The Power of Ten

Carleton University increases its ORION connection

Demand for bandwidth among educational and research institutions is always increasing—in fact, use of ORION’s network has grown by more than 50% annually over the past three years. As the amount of data that researchers collect, analyze and archive increases, access to a fast, reliable way of transferring data is crucial. ORION plays a pivotal role in ensuring that researchers at Ontario’s institutions have the bandwidth they need for projects in all sorts of disciplines.

Carleton University is one of many institutions facing increasing demand for bandwidth. This summer, ORION helped the university upgrade its connection to ORION from 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to 10 Gbps. The tenfold increase in network capacity means researchers at the Ottawa-based university will be better able to connect with colleagues and contribute to projects across Canada and internationally.

“We wanted to position ourselves ahead of the anticipated growing demand from our user community,” says Eddie Villarta, network services manager at Carleton.

Upgrading to a 10 Gbps connection to ORION means the school has more resources available to devote to participation in projects such as the Ontario Library Research Cloud (OLRC). That means that Ontario’s wider academic community also benefits.

“The OLRC addresses the growing need for low-cost, reliable storage for universities’ digital collections,” says Alan Darnell, director of Scholars Portal, the organization that oversees the OLRC. Storing these collections in Canadian cloud-storage facilities is more affordable and more reliable than each school creating and maintaining its own on-site digital archive, but it requires the involvement of a number of post-secondary institutions across Ontario.

Carleton’s network connection upgrade means the school will have higher bandwidth available, making the transfer of OLRC-related data to and from Carleton more efficient, and making it possible for the university to participate in the OLRC in a greater capacity in the future.

Carleton’s ORION connection also supports a variety of other research projects at the university, including nuclear research and particle, neutrino and dark matter physics. And there are even more projects being proposed that will require multi-Gbps connections with other universities in Ontario.

Whether it’s digital archives or dark matter, “having the 10 Gbps connection in place gives our users the readiness and flexibility they need to be able to participate in those projects,” says Villarta.

But it’s not just the fibre optic connection—working with ORION has other benefits, too. “From sales to engineering, they are very responsive,” says Villarta. “It gives us a sense of security knowing that ORION is dependable in every aspect.”

That dependability extends even to emergency response, says Mike Milne, a campus network architect, noting that ORION staff have helped the university even if it’s “in the middle of the night, on a weekend.”

Milne says this dedication by ORION is “miles ahead of the response from commercial ISP providers.” No matter what it takes, or when, ORION is committed to helping Carleton University stay connected.