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The Borderless Network: Mobility, Video, and Real Time Services

  • 180mb/s Internet
  • 622 mbps Academic bandwidth
  • 27,370 telephones

Until 2004, the Vanderbilt community leveraged the campus network for simple email collaboration services and basic media consumption. The telephone network stood apart from the data network, and media consumption existed solely as static text and low fidelity graphics. Social networks, video sites, and other consumer services weren't quite yet in mainstream use, but they were on the rise.

  • 430 million messages in 2006 and 939 million in 2009.
  • 1500 mb/s Internet
  • 10,000 mb/s Academic bandwidth
  • 34,900 telephones
  • Further, we've grown the count of wireless access points by 300% over the same period.

The Web 2.0 revolution and the low cost consumer electronics ushered in a world that transformed the way we learn, collaborate, communicate, and entertain. Content moved from drab and static to dynamic and rich. Music, television, news, and books now get delivered and consumed over the network. Voice, video, mobility, and telephony now converge to place incredible demands on a network that was designed for basic text and graphics.

  • 86,000+ user accounts (Jul 2010)
  • 16.7 million authentications per day (July 2010)

Not only do we see video growing in mainstream use, but mobility devices, applications, and cellular services are skyrocketing. People want what they want when they want it — and they want it on the device that they prefer. Cellular phones provisioned through our major providers increased line count by 452% since 2004. We now have almost 70,000 phones associated with the Vanderbilt community between our telephone network and our cellular contracts.

Traditional voice services are now stitched into real time group and peer to peer video collaboration. In our 2010 Office Communicator pilot of 1259 participants, the group weekly leverages the network to initiate

  • 20,000 minutes of audio conversations
  • 40,000 instant messaging sessions
  • 700 minutes of peer to peer video conferences

Low cost consumer electronics and access to massive amounts of network bandwidth allowed more people to both create and consume digital content at rates never before imagined. Expectations about network availability and access to consumer services permeate mainstream consumers.

Facebook, Youtube, and Google see combined visits of 109 million per month in 2010, and the website sees 1.5 million visits per month. These popular consumer services did not exist in 2004, 2005, and 1997 respectively. What does the next 10 years hold for our network?

This sets up the basic impetus behind the next generation network at Vanderbilt.