October 1st will mark the 20th anniversary of Internet2, a pioneer in advanced networking and a robust community of connected organizations.
“2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Internet2, but this is not just about an organization. This is an engaged community of people that work together across many communities to help enable research and education,” said H. David Lambert, president and CEO, Internet2.
Internet2 started as a project created by 34 university leaders at a meeting at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton in 1996.
The NSF/MCI vBNS network served as the initial backbone and began connecting member universities across the country via gigapops in 1997. The National Science Foundation awarded $1 million to Merit Network, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan to connect to the network’s Michigan gigapop.
Originally named the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), Internet2 became the official moniker for the organization when the Abilene Network was introduced by Vice President Al Gore, Vint Cerf and others during a White House ceremony in 1998.
Internet2 now operates the nation’s largest and fastest, coast-to-coast research and education network. The network serves more than 90,000 community anchor institutions, 305 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 42 regional and state education networks, 84 leading corporations and more than 65 national research and education networking partners representing more than 100 countries.
“Internet2 has been the advanced digital infrastructure ‘glue’ binding together research universities across the U.S. and beyond – enabling previously impossible research collaboration; accelerating discovery; and being national advocates for investments in high-performance infrastructure,” said Joe Sawasky, president and CEO for Merit Network.
Merit currently has three 100 gigabit connections to Internet2 in Southfield, Chicago and through OARnet in Ohio. Merit provides Internet2 connectivity to the majority of its higher education, K-12 and library Members in Michigan.
To see some of the important milestones from Internet’s rich history, please see the Internet2 Community Timeline.