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
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!