Qwest to upgrade NASA network

NASA Research and Education Network

Qwest Communications International Inc. announced Monday a five-year, $25 million contract with NASA to provide broadband technology for the agency's next-generation high-performance network.

The contract will expand the NASA Research and Education Network (NREN) from five sites to eight, including NASA headquarters and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

As part of the contract, Qwest is taking over the network connections established by Sprint and is upgrading the performance of the network from 155 megabits/sec to 622 megabits/sec.

The Qwest contract also covers direct local broadband Internet access at four NASA centers.

NREN is the space agency's contribution to the Next Generation Internet (NGI), a national initiative led by the federal government to develop technologies to support future high-bandwidth needs that current Internet protocols cannot provide.

The network provides connections among NASA research centers and academic and industry partners for programs such as a virtual simulation laboratory for collaborative aerospace design projects.

Qwest also supports the NGI network at the Energy Department — the Energy Sciences Network. Others involved in the NGI effort include the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Commerce Department.

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