• United States

Internap touts latest higher-ed win

Sep 06, 20043 mins
Internet Service ProvidersNetworking

* Internap extends contract with George Washington University

Internap Network Services will provide OC-3 Internet connectivity to the Virginia campus of The George Washington University under a three-year, $576,000 contract extension announced in August.

The GWU deal is the latest in a series of higher-education wins for Internap, which provides high-performance Internet connectivity using multiple backbone networks. Internap’s other collegiate customers include Emory University in Atlanta, the Pennsylvania state college system, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several junior colleges in Florida.

“In the past, universities almost acted like ISPs,” says Don Magnuson, mid-Atlantic market director for Internap. “They had multiple carriers, and they had to manage complex networks. They had to be able to run [Border Gateway Protocol] and to hire people who know how to do that. It was all somewhat complicated.”

Magnuson says that universities are finding they can save money if they outsource their network management services to a service provider like Internap.

“The outlook for Internap in the higher-education market looks pretty good,” Magnuson adds. “It’s driven by all the tremendous growth in IP in the higher-ed arena.”

Two years ago, Internap won a competitive bid to support GWU’s main campus in Washington, D.C. Ten ISPs bid on the job, but GWU officials said they chose Internap because it offered “the best product.”

“Internap was so much better than the other bidders,” says Andrew Gallo, senior information systems engineer for GWU. “I hadn’t seen anything like their SLAs, which cover Internet transit providers.”

Gallo has had virtually no problems with Internap to date. “I’ve never had to call and open a trouble ticket,” Gallo says. “I’ve never had to call Internap’s NOC to report a problem. I’ve never had one of my customers call me to complain [about Internap’s service.]”

Indeed, Gallo has been so happy with Internap’s service at the university’s main campus, that he invited only Internap to bid on GWU’s Virginia campus network upgrade.

“We could have done a full-blown RFP, but that’s very time-consuming,” Gallo says. “Internap came in with a good price and we liked their service, so we saw no reason to do that.”

Gallo says IP connectivity is becoming more crucial at GWU as more applications – including course registration, employee payment and class grading – go online.

“If your IP services are nice to have, but let’s say they go out for a couple of hours and it’s not that important to you, then you should go with the dirt-cheapest provider,” Gallo says. “If you’re talking about mission-critical IP applications and end-to-end performance, you need to look for an SLA that matches that. Internap does that.”