[tforum] How does the Draft Federal Networking Plan relate to Utah campuses?

Joe Breen Joe.Breen@utah.edu
Sat Sep 1 00:03:32 MDT 2007

In my previous message, I forwarded the request to review the Draft 
Federal Networking Plan at: 

But, how does this plan directly relate to Utah campuses and Utah state 
education networking, especially if the campuses do not focus on 
networking research?

Having read the document a few times, I would put forth that many of the 
ideas/questions in the federal plan apply directly to the campuses at 
Utah.  One important idea is a statement by the co-chair of the 
President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).  The 
co-chair stated “U.S. leadership in advanced networking is a strategic 
national priority.”  I would put forth that this statement applies at 
the state level and campus level as well.  Leadership in advanced 
networking should be a strategic state and research university priority. 
  Leadership in strong network implementations should be a campus 
priority for technical and community college campuses.  This priority 
naturally becomes the enabler for many of the future digital services 
that our educational system will provide.  This priority allows the Utah 
campuses to provide services to compete, communicate and collaborate.

The draft federal plan (pg 6) proposes coordinated research focused on 
four major networking goals:

Goal 1: Provide network services anytime, anywhere
Goal 2: Make secure global federated networks possible
Goal 3: Manage network complexity and heterogeneity
Goal 4: Foster innovation through development of advanced network 
systems and technologies

I would put forth that even if a campus does not have direct research in 
these areas, the goals are worthy design and engineering goals as 
campuses amortize and replace their equipment.  For example, the first 
two goals relate directly to campus implementations of wireless 
(cellular and WiFi) and single sign-on deployments.  Many campuses are 
exploring WiFi cellular phones and mobile devices.  Campus departments 
are exploring connecting sensors and sensor networks to monitor water 
reserves, agriculture, meteorology, and even mechanic training 
simulations, etc.  How should the campuses design network services to 
these implementations?

As single sign-on grows within the respective campuses, one of the 
potential next steps is toward a state federation of schools and 
libraries.  A state federation could allow easier roaming of faculty, 
staff and students throughout the campuses for visitation, collaboration 
or other purposes.  Easing the access to information is a core value to 
educational institutions.  Should Utah campuses show leadership at the 
state level by establishing federated secure trust relationships amongst 
themselves and with the Utah Education Network?  Could secure trust 
relationships allow the Utah system to better leverage unique resources 
throughout the state?

Goals 3 and 4 also have some direct applicability regardless of actual 
research programs of the campuses.  All of the campuses have complex and 
heterogeneous networks.  How might the campuses better leverage each 
others' learning and expertise to manage these networks with today's 
technologies?  How might the campuses leverage some of the research 
expertise and put it into direct prototype practice with the groups?

Goal 4 has an illustrative application within the federal plan document 
(pg 13) that describes a serious fire in a mountain community.  The 
illustration briefly alludes to sensors, "smart" cell phones and ad-hoc 
networks to help with safety issues.  Judging by the experience of the 
farmers of central/southern Utah this summer, this particular 
illustration might have direct applicability.  The experience of the 
miners recently in central Utah begs the question, could we apply 
real-time wireless mesh sensors that might help predict some of the 
earth shifting, or at least, where life might be in the case of disaster?

Advanced Networking research?  Applied network research? 
Multi-discipline research?  Multi-discipline application and 
implementation?  The ideas of advanced networking are ideas of 
communication and enabling collaborations.  "End user to End user" 
service and "end user access to information" are the underlying desires. 
    These ideas apply to all of the Utah campuses.

Opposing thoughts?  Other thoughts?

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