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Letters to the Editor

MIT Bandwidth Not Unlimited

Regarding the article “MIT and City Collaborate to Provide Free Wireless” published in the Feb. 1 issue, I can confirm the report that MIT is working very actively with the City of Cambridge to help our community become the first city in the country using low-cost mesh network technology (developed at MIT and starting to be available commercially) to provide ubiquitous wireless to its citizenry and visitors. This is a great example of a cooperative effort between MIT and our city’s government to further a community goal.

I must, however, also comment on one quote in the article from an MIT researcher regarding MIT’s Internet access. Although the capacity of our Internet connection may seem “ridiculously high” to one researcher, when you add up the needs of thousands of researchers, faculty, and students, many of whom have increasing needs to communicate with and send gigabytes of data in real-time to colleagues around the world, I can assure you that we are constantly struggling to balance costs and demands for increasing capacity. After complex negotiations with multiple vendors, MIT still spends millions per year to maintain Internet connectivity (who ever said the Internet was free?), and demand keeps increasing. So rather than “ridiculously high” capacity, I would rather say that we have “incredibly high demands” for capacity. But at least one thing is ridiculously high here at MIT, and that is the incredible quality of the research that we turn out using that capacity. And that’s terrific.

Jerrold M. Grochow ’68

VP for Information Services and Technology