NSFNET To Boost Speed on Key Links, Add Nodes

By Merit/NSFNET Information Services

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a $7.9 million expansion of its nationwide computer network, the NSFNET. In addition to adding three new nodes or connections to the backbone of  the NSFNET, data transmission speed on several key links of the existing network will be increased to 45 million bits of information per second to create the world's fastest openly available network for research and education.

Sites on high-speed links

The sites that will be linked by the new higher speed connections are Cambridge, MA, Ithaca, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Ann Arbor, MI, Urbana-
Champaign, IL, Argonne, IL, San Diego, CA, and Palo Alto, CA. The technology used to support the higher transmission speeds will support the development of the proposed very high speed National Research and Education Network (NREN).

New backbone nodes

The new nodes on the NSFNET backbone network will be located in Cambridge, MA, Argonne, IL, and Atlanta, GA.

The Cambridge node will be at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and will connect the New England Academic and Research Network (NEARnet) to the NSFNET. Argonne National Laboratory, located near Chicago, will house the Argonne node. In addition to providing connections to Argonne National Laboratory, this node will provide additional connections to CICnet which serves institutions in the upper Midwest. The Atlanta node will be at  Georgia Institute of Technology and will provide additional  connections to the Southeastern University Research Association Network, SURAnet.

The new sites will augment the existing 13 nodes which connect mid-level networks to the network backbone. The mid-level networks in turn link computers in more than 1,000 university, government and industrial research institutions throughout the world.

"The network is used to access resources such as supercomputers, libraries, and satellite data, as well as to link geographically dispersed researchers, educators, and scholars," according to Dr. Stephen Wolff, Director of the Division of Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure at the National Science Foundation.

The NSFNET backbone network is managed and operated by the Merit Computer Network from its state-of-the-art network operations center on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as part of a cooperative agreement with NSF. Merit's partners in the project include IBM Corporation, MCI Communications Corporation, and the State of Michigan through its Strategic Fund.

MCI Communications Corporation will provide advanced circuit switching technology for the expansion capable of a twenty-eight fold increase in current backbone transmission speed.

IBM Corporation will deploy a new technology to take advantage of the increased capacity of the expanded network.


Taken from The Link Letter, Vol. 3 No. 2, May/June 1990.