Internet2, founded in 1996, is an advanced not-for-profit networking consortium, led by the research and education community in the United States. Internet2 is a highly sophisticated scientific network incorporating advanced developments in technology.
Originally formed when 34 university researchers met in Chicago on October 1, 1996, the aim of the project was to provide cutting-edge possibilities for network connections. The purpose of the planned partnership was to facilitate the development and usage of new advances in Internet technology. Internet2 was created to support research and education. At the same time, the road was paved toward entering the commercial global market of the Internet.
Initially, the membership comprised the original 34 universities. A year later, the number had increased to 123 university members, with six corporate members. The amount of members kept growing, with affiliates joining as well. Within a decade, 205 universities were members of the consortium, as well as 72 corporations and 44 affiliates. As of June 2011, the consortium included 221 U.S. universities and 45 corporations. Laboratories, government agencies and institutes of higher learning numbered 66, with 35 regional and state networks pertaining to education and research. One hundred national networks across 50 countries are represented in the Internet2 community. A board of trustees and strategic councils are concerned with governance of the organization and overseeing its members.
Internet2 is considered to be the foremost advanced networking consortium in the United States and internationally. It continues to be spearheaded by researchers and educators, assisted by experts in the high technology field. The consortium is community-based with a shared purpose of transforming aspects of education, communication and work in the 21st century. Government bodies, laboratories, academic institutions, research foundations and commerce form a partnership intent on innovative and technologically advanced ways forward. This has a significant impact on the Internet, its usage and the people who use it.
The revolutionary Internet Provider (IP) system and optical network utilized by Internet2 serve to provide greater links across multiple networks. A new initiative in collaboration with Berkeley Lab involves constructing one of the fastest scientific networks in the world. Internet2 will join forces with ESnet to create a new Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI) prototype network consisting of 100 gigabits (Gbps). This will be one of the first times that 100 Gigabit Ethernet technology will be operated nationally. Currently, Esnet has the capacity for delivering information as per 10 Gbps technology; the new system will accelerate and expand the capabilities.
Members of Internet2 are able to connect through the extended partnership internationally to enhance educational and research developments. The community is involved in progress on an active level, joining not only through network facilities, but also by organized events. Regular member meetings are held to involve university, corporate and affiliate members with up-to-date critical issues taking Internet2 to new stages. Joint technological meetings in association with Esnet provide network engineers and researchers the opportunity to address technological advances and networking plans for the future. Workshops allow interested parties to learn more about Internet2.
When the Internet2 Abiline Network was set up in 1998, a partnership with Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks made the network possible. Internet2 members involved in fields relating to clinical practice and medical, biological and health-related research were assisted by the Internet2 Health Sciences Initiative that was formed. In 2002, students at the University of Oregon met to design and configure a multicast system of interconnected networks. In the same year, an international group of members, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) created a new speed record. In this experiment, 1.1 terabytes of data were transferred over a 7,000 kilometres network range in 30 minutes. This meant that 5.44 gigabits per second had traveled across cyberspace. Abilene Network worked toward upgrading the 2.5 Gbps to 10 Gbps in 2004. After a decade of membership collaborations, Internet2 introduced an experiment involving Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) as a new generation system of network structuring.
Thus, what began as a 34-university group to facilitate educational and research networking has become an organization spanning a broad spectrum of members. The highest speeds and technology enabling unique educational opportunities and virtual medical surgeries include some aspects of Internet2's advances in the field.