UNM Information Technologies (IT)

New Mexico Lambda Rail

The New Mexico Lambda Rail (NMLR) Initiative is a partnership formed by the University of New Mexico (UNM), New Mexico State University (NMSU), and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMMT) to provide direct high-speed access within Governor Richardson’s Wire New Mexico Initiative — including National Lambda Rail (NLR) and Internet2 (I2).

NLR is a major initiative of U.S. universities and research oriented organizations to provide a national scale optical network infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications. In technical terms, NLR’s network consists of leased optical fiber activated using Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM). This approach enables each fiber pair to support about 32 wavelengths or networks, which enable an ultra-high data transmission rate of 320 gigabits/second. NLR has connected more than 150 institutions within the United States with international peers to create a global optical-network cyber-infrastructure.

The creation of NMLR as the legal mechanism to provide access to the NLR network will enable New Mexico’s research and educational institutions to more effectively communicate with each other and to better participate as players in the global research community. The ultra-high-speed connectivity provided by the NLR infrastructure will enhance the opportunities for research collaborations with other major universities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as improve the competitive position for federally funded initiatives in important expanding areas such as homeland security, microelectronics, nanotechnology, advanced material, ecology and telemedicine.

NMLR operates with an acceptable use policy that allows research-oriented organizations located in New Mexico, as well as governments and Educational Institutions to utilize the NLR infrastructure to accomplish activities requiring high-speed connectivity. Community colleges and secondary school systems, for example will have an opportunity to engage in next-generation teaching technologies, including state-of-the-art distance learning modalities. Use of advanced educational tools, such as virtual reality, visualization, and distributed multimedia, will become technically and economically feasible — even by entities in rural communities, allowing for the further economic growth of New Mexico.

Access to the NLR infrastructure in New Mexico will, in the future, have an impact on information transfer, and the emerging information economy, similar to the role of Interstates 25 and 40 in the transport of commerical goods produced by the industrial economy.