enhanced broadband services to a variety of users across the commonwealth.
John Cavanaugh, PASSHE chancellor, visiting the SRU campus Wednesday said the state system would have proprietary rights to a segment of the network. That segment will allow the system to offer online courses, and other services, across the system’s 14 universities.
Specifically, Cavanaugh said, an example of the system’s use could be a major in Arabic that is housed at California University of Pennsylvania, but with open classes to a variety of sister schools, allowing students to remain at their home school while earning course credits elsewhere.
He called on faculty and administrators to devise other such uses of the new network and the high-speed service it will offer.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration initially announced Pennsylvania's $100,000 grant in federal stimulus funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The remainder of the project's costs will come from matching funds.
The new statewide system is making make use of the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network for the design, construction and management of fiber optic networks statewide. The network will offer affordable, enhanced broadband services to pre-K through 12 and higher education systems, health care networks, libraries, state and local governments and workforce/economic development entities.
Businesses across Pennsylvania are also expected to take advantage of the system related to computer operations and information sharing.
PennREN, through its operating entity, KINBER (the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research) is serving as coordinator for the construction and management of the statewide fiber optic network.
The PennREN network is to reach every region of the commonwealth with more than 44,000 square miles of coverage. The network will provide in excess of 4,082 miles of direct access to an estimated 5,159,780 individuals in 2,047,442 households and 204,193 businesses within the 10-mile radius of the community anchor institutions.
Node anchor institutions are: the University of Scranton, Lehigh University, Philadelphia Collocation facility, Penn State Hershey, D & E Collocation facility, Level 3 Communication Collocation facility, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Allegheny Center Mall, Penn State/Behrend, Clarion University, Penn State Dubois and Bucknell University.
The institutions of higher education were chosen because of their strong presence in the potential service areas and their willingness to permit all-hours access by nonemployee staff. Each core node will host an Ethernet switch and optical transport equipment. The core nodes are supplemented by more than 50 access nodes, which will not have PennREN-controlled equipment, but are intended as a mechanism to allow broader access to the network via dark fiber.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.