This month, OSU Institute of Technology connected to the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network (OFFN), Oklahoma’s research network, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and OneNet.
OFFN is a 10 and 100 Gbps research network that provides higher education institutions with a dedicated internet route that is much faster than traditional internet highways. This alternate pathway allows researchers to bypass slower traditional networks and transmit data at higher speeds.
The connection makes advanced cyberinfrastructure tools and services available to OSUIT. Faculty and researchers will utilize these tools for research and education initiatives in data science, virtualization, programming with software defined networking and cybersecurity for institutional resources and education.
“OSUIT has enjoyed a longtime partnership with OneNet,” said Dr. Kevin Hulett, Associate Vice President of Technology Services. “This valued partnership has allowed the university to take advantage of opportunities at the state level to leverage economies-of-scale, increasing the value that we provide to our students. The faster network speeds provided by OFFN will enhance research opportunities and give faculty the technology so integral to the teaching, learning, and graduating of students prepared to successfully compete in a world-class workforce as contributing members of society.”
In August 2020, NSF awarded the State Regents and OneNet a $232,275 Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) grant to connect five institutions to OFFN. Administered by NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, the CC* grant program invests in campus-level cyberinfrastructure improvements for science applications and research projects.
The two-year grant award connects OSUIT, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, Redlands Community College, Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma to the OFFN network.
Previous NSF grant awards connected 12 research and regional universities to OFFN. This new award specifically targeted smaller institutions to expand their research and education initiatives.
Projects initially supported by the new connection will be led by Kyle McCulloch, OSUIT Infrastructure Administrator and Michael Hass and Jim Strother, instructors in OSUIT’s the School of Creative & Information Technologies.
“The State Regents are pleased to connect OSUIT to the OFFN network,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The connection through OneNet will enable new and diverse research collaborations for OSUIT’s faculty and students, particularly in STEM areas. We look forward to the scientific discovery that results from the new computing tools available to OSUIT.”
The OFFN network and the new connections are managed by OneNet, the comprehensive digital communications initiative of the state system of higher education. Vonley Royal, OneNet executive director and higher education CIO, is providing oversight for all aspects of grant implementation.
“OneNet is OSUIT’s partner in research and education and ensures faculty and researchers have access to the networking and technology required to propel scientific discovery and innovation on campus,” said Royal. “Expanding access to networks like OFFN is vital to providing resources that enhance these initiatives for campuses like OSUIT.”