North Carolina universities will have a direct connection to Abilene

The five North Carolina universities involved in the North Carolina Networking Initiative (NCNI) on Monday announced they soon will have a direct connection to Abilene, the backbone of Internet2, which connects more than 50 universities and laboratories across the nation.

Researchers, faculty and students at Duke, North Carolina State, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina and Wake Forest universities, who will be using Abilene to develop advanced applications, will connect to the backbone through the NC Gigabit Point of Presence (GigaPOP).

A GigaPOP is a network access point that supports data transfer rates of at least 1 gigabit/sec. The NC GigaPOP, which is the first operational GigaPOP in the country, transmits data at 2.4 gigabits/sec.

The high-speed link "allows the researchers to get a hold of a research network that they can't get anywhere else...and allows for free reign of their creative abilities," said NCNI executive director Alan Bratecky.

One project proposal asked for about half of the capacity of the new system for video collaboration with three-dimensional results at both ends, Bratecky said, but no final decisions have been made.

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