News Release

BITS Pilani Collaborates With Cisco to Enable Next Generation Information Communication Services

- Project NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' to provide students & faculty with services like broadband access, IP Telephony, Wi-Fi and Streaming Media & Video Conferencing Facilities -
Mar 24, 2004

NEW DELHI, March 24, 2004: Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), one of India's largest and oldest engineering & science institutions in the country, today announced the completion of the NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' project. Under the NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' project, BITS has set up a Cisco Gigabit backbone network across its 328 acre campus that enables it to provide next generation information and communication services to its students and faculty. BITS now provides Broadband access, IP telephony, Streaming Media and Video conferencing facilities in student rooms, hostels, staff quarters and the guesthouse, as well as wireless access in select areas of the campus.

"The NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' project provides over 4,000 students with the infrastructure to aid and enhance their learning. Students now have the flexibility to study, research and communicate outside the confines of their classrooms including their rooms, cafeteria and library among others" said Dr. S. Venkateswaran, Vice Chancellor, BITS (Pilani). He added, "Further having the nation's largest captive backbone infrastructure will enhance BITS Distance Learning Program Division (DLPD), to offer media rich content to over 7500 students. Our DLPD is already #1 in India and now we can look forward to a successful expansion of the Virtual University concept allowing students, faculty, research and organizations to collaborate with no geographical and time zone constraints."

As a part of the NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' project, Cisco Systems has deployed over 240 IP phones. The 3-tier network architecture consists of Core, Distribution and Access layers. Long Range Ethernet (LRE) and Wireless access is available at select areas such as the hostel and the cafeteria, and the library.

"Cisco believes in changing the way people learn, live work and play. We therefore, engage with premier technology institutions around the world to look at ways of improving the learning experience. The deployment of the various Cisco technologies at BITS Pilani have helped create a leading IT and networking infrastructure that provides students' with access to information which was first available only to a few," said Prem Jain, Senior VP and GM, Routing Technology Group, Cisco Systems, Inc.. He further added, "BITS is one of India's most recognized names in technical education. The institute has been an early mover in pioneering the use of technology to stream line delivery of education to its students - and Cisco is proud to be associated with this project - by NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds'".

NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' is the first in a series of projects to be accomplished over the next decade at BITS. Building on the NEURON - 'Interconnecting Minds' infrastructure, an advanced, distributed VLSI lab is already under development. The lab will be set up at the BITS Pilani campus in co-ordination with the Centre for Electronics Research at Pilani. Chip designing requires highly specialised skill sets and the aim of this lab will be to develop chips that are meant for Indian applications. Once the VLSI is complete, it will become possible for students to access the lab's resources online.