C Spire and several other technology partners say they successfully tested terabit-speed connections on a Mississippi university campus in November as part of their work with the Mississippi Optical Network (MissiON) consortium.
Engineers from C Spire, Nokia and EXFO worked with the information technology (IT) staff at Mississippi State University to provide the Allen data center on the Starkville, MS, campus with terabit-speed connections.
The engineers and campus IT staff used fiber-optic connections, specialty gear and electronics and test measuring equipment from Nokia and EXFO to complete the trial.
The R&D arms at Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi State, Jackson State, the University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers' Engineering Research and Development Center and the national Internet 2 consortium are all part of the consortium.
C Spire was chosen to overhaul the MissiON network under a new state telecommunications contract awarded to the company last year by the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services (ITS). The firm tripled capacity, cut overall costs and added four regional universities to the consortium.
Leveraging its 8,800 route miles of fiber-optic infrastructure, C Spire has designed the network to support direct collaboration among the state's research universities and regional institutions as well as access to resources in the ITS State Data Center and C Spire data centers in Jackson and Starkville.
"We're excited to be a part of this proof-of-concept trial, and we look forward to continuing our work with C Spire to make this vital infrastructure second to none," said Dr. David Shaw, vice president for Research and Economic Development at Mississippi State University and chairman of the MissiON Network Advisory Council.
Shaw said the MissiON network plays an essential role in Mississippi's economic development and business expansion initiatives. "Bolstering this network is critical in order to enhance our research institutions' capacity to continue competing successfully for science and technology grants and funding from federal agencies, business and industry, foundations, and private endowments. We're operating in an increasingly competitive environment, and MissiON is an indispensable resource in our efforts," he added.
C Spire, Nokia and EXFO also emphasized the importance of "future-proofing" the research network infrastructure to enable Mississippi research institutions and businesses to compete on a global scale in the future.
"As Mississippi's leading broadband communications provider, C Spire is proud to provide innovative, leading-edge technology and the latest fiber-optic infrastructure to help power the important work of the MissiON network and enable researchers to pursue comprehensive solutions to 21st century challenges," said Eric Hollingsworth, vice president of Network and Service Delivery. "We are committed to helping the consortium continue to build this world-class network."
Hollingsworth said that while the terabit speeds are not part of the MissiON network upgrade, it is important to continue to work with consortium members to perform trials and tests to plan for future improvements. "We need to offer a robust network capable of helping researchers stay on the cutting-edge of technology."
C Spire, best known for its wireless services, also operates gigabit-capable fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in a number of Mississippi communities.