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National LambdaRail and Internet2 Partner on Cisco TelePresence

High performance network operators Internet2 and National LambdaRail (NLR) will be collaborating on development and deployment of a unified Cisco TelePresence service offering for the research and education community. The collaboration will enable Internet2 and NLR members to have TelePresence-based conferences with each other.

NLR already operates a Cisco TelePresence Exchange in Kansas City, MO. Cisco said there are 70 installations of its high-end video conferencing system in institutions in 12 states and three other countries that are already or will soon be linked into this exchange. The two consortiums said they'll continue to add additional services in the future.

"By working together, NLR and Internet2 are able to make this transformational, collaboration platform more widely accessible to a broader segment of researchers and educators," said Grover Browning, director of engineering and operations for NLR. "And as more people and institutions are on the TelePresence network, the more valuable it becomes for all members of the community."

"The research and education community that Internet2 and NLR serve place a high value on bringing people together through remote collaboration technologies that are increasingly required as researchers move rapidly from working in local laboratories to participating in worldwide projects," said Rob Vietzke, Internet2 executive director of network services. "By collaborating with NLR we can help to catalyze the adoption of this important enabling technology."

To test the viability of the collaboration, the two non-profit organizations set up a TelePresence session between a Chinese university and Harvard University. The test connected four TelePresence units at the Guanghua School of Management at the University of Peking in China to the NLR network and professors from Internet2 member Harvard University. Two of the TelePresence units are deployed on the University of Peking's main campus in Beijing, one on the Shanghai campus, and another will arrive soon at the Shenzhen location.

"Harvard University is looking at TelePresence to foster a broad range of academic, research and business programs," said Leo Donnelly, senior network architect for Harvard. "The joint collaboration between Internet2 and NLR and the Exchange allow us to leverage our existing external connectivity to reach out to other institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Our joint effort ... exceeded our expectations."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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