Carnegie Mellon, Bell Atlantic To Raise Speed Limit on Information Superhighway
University Participates in Data Connectivity Trial Using ADSL Technology
July 24, 1997
PITTSBURGH - A group of 100 students, faculty and staff at Carnegie
Mellon University are going to help Bell Atlantic test the speed limit
on the Information Superhighway.
During the next 10 months, the group will be trying out Asymmetric
Digital Subscriber Line [ADSL], Bell Atlantic's advanced, high-speed
data communications service.
Participants in the trial, which begins this summer following a filing
with the state commission, will be able to hook up to Carnegie
Mellon's on-campus local area network [LAN] from home at speeds as
fast as 1.5 million bits per second [Mbps.]. That's more than 25
times faster than today's fastest analog modems, which receive data at
a maximum speed of 56,000 bits per second.
"With this new trial of ADSL technology, we'll begin to extend the
high-speed network service for at-home use by our faculty, students
and staff," said Alex Hills, Carnegie Mellon's vice provost for
computing services. "They'll become our first true 'cybercommuters,'
able to perform from their own homes the same computer-intensive
activities they now do in the office."
Demonstrations of ADSL technology will be conducted for trial
participants during a "town meeting" today on the Carnegie Mellon
campus. The meeting, which is designed to acquaint participants with
ADSL, will include explanations of how it works and details about the
trial. Participants also will be able to try out the technology.
Bell Atlantic will use the 10-month technical trial to analyze ADSL's
ability to provide high-speed remote LAN access to large corporate or
institutional customers. In addition, the trial will allow
participants to experiment with and develop applications that take
advantage of having bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps. to the home.
"We're excited about exploring the potential of ADSL at a university
such as Carnegie Mellon, where students, faculty members and other
users are likely to employ the technology in creative ways," said
Karl Rookstool, director-internetworking at Bell Atlantic Network
"Perhaps medical students will be able to study huge MRI files in
groups from remote locations, or maybe language scholars, from the
comfort of their own homes, will be able to pore over photographs of
manuscripts too ancient and fragile to touch," Rookstool said. "We're
hoping to see ADSL used to the limits of Carnegie Mellon's collective
Possible uses for ADSL technology on campus include
- Distance Learning - Interactive audio and full-motion video
transmissions between classrooms that will allow students,
teachers and administrators to interact from separate locations.
- Remote Access - A professor at home or a student in a dorm room
will be able to access large files and applications that are
located on a computer in a library or laboratory.
- Telemedicine - Two medical specialists, perhaps miles apart, can
consult over the same MRI image and make diagnoses.
- Electronic Library - Even after the library closes, midnight oil
burners often need access to reference materials. ADSL gives
students remote high-speed access to on-line books, journals and
- Games - You know what they say about all work and no play.
Students and faculty members can use the ADSL network to access
computer games from remote locations. The games can be used by
single or multiple players competing against each other from
separate dorm rooms.
ADSL allows the data traffic that flows to and from a user's PC to be
connected directly to a packet switch or router. Data then flows over
an efficient high-speed data packet network, rather than over the
public switched network, which is engineered specifically to handle
voice telephone calls.
So in addition to providing customers with the ability to transmit
data at lightning speeds, ADSL also helps keep the public voice
network from becoming congested with ever increasing data traffic.
During the trial, Westell Technologies will provide the ADSL terminal
equipment (or modems) that will connect with the PCs of trial
participants. ODS Networks, Inc. will provide the ethernet
connections between Carnegie Mellon, Bell Atlantic's central office
and the homes of trial participants.
Bell Atlantic will install and maintain ADSL equipment in Carnegie
Mellon's telecommunications network and at the homes of trial
participants. The company and Carnegie Mellon also will design and
monitor tests that participants will conduct during the trial to put
stress on the ADSL network.
Bell Atlantic is a pioneer in working with ADSL. In the early 1990s,
the company conducted trials of an ADSL-based service that enabled
consumers to order digitized movies, classic television shows and
sports events on demand.
Bell Atlantic currently is conducting a market trial of ADSL-based
Internet access in northern Virginia with about 250 consumers to test
their use of and reaction to ADSL technology. The trial, which began
last September, is expected to continue through the end of this year.
In the trial, Bell Atlantic is using ADSL "modems" from Westell
Technologies that are similar to the gear being used in the Carnegie
Bell Atlantic plans to begin offering a high-speed data communications
service using ADSL technology for consumers in mid-1998, followed
shortly thereafter by a business offering. That service will offer
speeds up to 6 Mbps. The company is evaluating pricing and deployment
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company's telephone company subsidiaries are
the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced
services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the
high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also
owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and
is actively developing high-growth national and international business
opportunities in all phases of the industry.