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Tulane University builds 100 Mb/s fiber highway.

For more than 100 years, streetcars have traversed St. Charles Street between historic Tulane University and scenic Audubon Park carrying students and professors to and from down-town New Orleans. Below those same streets computer data is traveling on a more modern transportation system--a 100 Mb/s fiber-optic data "superhighway" that is the fastest network ever built in Louisiana.

Tulane has installed the first phase of a fiber-optic backbone network that will be the foundation of its future computing strategy. Eventually that network will link more than 70 buildings on the 100-acre main campus and provide communications between the campus and Tulane Medical Center located four miles away.

Professors and more than 11,000 students at Tulane will realize the benefits of the network immediately. The primary benefit is improved network response that provides full network data-rate speeds from computing equipment located in any building on campus.

As the network grows, access will be provided to every professor's office and student dorm room, making computing and software resources more widely available. Communications capabilities via electronic mail will be expanded for both students and professors internally, and externally to professors and databases off campus.

The network also lays the groundwork for more futuristic applications. Fiber optics will carry video signals throughout the campus so that students at the medical center can attend specialized classes that are offered only at the main campus.

To date, Tulane has linked 30 campus buildings with 62.5 micron fiber-optic cable. It has installed 15 Magnum 100 time-division multiplexers from Fibermux Corp. to transmit data at 100 Mb/s in dual counter-rotating rings between computers in various buildings. These rings each carry the same data and are designed to "heal" at any break in the network, keeping the network intact in case of a node failure.

The university can send Ethernet and token ring LAN data, synchronous host-to-terminal data nad voice across the same fiber cable. Tulane also is considering adding fiber distributed data interface (FDDI) networks, as that standard matures.

The network supports Tulane's diverse computing environment, which includes IBM mainframe computers, DEC VAX computers, a Convex mini-supercomputer, IBM RISC 6000s and several thousand Apple, IBM and Sun Microsystems workstations. The network supports all the university's network topologies, including token ring, Ethernet, ARCnet, System Network Architecture (SNA) and AppelTalk. Serial and asynchronous signals also can be sent through the inter-campus network.

As a part of the network, selected buildings will feature structured wiring plants centered around an intelligent networking hub. Six buildings have been wired with Fibermux Crossbow hubs to manage existing token ring and Ethernet LAN. The hubs will be used to provide faster data communications between users and from servers and mainframe computers on the LAN's. Fibermux's LightWatch network management system will be used throughout the network to provide centralized management of both the Magnum 100s and Crossbows.

The next phase of the network will connect the rest of the buildings on the uptown campus over the next two years and, after that, will join the uptown and medical center campuses.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Fiber-Optic Networks; megabytes per second; Fibermux Corp.
Author:Galloway, Steve
Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:507
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