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Internet2 logo.svg
Formation1997 (as University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development)
PurposeResearch and testing network
Headquarters Ann Arbor, Michigan, US [1]

Internet2 is a not-for-profit United States computer networking consortium led by members from the research and education communities, industry, and government. [2] The Internet2 consortium administrative headquarters are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Emeryville, California. [1]


As of November 2013, Internet2 has over 500 members including 251 institutions of higher education, [3] 9 partners and 76 members from industry, [4] over 100 research and education networks or connector organizations, [5] [6] and 67 affiliate members. [7]

Internet2 operates the Internet2 Network, [8] an Internet Protocol network using optical fiber that delivers network services for 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 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. [9]

The Internet2 community develops and deploys network technologies for the future of the Internet. These technologies include large-scale network performance measurement and management tools, [10] secure identity and access management tools [11] and capabilities such as scheduling high-bandwidth, high-performance circuits. [12]

Internet2 members serve on several advisory councils, [13] collaborate in a variety of working groups and special interest groups, [14] gather at spring and fall member meetings, [15] and are encouraged to participate in the strategic planning process. [16]


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 faced by academic researchers who needed 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 for supercomputers at educational institutions. 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 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. [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.

In 2010, Internet2 received a $62.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT grant, [22] which allowed Internet2 to put in place a long term IRU for fiber and upgrade the network with its own DWDM optical network system. Ciena later announced that this was the first 100G nationwide optical network. [23] The upgrade to the new optical system was completed in December 2012. [24]


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:

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. [25] The judging is conducted by many universities and based upon the following criteria:

Winners of the award are announced each year at the Spring member meeting: 2006, [26] 2007, [27] 2008. [28]

See also

Related Research Articles

GÉANT organization

GÉANT is the pan-European data network for the research and education community. It interconnects national research and education networks (NRENs) across Europe, enabling collaboration on projects ranging from biological science, to earth observation, to arts and culture. The GÉANT project combines a high-bandwidth, high-capacity 50,000 km network with a growing range of services. These allow researchers to collaborate, working together wherever they are located. Services include identity and trust, multi-domain monitoring perfSONAR MDM, dynamic circuits and roaming via the eduroam service.

JANET academic computer network in the United Kingdom

Janet is a high-speed network for the UK research and education community provided by Jisc, a not-for-profit company set up to provide computing support for education. It serves 18 million users and is the busiest National Research and Education Network in Europe by volume of data carried. JANET was previously a private, UK government-funded organisation, which provided the Janet computer network and related collaborative services to UK research and education.

Wide area network Computer network that connects devices across a large distance and area

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that extends over a large geographical area for the primary purpose of computer networking. Wide area networks are often established with leased telecommunication circuits.

Packet switching a method of grouping data which is transmitted over a digital network into packets

Packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into packets. Packets are made of a header and a payload. Data in the header is used by networking hardware to direct the packet to its destination where the payload is extracted and used by application software. Packet switching is the primary basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide.

Abilene Network

Abilene Network was a high-performance backbone network created by the Internet2 community in the late 1990s. In 2007 the Abilene Network was retired and the upgraded network became known as the "Internet2 Network".

AARNet organization

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National LambdaRail organization

National LambdaRail (NLR) was a 12,000-mile (19,000 km), high-speed national computer network owned and operated by the U.S. research and education community. In November 2011 the control of NLR was purchased from its university membership by a billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. NLR ceased operations in March 2014.

The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California is a nonprofit corporation formed in 1997 to provide high-performance, high-bandwidth networking services to California universities and research institutions. Through this corporation, representatives from all of California's K-20 public education combine their networking resources toward the operation, deployment, and maintenance of the California Research and Education Network, or CalREN. Today, CalREN operates over 8,000 miles of fiber optic cable and serves more than 20 million users.

Fiber to the <i>x</i> any broadband network architecture using optical fiber to provide all or part of the local loop used for last mile telecommunications

Fiber to the x or fiber in the loop is a generic term for any broadband network architecture using optical fiber to provide all or part of the local loop used for last mile telecommunications. As fiber optic cables are able to carry much more data than copper cables, especially over long distances, copper telephone networks built in the 20th century are being replaced by fiber.

Optical networking is a means of communication that uses signals encoded in light to transmit information in various types of telecommunications networks. These include limited range local-area networks (LAN) or wide-area networks (WAN), which cross metropolitan and regional areas as well as long-distance national, international and transoceanic networks. It is a form of optical communication that relies on optical amplifiers, lasers or LEDs and wave division multiplexing (WDM) to transmit large quantities of data, generally across fiber-optic cables. Because it is capable of achieving extremely high bandwidth, it is an enabling technology for the Internet and telecommunication networks that transmit the vast majority of all human and machine-to-machine information.

Computer network Network that allows computers to share resources and communicate with each other

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Utah Education Network

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  2. "About Internet2", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  3. "Internet2 University Members List", Retrieved on 2013-11-14
  4. "Internet2 Corporate Members", Retrieved on 2013-11-14
  5. "Internet2 members: Research & Education Networks", Retrieved on 2013-11-14
  6. "Internet2 members: Communities & Groups", Retrieved on 2013-11-14
  7. "Internet2 Affiliate Members List", Retrieved on 2013-11-14
  8. "Internet2 Network", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  9. "Internet2 K20 Connectivity Data", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  10. "Internet2 Performance Initiative", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  11. "Internet2 Security Directory and Related Links", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  12. "Internet2 Dynamic Circuit Network", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  13. "Internet2 Advisory Councils" Archived 2009-03-12 at the Wayback Machine , Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  14. "Internet2 Working Groups, SIGs, and Advisory Groups" Archived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine , Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  15. "Internet2 Member Meetings" Archived 2009-08-13 at the Wayback Machine , Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  16. "Internet2 Strategic Planning", Retrieved on 2009-06-26
  17. "Internet2 - Terms of Use" Archived 2006-10-20 at the Wayback Machine , 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
  23. "Internet2: Building America's First National 100G Network - Ciena".
  24. "Internet2 Community's New Owned Optical Infrastructure Fully Deployed | Internet2 Blogs".
  25. Internet2 IDEA Awards Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  26. "IDEA Award Winners 2006". Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  27. "IDEA Award Winners 2007". Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  28. "IDEA Award Winners 2008". Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-06-02.

Further reading