Q. Why the I-Net?

A. Bandwidth

Q. What is the "I-Net"?
A. The I-Net is short for Institutional Network. An Institutional Network uses "high bandwidth" phone and cable lines to exchange information among I-Net members and to and from the Internet. The Pittsburgh I-Net will provide high bandwidth services to schools, libraries, non-profit organizations and local government agencies.
Q. What is "Bandwidth"?
A. "Bandwidth" is the amount of data (bits per second) that a phone or cable line can carry per unit of time. It is comparable to the size of a water pipe. Water pipes with larger diameters carry more water per unit of time (gallons per minute) than pipes with smaller diameters.
Q. Why is Bandwidth important?
A. Audio and video involve more data than text. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other data-intensive uses also require more bandwidth.
Q. How does the Pittsburgh I-Net increase bandwidth?
A. With telecommunications, the amount of data that a line carries depends upon the materials and technologies used with the lines. The Pittsburgh I-Net will use the newly-installed fiber optic lines of the new AT&T cable tv system instead of regular copper phone lines. Special electronic equipment at each user’s site can increase the bandwidth even further.
Q. How does I-Net bandwidth compare with standard bandwidth available today?
A. Regular phone lines: 56,000 bits per second (56 kbps)
  ISDN lines 128,000 bits per second (128 kbps)
  T-1 phone lines: 1,544,000 bits per second (1.5 mbps)
  Pittsburgh I-Net: 100,000,000 bits per second (100 mbps)
Q. What additional functions does the I-Net make possible?
A. Regular phone lines: Email and web browsing
  ISDN lines Email and faster web browsing
  T-1 phone lines: Faster file downloads; streaming audio and video;
limited videoconferencing
  Pittsburgh I-Net: Full-screen full-motion interactive video- and audio conferencing; motion picture quality streaming audio and video; fast file downloads
Q. How long does it take to download a large data file, such as the movie "The Matrix"?
A. Regular phone lines: 13 days
  ISDN lines 5.7 days
  T-1 phone lines: 11.2 hours
  Pittsburgh I-Net: 10 minutes


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This page last updated on 26 June, 2000