OPNET software gift will give Iowa State business students an edge in the marketplace

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University business students will soon benefit from $4.38 million worth of software that will allow them to gain practical experience in simulating and modeling complex telecommunications networks.

The in-kind gift from OPNET Technologies, Inc., Bethesda, Md., includes licenses of its IT Guru and Modeler products. Iowa State business students will use the industry-leading software to design and study communication networks, diagnose application performance problems and plan for network growth and high availability. Graduate students and faculty will use the software to conduct advanced telecommunications research, such as modeling wireless security systems and studying the impact of paperless environment installations.

OPNET software is used by technology organizations worldwide to accelerate the research and development process. The corporation was named one of Forbes Magazine's "Hot Shots - 200 Best Up & Coming Companies" in 2003.

"OPNET's gift provides our telecommunications laboratory with the critical software it needs," said College of Business Dean Labh Hira. "It sends a clear message that Iowa State is focused on providing a technology and information-based business program, and OPNET is helping us to make that happen by providing software that will give our students a decisive edge in the marketplace."

Hira added that this type of external support is vital in outfitting Iowa State's new Gerdin Business Building with the latest technologies.

Anthony Hendrickson, associate dean of the College of Business and associate professor of management information systems, said the software will be a significant addition to the MIS program.

"The OPNET software will greatly contribute to the curriculum and to the understanding and development of protocols. It will be indispensable in our research endeavors," Hendrickson said.

Two MIS associate professors, Tony Townsend and Brian Mennecke, have been working with OPNET Technologies for several months regarding the software acquisition. Townsend characterizes it as a "best-in-class solution" in evaluating networking challenges, meaning that it can process vast amounts of information, apply expert knowledge and obtain results within a short time.

"Iowa State students will have the same computer tools used by IT professionals in Fortune 100 companies such as AT&T, MCI, Verizon, Accenture, Oracle and NCR," Townsend said.

Iowa State University is among a number of institutions that have received academic grants from OPNET. Other software recipients include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Stanford University, Oakland, Calif.; the University of California, Berkeley; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.

"Our software has become a de-facto standard in industry for modeling and managing IT infrastructures," according to Todd Kaloudis, vice president of business development and marketing at OPNET. "For the university community, our products reinforce classroom learning of fundamental networking concepts related to communications protocols, distributed application performance, network management, capacity planning, and security. We are very pleased to be integrated into Iowa State's College of Business curriculum. We believe that software-based labs have big advantages for the IT-savvy managers of the future."

OPNET's gift to the College of Business was made through the Iowa State University Foundation. This gift includes licenses, future licenses and future maintenance.