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Next Generation Solutions

Next-Generation Solutions

Our unique, nationwide high-performance network infrastructure has removed the boundaries of today’s Internet. It provides an unsurpassed test bed for research and enables the most extreme research, development and experimentation our community can imagine.

(And what our community can imagine is a lot. Read on.)

The Internet2 community owns and operates a unique, powerful, remarkable nationwide resource: the Internet2 Network, foundation of the next U.S. Innovation Platform. But this resource didn’t just happen. It’s just one in a long line of next-generation solutions...

The research and education (R&E) community played a seminal role in the creation of the modern Internet—and the services and applications that have made it the most transformative technology of the last hundred years. Since leading universities created Internet2 in 1996, the R&E networking return on investment has been staggering: given a total investment in ARPAnet, CSNET, NSFnet of less than $250 million, the net contribution of the Internet to the U.S. economy is now estimated to be $684 billion annually (4.7% of all economic activity).* These seminal investments put the R&E community “way out in front” of commercial markets, created a new, bandwidth-rich playing field, and enabled innovations that led to a global transformation: our information-based economy.

Many of today’s most heavily used information technologies have roots on university campuses. For example, personal Ethernet services created massive “innovation test beds” across campuses while commercial carriers were still offering dial-up service and fighting the Internet technology vision. The World Wide Web (WWW), web browsers, and early commercial sites created an avalanche of demand for Internet presences, built for university-created browsers such as Erwise, ViolaWWW, and Mosiac. Despite arguments that the R&E-created Internet could not scale, it became the de facto standard because that’s where the action—and innovation—was.

Leading companies (not just technologies) in many Internet-related markets have their roots on university campuses, too: computer workstations (Sun Micro from Berkeley, Stanford), routers (CISCO from Stanford), network caching (Akamai from MIT), security and intrusion detection systems (Arbor Networks from the University of Michigan, Internet Security Systems from Georgia Tech), social media content (Facebook from Harvard), and search (Google from Stanford).

Today the R&E community continues to set the groundwork for the next stages of Internet development, continuing to enable the economies of the future. In order to remain relevant and maintain its role as a key driver of economic growth, the R&E community must continue to lead the paradigm shift from bandwidth scarcity to bandwidth abundance, from proprietary to open networking. It must continue to enable game-changing services and applications on campuses and in research labs, prototyping technologies that become viable commercial offerings. It must continue to create new markets by building networks and applications that advance the state of the art. It must continue to create, influence and enable today’s user and consumer base.

The R&E community cannot predict the future. But it can construct conditions that spur innovation—by encouraging creative utilization through widespread abundant bandwidth and availability, through ubiquitous deployment in real user communities, and by giving inventors license to try new, off-the-wall ideas. Building on the pillars of the innovation and trust, Internet2 is constructing a whole new range of capabilities: to provision 100G Layer 2 VLANs; to create virtual networks; to build network testbeds for experimental network research; to enable global collaboration through a growing ecosystem of trust and identity and cloud solutions; and to integrate compute, storage, and network resources. With these advances—and those that will inevitably follow—the Internet2 community is creating next-generation solutions that keep R&E on the forefront of advanced networking.

*According to CNNMoney economy news, 19 Mar 2012