Annoyingly laggy Internet speeds on campus might be short-lived, due to a soon-to-be upgraded infrastructure – or, on the other hand, could just continue. Although the College’s Internet speed is set to more than double in October, from 45 megabits to 100, this might not do a lot to speed up the most bandwidth-intense activity of Internet browsing.
According to Jeff Ranta, the Assistant Director of Network Services, the biggest bandwidth hog is streaming video. “That’s what’s really eating up most of it.” And Ranta thinks that the increased Internet speed will only help somewhat. “Once we get this 100 megabit connection, it will be nice, but it will only be a slight increase.”
The College pays its Internet Service Provider (ISP), the University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System, for its current DS3 (or T-3) connection. But Ranta said it would only cost twice as much for the College to get an Internet connection 20 times as fast as what it currently has.
What’s the holdup, then?
“Our problem is Verizon has the only leased line that comes down to campus. … We’re waiting on Verizon to install necessary equipment in place to support 100 Megabits (download speed).”
Verizon would also need to support the gigabit connection, should the College be willing to pay. “It’s all a question of what Verizon can support… and what the College can pay.”
Ranta said he thought if the College could patch through to gigabit speeds, then the needs of students and faculty – and, increasingly, classes – would be satiated for some time.
This could be done through a partnering with others in the county to pay for the laying of a fiber optical cable. Then, St. Marys’ Internet connection would rival – and best – some of the far larger Colleges in Maryland.
“[It] might take 10 years to make back the cost, but once we have it we have it. There’s not really a limit of the amount you can push through fiber,” just a limit to the infrastructure supporting the fiber optical cable.