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The Internet Networking Technology

Internet2 Turns 15. Has It Delivered? 120

stinkymountain writes "With nearly $100 million in new funding, Internet2, the faster, better Internet reserved for research and education, has embarked on an upgrade that will boost backbone capacity to a staggering 8.8Tbps and expand services to hundreds of thousands of libraries, schools and medical centers. Internet2 was created by 34 university research institutions in 1996, when the commercial and non-commercial branches of the Internet's evolutionary tree split off and went their separate ways. The mission of Internet2 was to provide reliable, dedicated bandwidth to support the ever-growing demands of the research and educational communities, and in doing so, to develop technologies that would advance the state of the 'commodity' Internet. Some say it has failed in that latter category."
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Internet2 Turns 15. Has It Delivered?

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  • by unassimilatible ( 225662 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @10:24AM (#35781236) Journal
    I've found that surfing for pr0n on my school network is amazingly fast, er, throughputy, or whatever the adjective is.

    A job well done, sir!
  • IPv6 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Does Internet 2 come with IPv6, or is that extra?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      IPv6 is supported on the I2 networks. Not all the GigaPoPs necessarily support it but most do.

  • "Some say it has failed in that latter category".
    Some say that it succeeded in the category of mass-enabling of piracy at fantastical new speeds.
    • The pirates have legends of this. The university dump servers. Some say that these rare boxes are made on university connections, secret stashes of many terabytes, built by those departments with the skill to operate such a beast and to satisfy the demands of students desperate for free entertainment. They often live up in the IPv6 space, where no anti-piracy organisation has yet thought to look. For those who can gain access, untold wealth of data awaits, connected on multi-gigabit links only a hop or thre
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In Canada we have CA*Net []. Same idea, works very, very well.
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @10:27AM (#35781268) Journal

    [...] to develop technologies that would advance the state of the 'commodity' Internet. Some say it has failed in that latter category.

    I'd say that's a problem caused by the ISPs not by this initiative.

    • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Entrope ( 68843 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @10:49AM (#35781496) Homepage

      That is a curious conjecture. I would think that Internet2's primary distinction from the commercial Internet is the speed of individual links. For most of Internet2's life -- in particular, the last three quarters of it -- commercial gear vendors have greatly increased link speeds, routing table capacity, capacity to handle routing changes and other "carrier grade" features. Vendors for edge routers have focused on distinguishing features like deep packet inspection. Do you allege that ISPs are at fault because they selected equipment, technology and approaches that were inferior to what Internet2 developed? If so, why?

      • Consumers... They just see the "up to 500gigabites!" and forget the backbone. It takes someone with a bit more clue to actually look at the backbone, and a lot more clue to pay for it. I have a 30meg Comcast line at my office and a 5 meg Quest dedicated fiber. Which one is faster? Which one is more expensive?
        • by Entrope ( 68843 )

          What are you going on about? Internet2 is all about backbone(-like) technologies. Almost by definition it does not care about the very edge of the network (consumers) except to the extent that some of the edge nodes -- users of scientific computing -- have some really large data sets to move across the backbone. Internet2 is not trying to solve whatever problems you think distinguish those two network links (or solve "last mile" issues in general). If that focus on the backbone makes it fail to advance

          • To be honest, I do not really understand what the hell Internet 2 actually means, but I know I've got it at work here in Cleveland. All the components are certainly off the shelf switches and routers, at least in the lab I work at, so I'm not sure it's all that different than commercial equipment except for one simple fact - my "trace rout" is very few hops from origin to destination. I'm told, and believe this to be the case, that the whole point of Internet 2 is reduced latency and increased throughput.

          • What are you going on about?

            The prior post asked a question, and i answerd it. I should have quoted...

            Do you allege that ISPs are at fault because they selected equipment, technology and approaches that were inferior to what Internet2 developed? If so, why?

            And my answer...

            Consumers... They just see the "up to 500gigabites!" and forget the backbone.

            Since there is no consumer push for sustained throughput at high speeds, they don't build it. The last mile is solved. It is the 10 miles between that and the backbone that is choked now.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @10:32AM (#35781310)
    Who else thought they were talking about Web 2.0, was confused by the comments and then went back and read TFA?
    • Honest enough mistake, considering that nobody outside of a very select group has ever gotten to use it and likely never will.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually anyone who has ever attended, lived at, worked for, or visited a university that is a part of the Internet2 consortium has used it. I wouldn't call that a very select group, because we're talking millions of people per year...

    • Yep, now I wish I hadn't wrote my comment. Oh well. Fuck it, TFA's usually filled with ads and there's usually far more insight and information in the comments. Otherwise I wouldn't include slashdot in my daily readings, I'd just subscribe to news feeds. Yes, digging through the slashdot comments is more stimulating to me than reading editorials by half-wits. I don't know what that means in general, but to me it means I need better reasons to RTFA most of the time when it comes to the subject of 'news'
    • Apparently this guy [] who posted 14 minutes after you. With the exception noted that he did not go back and read TFA, and, apparently, the comments as well.

    • by e70838 ( 976799 )
      Web 2.0 is a commercial buzzword, it has no place on a site for nerds.
  • It definitely has, thanks to the revolution of the wiki. If it weren't for that, the internet would have jumped the shark. Wikis truly brought us Web 2.0 as far as users are concerned. It's a shining example of how the internet is truly interactive and collaborative, and it's one of the few methods that consistently upholds the basic principles of what the web should be. OSS has also proliferated and grown thanks to the internet, and has in turn enabled better services from a wider variety of non-commer
  • Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JambisJubilee ( 784493 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @10:59AM (#35781592)

    (Disclaimer: I work at a European university and have collaborations with a university in the US)

    Internet2 is absolutely a godsend. In my work, it allows the sharing of large, expensive cluster computers (which can generate huge datasets). Wouldn't be possible without Internet2.

    As for advancing the state of the 'commodity' Internet, meh. The infrastructure pays for itself in shared resources alone.

    • Which European university? just curious
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Well since the majority of people on Slashdot do not seem to know what it is I would say that it is a smashing success.
      I am sure that it is great to have a fast high speed network that connects research centers that is not filled with LOLCats, pron, and Youtube videos is worth it's weight in gold.

    • Yep (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @11:39AM (#35782106)

      The I2 network has become one that is practical and useful, rather than pie-in-the-sky. Well part of that means building it on technology that you can actually deliver for a reasonable price. That does mean that it is not a latest, greatest, fastest at all costs network. IT is not composed of the biggest, baddest OC lines you can get with CRS-3 routers behind it.

      However what it does do is give good bandwidth to universities that is dedicated. I2 doesn't do transit for regular Internet traffic, it is only for communicating with peer institutions. It is a big WAN, if you want to look at it like that. That means the bandwidth is much less used and more available. Thus you get nice, fast, transfers basically all of the time.

      This also has the advantage of saving the university money on their normal Internet connection. More or less you just set up your routers so that I2 is preferred, and then all traffic that can use it does. Well that is traffic that doesn't have to use your most costly I1 link and thus money is saved.

      Now something else to consider about the technology is that I2 has moved over to almost all Ethernet these days. The core is all 10GigE and many connections are gig or 10 gig. This is not as high bandwidth as some other technologies but has a big advantage in the latency department.

      See when you are talking all Ethernet you can do layer-3 switching. That lets you hybridize a router and a switch. More or less you get the capabilities of a router, but with the low latencies of a switch. You find that is real, real common on large networks, like campuses. The campus I work on is 100% Ethernet internally, all but the edges layer-3.

      Ok well if I2 is Ethernet, then you can have layer-3 switching going on there too. This can reduce your latency. You still have some if for no other reason than the speed of light, data doesn't move instantly over long distances, but you can lower it over other kinds of routing.

      Combine that with generally less hops on I2 and you latencies can be much better than I1, which is really nice for a lot of things like various kinds of cloud computing.

      I2 may not be the most amazing thing out there, suing the latest tech, but it does its job damn well. It lets universities exchange data quickly, and do so at less cost.

    • I concur. Our cancer research division doesn't have a cluster computer that can generate the sample data we have in some of our larger projects, so we would resort to using Internet2 to connect to Uni. of AZ's supercomputer cross country from our NC location. There's little to no caching involved: The throughput is only limited by the speed of the supercomputer (which can process several GBps in certain circumstances).
  • by mcnut ( 712202 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @10:59AM (#35781594) Homepage
    Has Internet2 provided a network for Research and Education for 15 years, continuing to grow capacity with the needs of its community? yes. Has Internet2 built a set of middleware and tools that it has open-sourced for this same community to enhance the state of research and education network operations? yes. Has Internet2 pushed the boundaries of what router vendors support, Having IPv6 when it was still considered an 'advanced service' by most network device providers, multicast, and providing a Telepresence VOIP bridge? yeah.. they've done that too. So, I suppose it depends on how you define 'Delivered.' Full disclosure: I work for an institution which is an Internet2 Member.
    • by tsm_sf ( 545316 )
      From TFA:

      "The bottom line," Nolle says, "is Internet2 a science project? If it doesn't have any relevance to the issues of the [commercial] Internet as it is now, then what good is it really going to do? My view is that the success or failure of any publicly-funded project is whether it benefits the public, and I suspect that most everyone in the general population would say that if Internet2 isn't going to fix problems with the [commercial] Internet, it's not helping them."

      I think that most everyon
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        I think that most everyone in the general population would think that Nolle is right, and that his attitude typifies the point of view that's pulling America down into technological irrelevance.

        FTFY. The US has been poisoned from the top down to only care about the next quarter. No wonder the long term sustainability of the business isn't there.

      • I agree with him. However, that hinges on the definition of "whether it benefits the public," and I don't agree that the definition in this case is "if Internet2 [is] going to fix problems with the [commercial] Internet" (though I can also agree that that probably is what most people would think).
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that what internet(1) was all about?

  • until it comes out of beta.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Monday April 11, 2011 @11:12AM (#35781758)

    I'd say that having an IP infrastructure solely for academic, research and non-commercial needs alone is an accomplishment and is a success.

    I'd say that the lack of visible results by the common lay person, even technophiles, means that visibily the project has failed on some level. The fact that we haven't found a transition plan to IPv6 from the growing pains of I2 also means on some level, we're looking at some sort of failure(my personal hope of what we'd get from Internet2).

    However, given that it's restricted access, the whole thing is largely up in the air and tech columnists and even technogeeks(Unless you're one of those academics who's pushing billions of records across the network to be processed through a giant cluster on the other side of the world) really can't comment on what I2 has achieved. Plus, what constitutes "success" is largely in the eye of the beholder. I doubt there will ever be a quantitative metric we could actually use to measure whether or not I2 is a success or not.

    Despite that though, it's continued existence and growth, slow or not, does tell us that it wasn't a mistake, and it's not a failure, but it doesn't tell us whether or not it was a success, and if it is, by what measure.

  • No. I'm only in late on weekdays and I don't want to wait in all Saturday. Shopping on line can still be a pain. Meat space holds back the net every time.
  • What made the Internet more affordable today was (in order of importance):
    1 - Drastic reduction in fiber equipment costs
    2 - Availability of Gigabit and 10 Gig ethernet over long range fiber / DWDM
    3 - L3 ethernet switches (switches that are routers)
    4 - Improvements in Linux technology (specially ever faster CPUs and IO busses) to force Cisco(and the rest of the prime IP router suppliers) routers price down
    5 - Availability of GEPON and other end user fiber solution

    Ultra high speed internet isn't making its wa

    • I'd also point out that somewhere in the middle of your list, at least in the US, would be competition. When the 1996 telco reform act forced the monopoly phone companies to allow interconnects with startup local exchanges you saw a drastic drop in price. You also saw the forming of thousands of ISPs across the country reaching into areas that none of the big companies were serving. Also backbone service got cheaper with competition. I remember having MCI lines. When MCI merged with UUnet they had to sell o

      • I said more affordable, not dirt cheap.
        I forgot to mention that Brazilian ISPs/Telcos pay over 50% total taxes. Just gross tax on receipts run above 30%, after adding corporate profit taxes takes over 50% of total revenue.
        So US$ 300/mo = US$ 150/mo net revenue for the ISP.
        Yes competition is key. But if there was good demand for internet service right where you are, why isn't there a venture capitalist willing to fund a startup ISP to compete with the big guys ? Perhaps what you consider fair price for Inter

  • by hoppo ( 254995 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @01:48PM (#35783630)

    ...then Internet2 has delivered.

  • Enjoy the spam, suckaz.

  • The real reason Internet2 was created was to let kids at different schools play Quake against each other with lower ping times... that's it.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak