General Atomics, Performance Systems International and UUNET Technologies, Inc. Establish the First Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX)

San Francisco, CA - March 25, 1991 - General Atomics, Performance Systems International, Inc. (PSI) and UUNET Technologies, Inc. today jointly announced the establishment of the first Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX). 

The CIX agreement provides for all customers of AlterNet, CERFnet and PSINet to exchange Internet traffic directly, regardless of which network the customer obtains service from, and at no additional cost. These three competing firms provide nearly 100% of the commercial TCP/IP - OSI internetworking services in the United States, and are not subject to government mandated "acceptable use" restrictions on their traffic.

William L. Schrader, President & CEO of PSI said, "this watershed agreement has established a set of industry and 'social' standards which assure Internet customers of improved stability and responsiveness to their needs.  The entire internetworking community will very likely adopt these standards as the world-wide Internet is commercialized during the 1990's." 

The CIX will allow firms connected to one network, such as CERFnet, to communicate with firms connected to AlterNet or PSINet without traversing the government restricted backbones, such as the NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network).  Rick Adams, President & CEO of UUNET Technologies, Inc. said, "customers can now obtain high speed access throughout the AlterNet/PSINet/CERFnet interconnected T1 network systems without the risk of violating government imposed restrictions, and at no additional cost." 

The CIX agreement resulted from requests by commercial customers of the three network providers, and has been well received, especially by those with multiple sites connected at different locations in the United States and overseas.  The interconnection makes use of the redundant T1 facilities of the three networking firms and will provide service even in the event of complete failure of the NSFNET backbone.

Susan Estrada, Executive Director of CERFnet said, "we have structured this agreement so that the customers remain our focus, rather than government rules or subsidies.  The T1 interconnection in San Francisco is a first example of how commercial firms in this new industry will be cooperating to support their customer base." 

Martin L. Schoffstall, PSI's Vice President and CTO said, "the CIX will help to reduce the uncertainty some users expressed concerning government control, such as a government owned or sanctioned monopoly." 

"The CIX agreement can be extended to other commercial Internet providers," Adams said.  "By structuring the CIX with good engineering, and by providing free data transport across the network interfaces, we believe this approach can be expanded to include any commercial service which has no restrictions on traffic use." 

Ms. Cate Muther, Vice President of Marketing, Cisco Systems, a PSINet customer located in Menlo Park, California, expressed her thoughts of the new CIX by saying, "Cisco Systems is pleased to be the key provider of routing technology for all three network providers and this interconnection. CIX should be an excellent complement to the NSFNET for those commercial users who wish to make extensive use of an alternative internet in the US."

Steve Crocker, Vice President of Trusted Information Systems, an AlterNet customer located in Glenwood, Maryland said, "TIS is delighted to see the interconnection of commercial networks.  This is a major advance for IP networking and will open the door for many customers and many applications."

The first CIX will be located in the San Francisco Bay Area and will operate at T1 using Cisco Systems routers and PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol). Network Operations Center support for the CIX will be provided 24 hours/day, 7 days/week by the three firms, and is expected to be operational within 60 days. 

CERFnet is a regional data communications network which promotes collaboration among scientists, engineers, and educators in commercial, government, and academic sectors.  CERFnet links over 70 of the leading research and education centers throughout California.  CERFnet was launched in the Spring of 1989 with a $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation.  CERFnet is managed and operated from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), a national research facility.  CERFnet and SDSC are both projects of General Atomics, a San Diego-based high technology research and development company.

PSI, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a value-added internetworking services provider with a wide spectrum of services for the individual and corporate user of electronic information, ranging from electronic mail products to turnkey integration of local area networks into the PSINet wide area network system and the Internet.

UUNET Technologies, Inc., located in Falls Church, VA, provides a range of communications services including high speed TCP/IP or OSI based internetworking, dialup electronic mail and source and documentation archive access, and is an authorized distributor for several brands of communications related equipment.


Julie Shisler
Manager, Public Relations
General Atomics
P.O. Box 85608
San Diego, CA 92186-9784
Phone: 619.534.5137
Fax:   619.534.5113

Martin L. Schoffstall
Vice President & Chief Technical Officer
Performance Systems International, Inc.
11800 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Suite 1100
Reston, VA  22091
Phone: 1 800.82PSI82
+1 703.620.6651
Fax:  +1 703.620.4586

Rick Adams
President & CEO
UUNET Technologies, Inc.
3110 Fairview Park Dr.
Suite 570
Falls Church, VA  22042
Phone:  703.876.5050
Fax:    703.876.5059