TIFB Grant Awarded A&M System, A&M International for High-Speed Network

Texas A&M International University has received $82,677 as part of a $750,000 award from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board (TIFB) Discovery Grant in support of a Texas A&M University System Collaborative that will implement a high-speed network backbone to support A&M campuses' Internet access, videoconferencing and voice communications.

Dr. Charles Jennett, A&M International president, said the grant will allow the University to be a part of a System-wide conversion that will deploy leading-edge technology.

"This collaborative grant will see our System campuses use broadband network technology across our existing Trans Texas Videoconference Network (TTVN) and implement a high-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network backbone that will support the new Texan 2000 network. It will also allow us to scale our bandwidth more cost-effectively, and increase performance while reducing complexity," Dr. Jennett said.

All 10 of The Texas A&M University System campuses will be included in the project, as will the Baylor College of Dentistry.

The current TTVN data and video network provides service to more than 100 System units, public school districts, community colleges and universities as well as a large videoconference network with over 100 sites across Texas and in Mexico City.

Joe Garcia, A&M International vice president for finance and administration, said the University's portion of the grant will purchase a variety of equipment including a Marconi ASX-200 Switch and Cisco routers, concentrators, terminal adapters and Ethernet switchers, as well as relevant cabling.

This equipment will provide the University with access to multimedia network services and help make it part of a number of A&M System collaborative efforts, he said.

"This visionary project helps to fast-track our System and campus' expansion of its research, teaching and service mission through utilizing the latest technology," Garcia said.

Jennett said the System-wide project is scheduled to be completed in 2001.

Lakshmana Viswanath, director of the University's Computer and Telecommunications Services, will direct the implementation of the University's second grant from the TIFB.

"The University received a TIFB Grant last year to improve its Local Area Network (LAN) that was completed this August. This new grant will complement that effort with a Wide Area Network (WAN). The combination greatly enhances our computer speed on and off campus," Viswanath said.

For additional information, please contact the A&M International Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu