Advanced Network and Services, Inc. Formed to Expand National Computer "Superhighway."

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Advanced Network and Services, Inc. Formed to Expand National Computer "Superhighway"

Merit, Inc., a consortium of state-supported universities in Michigan, has joined the IBM Corporation and MCI Communications Corporation to establish Advanced Network Services, Inc. (ANS), a new company to aid the nation's research and education communities. IBM and MCI are providing ANS with initial funding, while Merit is providing network operations, engineering and planning, and information services. A not-for-profit organization, ANS hopes to propel high-speed computer networking into the 21st century by transmitting 39,000 pages of text (1.2 billion bits), equivalent to the contents of more than 85 books, in a single second of time.

ANS will manage and operate the federally-funded National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET), which is under subscontract to Merit. NSFNET is a project on which Merit, IBM and MCI have also worked together since 1987. NSFNET links over a thousand university and college campuses, business and industrial research laboratories, and governmental research centers across the nation and the world, and enables hundreds of thousands of researchers to directly access state-of-the-art resources and high-technology equipment.

According to Allen H. Weis, president and CEO of ANS, the number of educational, government and industrial sites with access to NSFNET has tripled in the past year, resulting in traffic increases of over 500 percent. "This overwhelming success underscores the need for greater access to national high-speed computer networking and increased speed and services. We believe that ANS provides the best framework to effectively manage this phenomenal growth and expand the commitment to the future of national networking."

ANS will also offer a broad spectrum of networking services to researchers and educators in universities, federal laboratories and the private sector. These services range from basic network monitoring to complete networking connectivity and support. ANS will begin to connect additional education, industrial, and government institutions to the nation's largest public computer network at speeds of up to 45 megabits per second (T3).

ANS will build and expand current networking capabilities in order to meet the skyrocketing demand of the nation's scientists, engineers, and educators for high-speed networking. This effort complements and is designed to support the concepts proposed in the National Research and Education Network (NREN), recently put forward within the administration and Congress as part of the Higher Performance Computing Program.

Weis explains the Higher Performance Computing Program, of which the NREN is a critical component, as a "vital national effort which must be vigorously pursued. …