NSF Creates World's Fastest Openly Available Computer Network For Research and Education

WASHINGTON, June 13, 1990 -- PRNewswire -- The world's fastest openly available computer network for research and education will be created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 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.

The sites that will be linked by the connections are Cambridge, Mass.; Argonne, Ill.; and Atlanta. 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 the 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 hundreds of 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, Mich., 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 28-fold increase in current backbone transmission speed. IBM Corporation will deploy a new generation of technology to take advantage of the increased capacity of the expanded network.

Last week NSF announced a long-term industry/government/university project for research into a gigabit network that could transmit a billion bits of information per second. This gigabit technology will ultimately be used to enhance the performance of an expanded NSFNET.

CONTACT: Cheryl Dybas of the National Science Foundation, 202-357-9498


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