Arizona Educators Explore New Gigabit-Speed Network

Friday, November 6, 2015

Imagine K-12 students taking Russian language lessons, exploring careers in engineering, participating in coding projects, and receiving math tutoring from other students through virtual face-to-face interactions, without even leaving the classroom. This type of experiential learning is happening at schools in Arizona’s Paradise Valley School District, thanks to Sun Corridor Network, a new gigabit-speed, broadband network for research and education institutions.

On October 20, more than 70 leaders from Arizona school districts and community colleges attended a day-long event at Arizona State University to learn how the new network can benefit K-12 and higher education in Arizona. Representatives from Sun Corridor Network and Internet2, which operates the nation’s largest and fastest, coast-to-coast research and education network, led the meeting and presented the benefits of gigabit–speed connectivity, illustrated by case studies of schools and universities using the technology to engage in collaborative learning with students and educators around the globe.

Sun Corridor Network, which is sponsored by Arizona’s three state universities—Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and University of Arizona (UA)—is a direct connector to Internet2. The Internet2 network encompasses more than 90,000 community anchor institutions, 290 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 42 regional and state education networks, 84 leading corporations working with our community, and more than 65 national research and education networking partners representing more than 100 countries.

“The speed of the Sun Corridor Network’s bandwidth is impressive, with 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) connections among the state’s universities and 100 Gbps connections to Internet2. Sun Corridor Network is now able to make the same bandwidth speed that our world class researchers enjoy available to K-12 classrooms in Arizona,” said Michael Sherman, executive director of the Sun Corridor Network.  How fast is 100Gbps? This means, every one of Arizona's approximately 1 million enrolled K-12 students could download an eBook simultaneously in just over two minutes.

“We know better broadband connectivity can lead to transformational impacts on communities through high bandwidth, higher quality of service,” said Susannah Spellman, executive director of Internet2’s United States Unified Community Anchor Network (US UCAN) program. She continued, “Forty-three states across the United States, including more than 60% of all K-12 schools are reaping the benefits of this technology through their access to Internet2.”

During the event, other research and education networks across the U.S., including NYSERNet, North Dakota State University Information Technology Services, and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, presented how they are leveraging Internet2 access. Examples include providing immersive web-based labs software, high-resolution video streaming, classroom-to-classroom collaborations via videoconferencing, digital collections, 3D technology, 4K video, transfers of large data sets, and much more.

“The Sun Corridor Network represents a tremendous resource to enhance learning outcomes and advance cutting edge research in Arizona”, said Michael Sherman. He continued, “We look forward to expanding the benefits of the Sun Corridor Network from the universities out to Arizona’s K-12 institutions, improving school infrastructure and opportunities for the next generation of college students.”

Arizona K-12 public schools, community colleges, universities, libraries, and museums are eligible to connect to Sun Corridor Network to share digital communications resources, network services, and applications to advance research and education outcomes.

For more information about Sun Corridor Network and how to become a subscriber, visit: http://suncorridornet.org/ or contact Michael Sherman, executive director, mcsherman@email.arizona.edu.