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Internet2 is an advanced not-for-profit United States networking consortium led by members from the research and education communities, industry, and government.[1]

In 2009, Internet2 member rolls included over 200 higher education institutions,[2] over 40 members from industry,[3] over 30 research and education network and connector organizations,[4] and over 50 affiliate members.[5]

Internet2 operates the Internet2 Network,[6] a next-generation Internet Protocol and optical network that delivers production network services to meet the high-performance demands of research and education, and provides a secure network testing and research environment. In late 2007, Internet2 began operating its newest dynamic circuit network, the Internet2 DCN, an advanced technology that allows user-based allocation of high-capacity data circuits over the fiber-optic network.

The Internet2 Network, through its regional network and connector members, connects over 60,000 U.S. educational, research, government and "community anchor" institutions, from primary and secondary schools to community colleges and universities, public libraries and museums to health care organizations.[7]

The Internet2 community is actively engaged in developing and deploying emerging network technologies beyond the scope of single institutions and critical to the future of the Internet. These technologies include large-scale network performance measurement and management tools,[8] simple and secure identity and access management tools[9] and advanced capabilities such as the on-demand creation and scheduling of high-bandwidth, high-performance circuits.[10]

Internet2 is member led and member focused, with an open governance structure and process.[11] Members serve on several advisory councils,[12] collaborate in a variety of working groups and special interest groups[13] gather at spring and fall member meetings,[14] and are encouraged to participate in the strategic planning process.[15]


As the Internet gained in public recognition and popularity, universities were among the first institutions to outgrow the Internet's bandwidth limitations because of the data transfer requirements that many academic researchers need to collaborate with their colleagues. Some universities wanted to support high-performance applications like data mining, medical imaging and particle physics. This resulted in the creation of the very-high-performance Backbone Network Service, or vBNS, developed in 1995 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and MCI, specifically to meet the needs of the supercomputers at educational institutions. The concept of the “next-generation Internet” was born. After the expiration of the NSF agreement, vBNS largely transitioned to providing service to the government. As a result, the research and education community founded Internet2 to serve its unique networking needs.

The Internet2 Project was originally established by 34 university researchers in 1996 under the auspices of EDUCOM (later EDUCAUSE), and was formally organized as the not-for-profit University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) in 1997. It later changed its name to Internet2. Internet2 is a registered trademark.[16] The Internet2 consortium administrative headquarters is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices in Washington, D.C.[17]

The Internet2 community, in partnership with Qwest, built the first Internet2 Network, called Abilene, in 1998 and was a prime investor in the National LambdaRail (NLR) project.[18] During 2004–2006, Internet2 and NLR held extensive discussions regarding a possible merger.[19] Those talks paused in spring, 2006, resumed in March, 2007, but eventually ceased in the fall of 2007,[20] due to unresolved differences.

In 2006, Internet2 announced a partnership with Level 3 Communications to launch a brand new nationwide network, boosting its capacity from 10 Gbit/s to 100 Gbit/s.[21] In October, 2007, Internet2 officially retired Abilene and now refers to its new, higher capacity network as the Internet2 Network.


Internet2 provides the U.S. research and education community with a network that satisfies their bandwidth-intensive requirements. The network itself is a dynamic, robust and cost-effective hybrid optical and packet network. It furnishes a 100 Gbit/s network backbone to more than 210 U.S. educational institutions, 70 corporations and 45 non-profit and government agencies.

The objectives of the Internet2 consortium are:

  • Developing and maintaining a leading-edge network.
  • Fully exploiting the capabilities of broadband connections through the use of new-generation applications.
  • Transferring new network services and applications to all levels of educational use, and eventually the broader Internet community.

The uses of the network span from collaborative applications, distributed research experiments, grid-based data analysis to social networking. Some of these applications are in varying levels of commercialization, such as IPv6, open-source middleware for secure network access, Layer 2 VPNs and dynamic circuit networks.


These technologies and their organizational counterparts were not only created to make a faster alternative to the Internet. Many fields have been able to use the Abilene network to foster creativity, research, and development in a way that was not previously possible. Users of poor quality libraries can now download not only text but sound recordings, animations, videos, and other resources, which would be otherwise unavailable. Another application is the robust video conferencing now available to Internet2 participants. Neurosurgeons can now video conference with other experts in the field during an operation in a high resolution format with no apparent time lag.[citation needed]

Application awards

The Internet2 Driving Exemplary Applications (IDEA) award (not to be confused with IDEA awards) was first announced by Internet2 in 2006 as a way of recognizing those who create and use advanced network applications at their best.[22] The judging is conducted by many universities and based upon the following criteria:

  • Magnitude of the positive impact of the application for its (current) users
  • Technical merit of the application.
  • Breadth of impact, as indicated by current user base and likelihood of broader adoption by its full natural community of potential users

Winners are announced each year at the Spring member meeting: 2006,[23] 2007,[24] 2008.[25]

See also

  • AARNet (Australian academic and research network)
  • CANARIE (Canadian research network)
  • CLARA (Cooperación Latino Americana de Redes Avanzandas)
  • DANTE (Not-for-profit organization managing the pan-European research network)
  • DREN (U.S. Department of Defense research and engineering network)
  • GEANT (The pan-European research network)
  • Kennisnet (Dutch public Internet organization)
  • JANET (British academic network)
  • Renater (French research network)
  • SURFnet (Dutch research network)
  • HEAnet (Irish higher education network)
  • TERENA (European research and education networks)


  1. "About Internet2", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  2. "Internet2 University Members List", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  3. "Internet2 Corporate Members", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  4. "Internet2 R&E Members List", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  5. "Internet2 Affiliate Members List", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  6. "Internet2 Network", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  7. "Internet2 K20 Connectivity Data", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  8. "Internet2 Performance Initiative", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  9. "Internet2 Security Directory and Related Links", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  10. "Internet2 Dynamic Circuit Network", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  11. "Internet2 Governance", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  12. "Internet2 Advisory Councils", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  13. "Internet2 Working Groups, SIGs, and Advisory Groups", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  14. "Internet2 Member Meetings", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  15. "Internet2 Strategic Planning", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  16. "Internet2 - Terms of Use", Internet2.
  17. "Internet2 Contact Information", Internet2.
  18. "Optical networking: The next generation - CNET, By Marguerite Reardon (Staff Writer), Published October 11, 2004 4:00 AM PDT
  19. "Internet2, National Lambda Rail, In Merger Talks (July 18, 2005)"
  20. Internate archive of now defunct site)
  21. "Speedy Internet2 gets 10x boost -, By Anick Jesdanun (AP Internet Writer), Published October 11, 2007 8:16 AM", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  22. Internet2 IDEA Awards
  23. IDEA Award Winners 2006
  24. IDEA Award Winners 2007
  25. IDEA Award Winners 2008

Selected bibliography

  • Barnes, Christopher, and Terresa E. Jackson . INTERNET2: The Backbone of the Future. Brooks Air Force Base, Tex.: Air Force Research Laboratory, 2002. (9 February 2007).
  • Internet2. Internet2 - Home. (9 February 2007).
  • Matlis, Jan. "Internet2." Computerworld, 28 August 2006, 30.
  • Moschovitis, Christos, Hilary Poole, Tami Schuyler, and Theresa M. Senft. History of the Internet: A Chronology, 1843 to the Present. Santa Barbara, Cal.: ABC-CLIO, 1999.
  • Van Houweling, Douglas and Ted Hanss, "Internet2: The Promise of Truly Advanced Broadband," in The Broadband Explosion, R. Austin and S. Bradley, Editors, Harvard Business School Press, 2005.

External links

This article has been modified from an original version written for Wikipedia. The original version was made available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license.