Fiber Optic in IRRI and UP Los Banos

The installation recently of a direct fiber optical connection has improved dramatically communication between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB).

Marco van den Berg, head of IRRI’s Information Technology Services, said the improvement came about with help from the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“We now have a direct fiber optical connection in place between the two institutes, completely bypassing commercial Internet providers,” said Mr. van den Berg.

“The IRRI and UPLB networks have a large number of Internet users competing for commercial bandwidth,” he said, adding “The resulting performance was such that the two institutes could have been on different continents rather than next door to each other.”

The direct connection now enables IRRI to route traffic between UPLB and local, regional, and international academic high-performance networks,said Mr. van den Berg.

Opening “heavy” pages (ones with many images and/or particular file types) on UPLB’s Web site, such as the UPLB telephone directory in PDF files, used to take several minutes. Under the new setup, the same pages take mere seconds, he said.

“Under normal circumstances, nonacademic traffic is not routed over this new connection, but it would be feasible to do so in case the commercial provider of either IRRI or UPLB fails,” said Mr. van den Berg.

UPLB welcomed the development, which also connects UP Diliman in Quezon City, as the beginning of “a plethora of innovations and new opportunities between these campuses, with the support and goodwill of IRRI.”

Mr. van den Berg said two such opportunities are free calls and video conferencing using “Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP).

Before the new connection was in place, Web communication between UPLB and UP Diliman required data to go to the United States before returning to the country. A A live broadcast of centennial seminars from UPLB to the UP system in high-definition video and audio will be the first activity to be undertaken as a result of this initiative.

IRRI is the world’s leading rice research and training center.

Based in the Philippines, with offices in 13 other countries, IRRI is an autonomous, non-profit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources.

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