TTVN is the wide area data and video network for institutions of the Texas A&M University System. It is managed for the System from Texas A&M University in College Station by the Associate Provost for Information Technology. The organizational unit is Educational Broadcast Services. TTVN provides two-way multi-point digital videoconferencing and data transmission services to the system component institutions. This includes 10 universities, the Health Science Center, The Agriculture and Engineering Extension and Experiment agencies, The Texas Forest Service, and the Texas Transportation Institute. Several affiliate institutions consisting of colleges, universities, and Independent School Districts, are connected to the network due to academic relationships with TAMUS entities.
TTVN began operation in October 1990 to provide effective long distance digital communications between the, then, seven TAMUS campuses. Today, TTVN provides interactive services to a network that includes over 120 dedicated video sites and over 100 data sites in 40 Texas cities. There are also links to Mexico City and Costa Rica.
The original TTVN data transport system of time division multiplexed T1 circuits is evolving in two ways. First, bandwidth is increasing. Commodity Internet Service is now available at an OC3 level from Qwest. Links to parts of the Health Science Center facilities are expanding to DS3 and OC3 levels. All university units have approximately 4.5 Mbps of Internet bandwidth to their campus. Second, network topology is changing to an ATM based network, and video now includes the H.323 standard (video over IP). Recent equipment acquisitions include MCU capacity to do rate conversions between ISDN dialup rates to 384 Kbps room systems, and to integrate H.323 systems with the existing H.320 systems.
TTVN is an integral part of the TX-BB (Texas Backbone), which provides major Intranet network connectivity within Texas university institutions. The purpose of this network is to conserve traffic on the commodity Internet links by routing Texas traffic to Texas institutions via the TX-BB private network. The network also provides a failsafe path for commodity Internet in case of Internet link failure at any of the participating institutions.
TTVN provides video and satellite uplink facilities for a variety of projects. The network carries approximately 175 graduate classes each year, provides for over 5000 conferences annually, and is the backbone for all Web based courses that originate from TAMUS institutions.
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