1993 - NSF starts planning for a high-speed, high-performance national backbone network. It is not to be part of the general Internet, but is only to be used for 'meritorious research' that requires a high performance connection.
1995 - NSF awards a 5-year contract to MCI to provide the backbone network service for its high speed network. MCI calls its service the 'very high performance Backbone Network Service' (vBNS).
1996 - A group of research Universities initiates the Internet2 (or I2) network project. This network will use a high-speed backbone to connect regional connection centers called gigapops. One purpose of I2 is to encourage and facilitate the kind of research that can take advantage of such a network.
1996 - NSF identifies funds for I2 schools, to help them develop regional gigapops, connect to the vBNS, and improve their campus networks to encourage research. NSF begins accepting research proposals for this purpose.
1996 (December) - UA becomes a charter member of Internet2.
1997 - UA/UAB make joint NSF proposal. This grant names specific 'meritorious research' projects that will be able to take advantage of a vBNS connection. They request funds to improve the campus networks for those research projects, to form a regional gigapop, and to connect the gigapop to the vBNS.
1997 - UA/UAB proposal is accepted and grant awarded. Later, UAH gets a separate NSF grant, and the gigapop project becomes a UA system project.
1997 (Sept.) - The Internet2 schools form the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) to 'provide leadership and direction for advanced network development' and to manage the I2 network.
1997 - The Southeastern University Research Association (SURA) initiates the Southern Crossroads (SoX) project. SoX will connect SURA schools to each other and will serve as a regional gigapop. (UA is a SURA member.)
1998 - UCAID announces the Abilene network project. Abilene is a high-speed, high-performance network, using different protocols than the vBNS. In particular, Abilene will serve those Internet2 schools who cannot or do not choose to connect to the vBNS. Abilene and the vBNS are connected and will exchange I2 traffic. UA decides to use Abilene as its backbone carrier for Internet2.
1998 - The UA System forms the Gulf Central GigaPoP (GCG). The GCG will become the regional connection point to high-speed network services.
1999 (April) - UA connects to the GCG with an OC3 connection. The GCG upgrades its SoX connection to two OC3s, giving the UA system high-speed access to all the other SURA schools which make up the SoX network.
1999 (TBA) - SoX will connect to Abilene, giving UA its link to Internet2. All network traffic between UA and any other I2 school will use this network link.
1999 (TBA) - UA is working on network improvements to those areas involved in (and funded by) the NSF grant: Astronomy (A&S), MINT, CCHS, Aerospace Engineering, and the Computer Center.
2000 (March) - The MCI contract with NSF for the vBNS expires. It is expected that vBNS will now accept traffic other than 'meritorious research'. (Internet2 is still a members-only network, but the vBNS backbone may carry traffic other than I2 traffic.)
|Last modified: August 10, 2000|