Researchers in Storrs, Connecticut will soon see an upgrade in internet speeds. Currently, researchers working at UConn’s Storrs campus have access to a one-gigabit internet speed, while some at other UConn campuses have access to 100-gigabit internet speeds. The university plans to link the Storrs campus with UConn Health via a 40 gigabit connection. This connection would be solely used by researchers, presumably from any department, and not just departments related to the medical field. The upgrade is expected to come later this year and is financed in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
This planned upgrade is in part due to a partnership with the Internet2 network, a network which includes 252 other U.S. universities. The Internet2 high-speed network will give UConn researchers a high-speed connection similar to the ones used by the U.S. military, National Science Foundation and leading research institutions. In the U.S., high speed Internet is not a common sight. Internet infrastructure in Connecticut, and the United States as a whole, is inferior to some of the European and Asian networks, which have widely available access to high speed internet.
Not only is there a demand among researchers for a quicker internet network, but the general public also wishes for a faster internet network as well. The state government recognizes that Connecticut’s internet connection is in need of an upgrade. Back in February, the state legislature heard testimony on a proposed bill that would have opened the door for the quick establishment of high speed gigabit networks in towns all throughout the state. At least 100 cities in towns in Connecticut banded together to call for the creation of a statewide gigabit network.
Even if a statewide network was established, it probably would not reach speed of up to 100 gigabits such as the networks used by some of UConn’s labs do. Those kinds of high speed connections are probably only necessary for those who do research. Similarly, it is unlikely that the average student at UConn will get access to a gigabit network in the near future, for now students will still have to rely on UConn Secure to do every day pedestrian tasks like check email. Still, it is great to see that the university is committed to expanding internet connectivity and broadband capacity, even as attempts to expand internet speeds on a state level have been slowed. Hopefully, the internet infrastructure that UConn has built up can be used in the future to bring faster internet to the whole university community.