Abilene An Internet2 backbone network that operated from February 1999 to September 2007. Abilene has been replaced by the new Internet2 Network; see http://www.internet2.edu/network/.
ACCESS (Alliance Center for Collaboration, Education, Science and Software) http://www.accesscenterdc.org/
AUP (acceptable use policy) The set of guidelines determining what a particular network can be used for. Also known as CoU (conditions of use).
Authentication (AuthN) The security measure by which a person transmits and validates his or her association with an electronic identifier. An example of authentication is submitting a password that is associated with a user account name.
authorization Proving that you are permitted to perform a certain action or set of actions. Being able to do this without revealing your identity is central to the problem of ensuring online privacy, and is one of the principal goals of Internet2's Shibboleth project.
bandwidth The amount of data that can be transmitted over a network in a fixed amount
of time. Bandwidth is the fundamental networking parameter, and is usually
measured in kilobits, megabits or gigabits per second (Kbps, Mbps, or
best effort The type of service offered by a non-QoS-enabled packet-switched network,
and in particular by today's Internet. With best-effort service, all packets
are treated the same way with respect to forwarding priority and drop
BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) The main protocol used for inter-domain Internet routing.
BoF (Birds of a Feather session) An informal discussion meeting open to anyone interested in a particular topic.
CA*net, CA*net II, CA*net 3, CA*net 4 Leading Canadian research and education networks, developed by
CANARIE. (The asterisk is an ASCII substitute for a maple leaf.)
CAIDA (Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis) An SDSC-based project that "provides tools and analyses promoting the engineering and maintenance of a robust, scalable global Internet infrastructure." http://www.caida.org/
CANARIE Canada's advanced Internet development organization; the Canadian counterpart of
CoU (conditions of use) The set of guidelines determining what a particular network can be
used for. Also known as AUP (acceptable use policy).
cyberinfrastructure The CyberInfrastructure Partnership web site notes that "The term 'cyberinfrastructure' was coined by a National Science Foundation (NSF) blue-ribbon committee in 2003 in answer to the question: how can NSF, as the nation's premier agency funding basic research, remove existing barriers to the rapid evolution of high performance computing, making it truly usable by all the nation's scientists and engineers? The term describes the new research environments in which advanced computational, collaborative, data acquisition, and management services are available to researchers through high-performance networks. The definition is evolving as the cyberinfrastructure itself evolves." See http://www.ci-partnership.org/ and http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=OCI.
delay How long it takes a packet to travel from its source to its destination.
Also called latency. See the IETF IPPM Working Group (http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/ippm-charter.html).
DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) Formerly the Desktop Management Task Force. http://www.dmtf.org
DREN (Defense Research and Engineering Network) The US Department of Defense (DoD) research network. http://www.hpcmo.hpc.mil/Htdocs/DREN/
duplex mismatch One of the three most common causes of end-to-end performance problems; the others are incorrectly-set TCP buffers and problems on the local infrastructure. See http://e2epi.internet2.edu/case-studies/SC02/DuplexMismatch.html.
DVTS (Digital Video Transport System) A simple and inexpensive method of transmitting high-quality video and audio over the Internet. See http://apps.internet2.edu/dvts.html.
E2Epi (Internet2 End-to-End Performance Initiative) The actual performance experienced by users is often far less than that theoretically achievable by the campus, gigaPoP, and backbone networks that connect them. E2Epi investigates why this is so and what can be done about it. http://e2epi.internet2.edu/
EDUCAUSE Written in all capital letters. EDUCAUSE was formed from the merger of two groups called Educom and CAUSE. http://www.educause.edu/
email, ebusiness, ecommerce No hyphen, no capital letters. (House style.)
ESnet (energy sciences network) The US Department of Energy (DOE) research network. http://www.es.net/
FAQ (frequently asked questions) This is always plural, so "FAQs" is redundant. As with "data", however,
either a singular or a plural verb is OK: "The FAQ need to be updated" and "The FAQ needs to be updated" are both correct.
federation An association of enterprises that come together to exchange information about their users and resources in order to enable secure electronic transactions and collaborations. Implementing federations is a significant technical challenge, which Internet2 is addressing with its Shibboleth project.
FiberCo™ An organization for bulk purchase and allocation of optical fiber in support of regional optical networking initiatives. http://www.fiberco.org/
GENI Global Environment for Networking Innovations. An NSF initiative to create new network architectures. http://www.nsf.gov/cise/cns/geni/
gigaPoP (gigabit point of presence) A regional internetworking aggregation point. Because "PoP" is the previously-established acronym for "point of presence", and because "gigabit" is not usually
capitalized, "gigaPoP" is the correct capitalization.
GigE (Gigabit Ethernet) An Ethernet version with a speed of 1 Gbps. The most advanced version of Ethernet to date is 10 GigE, operating at 10 Gbps.
grid A system for large-scale wide-area distributed computing. Making the software to make grids work is one of the main challenges facing designers of advanced networks. Globus (http://www.globus.org/) and the Open Grid Forum (http://www.gridforum.org/) are among the principal organizations for grid development.
GTRN (Global Terabit Research Network) "A partnership to establish a true world-wide next generation Internet to interconnect national and multinational high speed research and education networks." http://www.indiana.edu/~gtrn/
H.323 A set of ITU standards for Internet videoconferencing and VoIP. More information on H.323 is available
H.350 An ITU standard, developed by the Internet2/ViDe Video Middleware (VidMid) working group, that provides a uniform way to store and locate directory information related to video and VoIP.
HOPI (Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure) An Internet2 project working to create a network that combines shared IP packet switching with aggressive use of dynamically provisioned optical lambdas. Also, the set of testbed facilities this project will build to test various aspects of candidate hybrid designs. http://networks.internet2.edu/hopi/
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Among many other things, a major networking standards body, notably for Ethernet (802.3) and wireless (802.11). http://www.ieee.org/
IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) The body that sets standards for the Internet, most importantly through
publishing RFCs. http://www.ietf.org/
InCommon™ InCommon is a formal federation of organizations focused on creating a common framework for trust in support of research and education. The primary purpose of the InCommon federation is to facilitate collaboration through the sharing of protected network-accessible resources by means of an agreed-upon common trust fabric. InCommon participation is separate from membership in Internet2. http://www.incommonfederation.org/
inter-domain/intra-domain "Interdomain" and "intradomain" are also correct, but the hyphenated versions are Internet2 house style. These are two very similar-looking terms with opposite meanings, and the hyphen after the "r" or "a" draws the eye to the small difference between them.
Internet2 Commons The Internet2 Commons investigates, selects, and deploys collaboration technologies for the Internet2 research and education community. The initial Commons offering, an H.323 videoconferencing service supporting multi-site connections, is now operational. http://commons.internet2.edu/
Internet2 Network An advanced hybrid optical and packet network for the U.S. research and education community. See http://www.internet2.edu/network/.
Internet2® A university-led effort to develop advanced network applications and the network technologies needed to support them. The 200+ US universities that lead the project work closely with partners in industry and government, and with advanced networks around the world. http://www.internet2.edu/
"Internet2" is a registered trademark, and should not be used to refer to advanced networking as a whole (flattering though such references may be).
Do not abbreviate "Internet2" (for example, as I2 or Inet2) in material intended for public consumption, unless it is part of a longer phrase which is to be abbreviated (example: I2GSG).
"Internet2" is the full proper name for the Internet2 project, so when the phrase "the Internet2 project" is used, "project" should not be capitalized. "Internet2" alone is usually sufficient.
IPPM (Internet Protocol Performance Metrics) See the IETF IPPM Working Group (http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/ippm-charter.html).
IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) The next version of the Internet Protocol. The current version is IPv4; IPv5 was an experimental real-time streaming protocol. IPv6 offers several improvements over IPv4, the most important of which is a vastly larger address space. See the IPv6 Forum (http://www.ipv6forum.com/) and the Internet2 IPv6 Working Group (http://ipv6.internet2.edu/).
IRU (indefeasible right of use) An ironclad long-term lease, often used for optical fiber.
ITEC (Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center) An Abilene-connected regional advanced technology center. There are currently four ITECs, each with a specific technology focus: ITEC-Ohio focuses on Internet voice and video, the San Diego ITEC focuses on end-to-end performance, the North Carolina ITEC focuses on optimizing technologies deployed in Abilene, and the Texas A&M ITEC focuses on VoIP. New ITECs are formed as needed. See http://www.internet2.edu/about/itecs/.
ITU (International Telecommunication Union) "An international organization within the United Nations System where governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services." Some Internet technologies, notably H.323 and H.350, have been standardized in the ITU. http://www.itu.int/
JET (Joint Engineering Team) A body that helps coordinate large-scale Federal networking activities in support of research and engineering.
jitter Variation in delay.
Kerberos A network authentication mechanism; see http://web.mit.edu/kerberos/. Kerberos makes use of a three-way exchange to greatly improve authentication security over that offered by cleartext passwords, and is strong enough for intra-domain security. However, due to the need for a central secret-key repository, Kerberos is not generally considered strong enough for inter-domain use. Public-key cryptography is preferred for this purpose.
lambda A wavelength of light (named after the Greek letter used to represent it in engineering calculations).
latency How long it takes a packet to travel from its source to its destination. Also called delay. See the IETF IPPM Working Group (http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/ippm-charter.html).
Layer 2 Refers to networking protocols that control how data is formatted to ensure reliable delivery over a given physical medium. Ethernet is a Layer 2 protocol.
Layer 3 Refers to networking protocols that control how data is routed. IP is a Layer 3 protocol.
LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) An IETF standard for directory services. LDAP is based on a simplified version of X.500.
LDIF (Lightweight Directory Interexchange Format) A protocol for exchange of information among LDAP directories.
loss The number or percentage of packets dropped in a network.
MACE (Middleware Architecture Committee for Education) The technical steering committee for Internet2 middleware. http://middleware.internet2.edu/MACE/
MBGP (Multiprotocol Border Gateway Protocol) A multicast protocol. MBGP, PIM-SM and MSDP together form the core of the Internet2 multicast architecture.
metadata Data about data, or information known about an object in order to provide access to the object. Usually includes information about intellectual content, digital representation data, and security or rights management information.
middleware Roughly, a layer of software between the network and the applications. Middleware is notoriously hard to define. One of the most popular definitions is "the intersection of what network designers and application developers each do not want to do." See http://middleware.internet2.edu/.
MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) A type of agreement used between Internet2 and its international partner networks. See http://international.internet2.edu/.
MPLS (MultiProtocol Label Switching) An alternative Internet routing technology. See http://www.mplsrc.com/.
MSDP (Multicast Source Discovery Protocol) A multicast protocol. MSDP, MBGP and PIM-SM together form the core of the Internet2 multicast architecture.
multicast A set of technologies that makes efficient one-to-many and many-to-many real-time communication possible on the network. See the Internet2 Multicast Working Group (http://multicast.internet2.edu/).
NCO (National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development) A Federal Government body that coordinates the R&D work of multiple agencies. http://www.nitrd.gov/
NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/
NDT (Network Diagnostic Tool) A lightweight tool that identifies several of the most common end-to-end problems, including duplex mismatch, incorrectly-set TCP buffers, and problems on the local infrastructure. http://e2epi.internet2.edu/ndt/
NGI (Next Generation Internet) A now-concluded Federal program focused on developing advanced applications and networking capabilities needed by US Government agencies such as NASA and the Department of Energy.
NGIX (Next Generation Internet eXchange point) A facility where Federal research networks interconnect with each other and with other advanced networks.
NISN (NASA Integrated Services Network) NASA's telecommunications provider; the production counterpart to NREN. http://www.nisn.nasa.gov/
NLANR (National Laboratory for Applied Network Research) Supports a variety of applications and measurement & network analysis projects at NCSA and SDSC. http://www.nlanr.net/
NLR (National LambdaRail) "A major initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in [optical] networking technologies and applications." http://www.nationallambdarail.org/
NMI (NSF Middleware Initiative) An Internet2-initiated collaboration "to help scientists and researchers use the Internet to effectively share instruments, laboratories and data, and to collaborate with their colleagues." http://www.nsf-middleware.org/
NOC (network operations center)
NREN (NASA Research and Education Network) http://www.nren.nasa.gov/
NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) Building NRENs is a major focus of advanced research and education networking efforts around the world. See http://international.internet2.edu/intl_connect/NREN.html.
OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) "A not-for-profit, global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards." http://www.oasis-open.org/
OC-X (optical carrier-X) Designates the capability of an optical fiber link. OC-1 is 51.84 Mbps, OC-3 is 155.52 Mbps, OC-48 is 2.48832 Gbps, and so on.
OpenSAML An open-source implementation of SAML developed by Internet2 members as part of their work on Shibboleth. http://www.opensaml.org/
optical networking Networking in which information is transmitted as light over optical fiber, rather than as electricity over wire or radio waves through the air.
OWAMP (One-Way Active Measurement Protocol) A tool developed by Internet2 to measure one-way delay. http://owamp.internet2.edu/
packet A message transmitted over a network. Large chunks of information are broken up into packets before they are sent across the Internet.
perfSONAR "perfSONAR is an infrastructure for network performance monitoring, making it easier to solve end-to-end performance problems on paths crossing several networks." See http://www.perfsonar.net/.
PIC (Presence and Integrated Communications) "Integrated communications" refers to applications that unite a variety of communications media, such as voice, video, instant messaging, and whiteboarding. "Presence" refers to users' ability to make their communications status known to one another to enable communication in the best manner at the appropriate time. See http://pic.internet2.edu/.
PIM (Protocol Independent Multicast) A multicast protocol. PIM comes in three flavors: Sparse Mode, Dense Mode and Sparse-Dense (PIM-SM, PIM-DM and PIM-SD respectively.) PIM-SM, MSDP and MBGP together form the core of the Internet2 multicast architecture.
PITAC (President's Information Technology Advisory Committee) http://www.nitrd.gov/pitac/
PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) A very promising but complex and hard-to-implement set of techniques for electronic security. PKI is based on the exchange of electronic credentials called certificates. See http://middleware.internet2.edu/hepki-tag/ and http://middleware.internet2.edu/pki07/.
PSC (Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center) http://www.psc.edu/
QBSS (QBone Scavenger Service) A QoS technique developed by Internet2. http://qbone.internet2.edu/qbss/
QoS (quality of service) A network's ability to give different treatment to traffic from different users or applications. Today's Internet does not offer QoS. QoS is specified in terms of one or more of the following parameters: bandwidth, delay, jitter, and loss.
Quilt "The Quilt, a coalition of advanced regional network organizations, is a dynamic forum where leaders from throughout the advanced research and education network community build on the intellectual capital and best practices of network service providers worldwide." See http://www.thequilt.net/.
RFC (request for comments) A type of document published by the IETF. Internet standards are defined in RFCs. http://www.ietf.org/rfc.html
SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) SAML is a project of OASIS, which describes it as "an XML framework for exchanging authentication and authorization information." http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=security
SDSC (San Diego Supercomputer Center) http://www.sdsc.edu/
Shibboleth® Internet2's flagship federating technology. Shibboleth enables sharing of web resources that are subject to access controls such as user IDs and passwords. The Shibboleth architecture protects privacy by letting individual users choose which information about them can be released to each destination. http://shibboleth.internet2.edu/
SIG (special interest group) A group that meets to discuss a particular topic. More formal than a BoF, less formal than a working group. SIGs are often formed as precursors to formal working groups.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) An IETF standard for Internet call setup; a key technology for PIC. See http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/sip-charter.html.
SIP.edu An Internet2 project working toward "converged electronic identity" -- the ability to use a single electronic address to reach a user via email, voice, video, or instant messaging. The experimental SIP.edu infrastructure currently has over 250,000 reachable users. http://www.internet2.edu/sip.edu/
SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) A standard for transmitting data on optical networks.
SSM (Source-Specific Multicast) A variety of multicast optimized for the common situation in which senders are few and their Internet addresses can be easily discovered. SSM eliminates the need for MSDP, greatly simplifying multicast implementation.
StarLight "A 1GigE and 10GigE switch/router facility for high-performance access to participating networks, and a true optical switching facility for wavelengths." Located in Chicago, StarLight is the successor to STAR TAP, the Science, Technology, And Research Transit Access Point. http://www.startap.net/starlight/
STS-X (synchronous transport signal-X) Almost the same thing as OC-X (see above). OC-X refers to the speed of an optical signal; STS-X refers to the speed of an electrical signal in a piece of optical networking equipment. The number X refers to the same speed for either one.
TeraGrid "TeraGrid is an open scientific discovery infrastructure combining leadership class resources at eight partner sites to create an integrated, persistent computational resource." http://www.teragrid.org/
USHER (U.S. Higher Education Root certificate authority) A public key infrastructure (PKI) supported by the higher education community. http://usher.internet2.edu/
vBNS+ (very-high-performance Backbone Network Service plus) The commercial successor to the vBNS, which was a joint project of the NSF and MCI WorldCom. The vBNS operated from 1995 to 2000. http://www.vbns.net/
ViDe (Video Development Initiative) http://www.vide.net/
videoconferencing One word, no hyphen.
VoIP (Voice over IP) See the Internet2 VoIP Working Group (http://voip.internet2.edu/).
VRVS (Virtual Rooms Videoconferencing System) A collaborative environment for research and education, currently deployed in more than 100 countries. http://www.vrvs.org/
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) The principal standards body for the World Wide Web. http://www.w3.org/
WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) The use of multiple wavelengths of light on a single optical fiber. As each wavelength can carry information independently of the others, this greatly increases total bandwidth.
X.500 An ITU standard for directory services.
X.509 An ITU standard for public-key certificates. X.509 is part of X.500.
XML (eXtensible Markup Language) A W3C-standard markup metalanguage. XML enables unlimited expansion of the types of data that can be used on the Web, and is emerging as a key solution to problems of communication among organizations using different data standards. See http://www.w3.org/XML/.