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December 09, 2013

Peering Between University of Texas and Google Fiber

By Frank Griffin
TMCnet Contributing Writer

Peering is process that allows two or more Internet service providers to exchange traffic. Once they make this arrangement they can hand off each other's customers, which eliminates a third party to perform the task, makes it cheaper and gives operators more control over traffic flows. The University of Texas (UT), which is part of the Greater Austin Area Telecommunications Network (GAATN), is looking to make their Internet network connect faster to Google Fiber.

The GAATN is a network designed with physical ring configuration with multiple interconnections to increase reliability. It has more than 400 participant sites covering 339 miles consisting of 11 rings. Each ring has an individual single mode fibers owned by each organization with different networking technology providing Internet/Internet2 access, voice telephony interconnections and distance learning classes across the GAATN network. The services are offered to courthouses, colleges and universities, fire stations, police stations, schools, state agencies and others.

Google (News - Alert) fiber is going to be providing its services to 100 nonprofit and public sites outside of GAATN starting in 2014. The University, which is one of the founding organizations of GAATN is arguing by partnering with Google 100,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni that use the UTmail, which Google provides, will create a direct route and a faster and more effective service. By having a direct local access, users will not be re-directed into another location making the process much faster.

If Google agreed to install the fiber technology it would require the University to modify its network infrastructure so it can support Google's fiber network and the central university network. Additionally enough customers have to be found around the area to make it economically viable for Google to install the infrastructure and start offering the service. Although the University will be using Google's technology, it will not be a customer.

The GAATN is joint effort between: Austin Independent School District (AISD); Austin Community College (ACC); City of Austin (COA); Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA); Travis County; The State of Texas represented by the Department of Information Resources (DIR); and The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin).

The network technology GAATN uses include: Dense Wave Divisions Multiplexing (DWDM), Course Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM), 10Gigabit Ethernet, Resilient Packet Ring (RPR), and Time Division Multiplexing over IP (TDMoIP). 

Edited by Ryan Sartor
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