Internet 2 to ease traffic on
The World Wide Web continues to bask in the limelight, but a group of universities,
government agencies and industry partners are working on the next generation
of the Internet.
the information superhighway
The privatization of the present Internet brought congestion and slower
transfer speeds to universities and research facilities that need to exchange
data quickly and easily.
The Internet 2 Project (I2), of which Emory is a member, will tackle education
and research institution's needs for moving large amounts of data more quickly
through the use of wider bandwidth (basically, a larger cable capable of
carrying more information from point to point) and technology developed
specifically for the project. I2 promises to relieve congestion for its
Jim Johnson, vice provost for Information Technology attended the group's
first general meeting in San Francisco, where members were updated on I2's
Members agreed to identify regional subgroups that will install necessary
upgraded technology. These groups, called gigapops, will be chosen by the
end of February. Gigapops will interconnect with regional institutions and
with each other. Engineers say they expect to have several gigapops constructed
and connected to campuses and each other by September.
Johnson says the I2 should be fully operational for the initial 25 university
participants within a year. Remaining members, including Emory, should be
on-line within 3-5 years.
The I2 Applications Steering Group plans to create a "field of tools"
that will allow users to build new distance learning/instructional management
systems, digital libraries and virtual labs.
Other applications planned for I2 include interactive, network-based instruction;
real-time, sensor-based modeling and simulation; large scale, multi-site
computation; and very large database processing.
The project puts emphasis back into developing better technology for information
transfer and increasing quality of service. Member universities can expect
their computer telecommunications technology to outpace nonmembers by nearly
A key element in the Clinton Administration's Next Generation Internet Initiative,
I2 began in October 1996. Emory became the 37th member of the 100-member
group. As such, Emory has pledged to:
Create a project team to support the I2's applications and advanced network
Establish broadband Internet connectivity on an end-to-end basis as soon
as possible to support development, testing and use of applications.
Participate at the executive level in the overall management of the project.
Contribute necessary financial support to I2 activities, as well as central
management and administrative activities.
The project is costly, but the federal government has promised to participate
in the project by providing up to $100 million annually. The funds will
come from various agencies, with the majority of funding expected to go
to participating universities.