The Rensselaer Plan
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Good Connections

Ten years ago, the university used a T1 line as its link to the rest of the Internet. Originally introduced by the telephone industry as a long-distance trunk, a T1 line is capable of carrying simultaneously 24 ordinary voice calls in digital form. As a data channel, T1 transmits information at 1.544 million bits per second.

The university currently uses a T3 line for its Internet service. T3’s have 28 times the capacity of a T1. Rensselaer now transmits data to and from the Internet at 44.736 million bits per second.

Rensselaer is also part of Internet-2, the higher speed internet reserved for research and education applications. Fiber optic cable links the university to Internet-2 over what is called an OC-3 circuit. The “OC” stands for optical carrier; an OC-3 transmits data at 155.52 million bits per second, roughly three times the speed of a T3 line.

By this fall, the Institute hopes to have replaced its T3 “commodity” Internet connection with a second OC-3. With the completion of this upgrade, Rensselaer’s network interconnection capability will be 200 times greater than it was with its origial T1 line.

If you think of a T1 line as a two-lane country road, then a T3 would be a 56-lane highway. A pair of OC-3’s, viewed in the same way, would be a true superhighway, nearly a mile-and-a-half wide!


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