Kansans follow digital yellow brick road to data

Kansans follow digital yellow brick road to data

Are you a good switch or a bad switch? That might be Glinda's question if she landed in Kansas today. The Kansas Wide Information Network (KANWin) runs through the 450-mile wide state like a digital yellow brick road. More than 18,000 PCs connect to KANWin over frame relay circuits, with nodes in every county and state agency.

Faster than a flying monkey, KANWin is a multiprotocol network that runs on TCP/IP and Novell NetWare's IPX communications protocol.

But don't ignore the man behind the curtain. The wizard of KANWin is Andy Scharf, the deputy director for telecommunications.

KANWin started in 1995 when the state installed a new payroll system that required faster response and more data connectivity, Scharf said. It took about eight months to build the network. Once it was built, agencies began to use it for purposes besides payroll.

One such purpose is KANed, a subnetwork designed for libraries and kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools. Modern day scarecrows can earn diplomas through distance learning, right from their own homes. And as every Kansan knows, there's no place like home.

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