Sunday, April 22, 2007

Internet TOO?

I always check my ED1 VIDCONF and CILC e-mails for program opportunities. Lately there have been a lot of interesting posts from Magpi at UPenn. A Multicultural Youth Exchange: An Art-Based Videoconference Workshop for 6-8th graders and
a Virtual Coffee House Project peaked my interest. The content seemed very appropriate for our middle school students, and the price was The only problem was the the connection requirements: *H.323 Videoconferencing and Internet2 Connectivity Required. I have the H.323 protocol but not the Internet2. This exclusion from participating is a little frustrating. At a time when great efforts are made to connect all kinds of videoconferencing equipment and software to make videoconferencing more inclusive, it seems that Internet2 is working to become exclusive. What is Internet2 and how can we get it? According to Wikipedia "Internet2 is a non-profit consortium which develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies, for education and high-speed data transfer purposes". What Internet2 users experience is a faster, steadier network that is less congested and free from commercial traffic. "Imagine driving on the commercial Internet as analogous to driving on a four-lane highway in St. Louis during rush hour. Driving on Internet2 is more like driving on a rural four-lane highway in western Kansas. You get where you're going a whole lot quicker." What are the costs for involvement in Internet2? They are in the tens of thousands of dollars. So, with an investment of that much money it is no wonder that the users would want exclusivity. The excitement of using Internet2 for videoconferencing is extremely tempting and we can only hope the price comes down as the technology becomes more widespread. But for now I can just read those program postings and wish I had Internet 2.