Washington moves to Internet2

Washington this month became one of the first states to provide direct access

to the Next Generation Internet — called Internet2 — for its schools and

colleges.

That doesn't mean all the schools will be able to take advantage of

the super-high speed of the Internet2 backbone, which is about 1,000 times

faster than the commercial Internet. But even schools without the appropriate

fiber connections will benefit.

"The great thing about Internet2 is not just the high bandwidth," said

Ron Johnson, vice president of the Computing and Communications Department

at the University of Washington, which is the lead institution for the program.

"The most important things are the quality of service and end-to-end performance

that the Internet2 provides. After all, audio doesn't require very high

speeds to be useful, but it does require the kind of deterministic links

the Internet2 provides and that the commercial Internet does not."

Unlike the commercial Internet, whose growth is unsupervised and where

data paths are unpredictable, the Internet2 is highly organized and intended

to link a relatively limited number of schools and research establishments.

Because of that, Washington schools and colleges will be able to take

advantage of the advanced, Web-based, multimedia learning tools only available

on the Internet2.

"The real power of the Internet2 is the technologies it provides for

real-time interaction between people around the globe," Johnson said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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