The UNCA view of the Internet

Campus network

The UNCA network is a collection of building-wide Ethernets connected by fiber optic cables. At this time, the building connection move data at "Ethernet speeds" or 10,000,000 bits per second. Presently, only three buildings are connected to the campus Ethernet.

Within a year, the campus network will reach all buildings. An inner core of three buildings, Robinson, Ramsey, and Lipinsky, will be connected by a 155,000,000 bits per second ATM (Asynchronous Transmission Mode) network.

Statewide network

UNCA, like most colleges in North Carolina, connect to the Internet through the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NC-REN). The structure of NC-REN changes frequently. However, NC-REN does maintain a nice network map that shows a fairly up-to-date view of its connections.

At this time, UNCA connects to NC-REN through a 16 Mbps "pipe" to Western Carolina University which then connects to the North Carolina Information Highway (NCIH), a high-speed broadband network which is part of the North Carolina's Integrated Information Network (NCIIN) and managed by several phone company. Needless to say, the management structure of the state's Internet is a tad complicated.

Backbone networks

Most state-wide university networks connect to regional networks which then connect to one of the "backbone" networks. However, the North Carolina network connects directly to two nation-wide backbones, Sprintlink and UUNET. Both connections are made through DS3 (45 Mbps) points of presence (POPs) in Raleigh.

Other information

For a good tutorial on the workings of the Internet, check out the Internet Architecture home page of Boardwatch magazine. Boardwatch also has some nifty maps of the large backbone networks. Another great place for network maps is The Geography of Cyberspace page of Martin Dodge.

A now for some work

To get a better feel for UNCA's Internet connection, log into and run the program /usr/sbin/traceroute to some of the following locations:

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