Internet2 warms up for switch on

Internet2 warms up for switch on
Tom Foremski The first section of the next generation Internet2 network is about be switched on. The coalition of 150 US university and research centres said that a key part of Internet2, the Abilene project, will begin operating next week connecting 70 university campuses. The 13,000-mile private network will offer researchers a bandwidth of 2.4Gbit/s – 1,000 times faster than the traffic-clogged. Internet2 is designed to link researchers to enable them to swap supercomputer data and operate sophisticated research equipment remotely. It is required to overcome the traffic limitations on the Internet, which itself was once only used by universities and government research centres. Major US electronics companies including IBM, Cisco, Qwest and Nortel are developing technologies and equipment for the new network. The companies are also using Internet2 to test high performance applications. “One key technology that is being tested on Internet2 is differentiated services, which prioritises packets of data,” said John Patrick, vice-president of Internet Technology at IBM. “Packets that contain, say, real-time video, get priority over less essential packets carrying e-mail.” Differentiated services are essential to a range of business services, added Patrick. “While Internet2 is a private network, the technologies developed will quickly make their way into the general Internet. It will take just months rather than years to make the transition.”


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