The University of Montana

Archive for the ‘Network’ Category

A good gig

In Innovation, Network on January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

A few months ago, The University of Montana, in partnership with the City of Missoula, became one of the founding members of Gig U. Gig U’s mission is to “accelerate the deployment of world-leading, next generation networks in the United States in a way that provides an opportunity to lead in the next generation of ultra high speed network services and applications.”

Today, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat, wrote an op-ed piece that helps us understand what’s at stake. He says that the globalization and IT revolutions are combining to give people the tools and ecosystems to innovate, collaborate and create new products and services.

“The best of these ecosystems will be cities and towns that combine a university, an educated populace, a dynamic business community and the fasted broadband connections on earth,” Friedman writes.

As one member of the Missoula contingent said, “the Friedman column is the best explanation I’ve seen yet of why this is important.”


Why does it matter?

In Innovation, Leadership and Management, Network, Strategy on June 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

The University of Montana has been a partner for seven years with major research universities and other entities to build a high-speed network connecting Seattle to Chicago across the Northern part of the U.S.

On Thursday, about 60 people gathered at the UM Law School to celebrate the completion of the network and look forward to additional collaborations and innovations made possible by the 10-gigabyte network. The event was the Northern Tier Network Consortium’s  “Golden Spike Event.”

In preparing for the public celebration, UM Executive Vice President asked one question of us over and over: Why does it matter?

Hopefully we provided some answers to that question on Thursday.

It matters to higher education by attracting significantly more research dollars, and attracting and retaining top faculty and researchers

It matters to people living in rural areas who will benefit from better access to quality health care.

It matters to K-12 teachers and students who will be able to access resources on the network that individual school districts could never afford.

It matters to the state for the economic development is enables.

And as UM CIO Ray Ford told the Missoulian, it matters for the technologies that will be developed in the years to come that we can’t yet fathom.

If you missed it, here’s the Missoulian story.

UM hosts “Golden Spike Event”

In Communication, Innovation, Network on May 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

The University of Montana will celebrate the completion of a robust research network across northern states between Seattle and Chicago on Thursday, June 3. The Northern Tier Network Consortium “Golden Spike Event” will begin with a reception at 8:30 a.m. in Law Building Room 201. Presentations will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The event is free and open to the public.

The Northern Tier Network connects Montana and other northern states to a national high-speed network, providing affordable 10-gigabit-per-second network connections — a 10,000-fold bandwidth increase over a typical broadband connection — for research, education, public health care and government uses. Completion of the 700-mile route across Montana was the final step of the six-year network project.

The “Golden Spike Event” will include speakers and presenters from Health Information Exchange of Montana, the U.S. Forest Service, Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center, the Great Plains Network, Internet2, the University of Utah and others. 

A variety of video conferencing systems will be demonstrated during the event. Demonstrations also will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, in Law Building Room 201. 

The Northern Tier Network Consortium comprises research universities from 13 states. More information about the consortium is available at .

How cell phones, Twitter, Facebook can make history

In Communication, Innovation, Media, Network, People, Strategy, Web on June 18, 2009 at 9:41 am

As the world watches (and participates in) the election in Iran, Clay Shirkey helps us understand the transformation of media and communication.

Having trouble viewing the video? View at

Systems outages report

In Academic, Administrative, Banner, Network, Systems on June 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm

New to the IT website:  systems outages report.

No longer isolated

In Innovation, Leadership and Management, Network, Projects on February 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

Note: This is one of three articles in the February special edition of IT’s Bits newsletter.

Montana universities lead effort to connect Northern Tier to national network

UM’s network bandwidth capacity to the outside world will jump dramatically this summer, from 300 megabits to 10 gigabits.

In planetary terms, that’s like a leap from Mercury to Jupiter.

“We’re talking about an orders of magnitude increase in Internet bandwidth at a modest cost increase,” says UM CITO Ray Ford. “Everybody at every UM network port going to the outside world will see advantages.”

Northern Tier Map

The Northern Tier Network, depicted by the dashed line on the map, will tie UM and MSU into the national research network, and provide new research, educational and economic development opportunities.

The advantages come as UM and MSU tie into a national research network in collaboration with universities along the “Northern Tier” between Seattle and Chicago. Ford, a co-founder and former president of the Northern Tier Network Consortium, has worked with colleagues from Montana and 11 other states to build agreements and garner funding.

“We’ve made a capital investment to light and maintain our own fiber, giving us bandwidth at the level of a ‘bandwidth wholesaler’ rather than having to buy bandwidth in large quantities but at ‘retail prices,'” Ford says. “Buying at wholesale prices rather than retail prices allows us to increase quality and quantity, yet lower costs.”

“We’re taking some risks,” Ford admits. “For example, will we need all of this bandwidth? We think we will. In fact, we think we’ll need not just a little more bandwidth, but orders of magnitude more bandwidth to support applications we don’t currently use-either because we can’t or because the applications haven’t yet been invented. That’s what has happened in the last 20 years, and we think that will continue to happen over at least the next 10 years.

“Ford sees the increased network capacity being used for high-quality video conferencing that begins to approximate true “remote presence.” It will also aid researchers connecting to remote super computers, and provide new learning opportunities for students, like the ability to operate equipment in a remote lab through the Internet.

For more on the Northern Tier Network Consortium, go to:

ooVoo video conferencing

In Communication, Innovation, Network, People, Web on March 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Today I used ooVoo for the first time. ooVoo is a video conferencing application available at

The key feature which attracted me to ooVoo is the capability to connect to multiple parties simultaneously. Other video chat programs I have used have only provided a video conference between two parties. While they serve their purpose, and provide face-to-face contact, they do not provide a way to gather a team, a group of friends, or a larger audience. ooVoo now gives the option to video conference as a group!

The audio/video quality was excellent, and while the product is now in a beta phase, it is worth checking out for multi-site connections!

ooVoo screen capture

Wireless upgrade in progress

In Network, Systems, Wireless on January 15, 2008 at 4:20 pm

By late March, 2008, campus users will have a new secure wireless access option in addition to VPN access.

Devices that support WPA2 Enterprise (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) will be able to connect to the UM wireless network when the three-month upgrade process is completed. Each of the approximately 100 wireless access points (WAPs) on campus will require upgrades. The cost of the WAP upgrades will be covered centrally, even if a unit originally purchased the WAPs.

A detailed release about the wireless upgrade from CITO Ray Ford is available at

Social Media- Connections via the Net

In Communication, Media, Network, People, Web on January 9, 2008 at 10:41 am

In the last six months of 2007 I became part of a group of Social Media gurus. While at times I am not exactly certain what Social Media encompasses, I find being part of this group very interesting and informative to many aspects of my professional and personal life. Social Media, to me, means being part of a group of individuals who use various applications on the Internet for sharing, collaboration, discussions, and friendships.

I had been on FaceBook and MySpace for some time, but it wasn’t until I started Twittering in July that my Social Media group took shape. Twitter is a website where all you do is post “What are you doing?”. At first I did not think much good could come out of simply posting to the ether my travels, daily tasks, and other ramblings. These posts can be interesting to friends at times, but do little to expand one’s network. The true jewel of Twitter is the connections made. Once I realized this I quickly expanded my network to follow (a Twitter term for adding people to one’s network) to a very diverse group. My group includes a NBC cameraman from Washington DC, a college webmaster from Ohio, new technology designers from several countries, and friends from the UM campus, some of whom I know only by our connection on Twitter.

The key component to these connections is sharing! By posting what we are working on, our projects, interests, and our stumbling blocks we find others whom are willing to offer suggestions to solve or improve our work. In a time when it is impossible to keep up with all the new technology on and off the net, this group shares it’s findings and ideas to all. Feedback is given in a positive manner, new technologies are tested and reviewed, and friendships are formed.

My Twitter connections have lead me to websites for on-line video streaming, provided me with podcasts on multimedia applications, shared in conferences and training, and been a listening board when I needed to rant about a challenging situation.

Twitter has been an great asset to me. I have been exposed to many ideas and applications I would not have found alone. The power of being connected to a group of individuals who constantly share and collaborate via the web is an unlimited resource which grows daily.

Twitter is not the only site which I have used to expand my Social Media Network. LinkedIn is another useful site for connection with professionals and colleagues. The contrast between Twitter and LinkedIn is the connection process. While Twitter seeks to expand one’s network by new connections, LinkedIn focuses on one’s existing contacts. LinkedIn asks that you know the person before adding them to your network. While this seems limiting at first, I have found it useful in connecting to individuals from my past. Former coworkers and college classmates have been found and connected with via LinkedIn, many of whom I have not communicated with in several years. By reconnecting with this group I have rekindled friendships, while gaining information on their work and interests. Another valuable tool for expanding my knowledge in many areas.

Other interesting finds in this realm include Utterz and Seesmic, which take communication from text to audio and video feeds from either a cell phone or computer.

I look forward to 2008 as I know these connections will grow, new contacts will be made, and new technologies will be added for communication. I ask of all to join in, share your ideas, seek new solutions, and expand your network.

As we say on Twitter… tweat ya later, and Happy New Year!