The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and OneNet a $942,263 Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) grant to connect additional campuses to the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network (OFFN). This marks the third award to OSRHE and OneNet to expand the OFFN network.
Administered by NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, the CC* grant program invests in campus-level cyberinfrastructure improvements for science applications and research projects. Previous NSF awards connected 19 Oklahoma research and regional universities to OFFN. This new award specifically targets smaller institutions and will expand the network into rural areas of the state.
Under the terms of this two-year grant cycle, Murray State College (MSC) and College of the Muscogee Nation (CMN) will be connected to the OFFN network. Two other schools, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) and Rogers State University (RSU), will receive upgrades to enhance connectivity.
“The State Regents are pleased to expand the OFFN network to additional campuses across the state,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “These campus connections create new research and education opportunities for faculty and students. A diverse student population, including Native American and first-generation students, will have broader access to resources that develop 21st century workforce skills.”
OFFN is a 10 and 100 Gbps research network that provides higher education institutions with a dedicated route to internet and research networks that is much faster than traditional internet highways. This alternate pathway allows researchers to transmit data at higher speeds.
The project will make advanced cyberinfrastructure tools and services available to the campuses to support distance learning and a wide range of scientific disciplines, including cybersecurity, natural resources and agriculture. The grant award also will fund optical fiber builds to three campuses, providing CMN, OSUIT and RSU with 10 Gbps connections to OneNet and the OFFN network. MSC’s connectivity will also increase to 10 Gbps.
The award will be managed by OneNet, the state system of higher education’s comprehensive digital communications entity. Brian Burkhart, OneNet’s senior director of network systems, will serve as principal investigator. Mekko Tyner of CMN will lead research and education application adoption. Sky Pettett of OneNet will manage network technology implementation and training, and April Goode of OneNet will provide planning, communications and coordination services for grant implementation.
“As Oklahoma’s partner in research and education, OneNet used NSF CC* funding to provide research-grade connectivity to our state’s higher education campuses,” said Burkhart. “Our goal is to engage faculty and students in scientific discovery and innovation through OFFN’s high-speed connections and data transfer capabilities to supercomputing resources, instruments and datasets. These investments not only foster new discoveries, but enhance economic growth for our state.”