To fully understand Internet2 and similar things, you have to know at least a little about the vBNS. Here are some quotes from vBNS literature - in the form of FAQs sent to Internet2 member institutions.(3)
What is the vBNS? The vBNS is a nationwide network that operates at speeds of 622 megabits per second using MCI's network of advanced switching and fiber optic transmission technologies.
What is the difference between the vBNS and the Internet?
So far I have described a 100-plus university consortium known as Internet2 and an NSF/MCI partnership that created and runs the vBNS. Now I need to at least mention "Highway 1." This organization describes itself as
The University of Minnesota's Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering program for computing convectively rotating stars using clustered distributed shared memory (DSM) machines will use latency tolerance to enable widely separated Silicon Graphics Origins connected through the vBNS network to cooperatively solve single, tightly coupled applications.
The Alliance will rely on the NSF vBNS Connections Program for network connectivity among partner sites.
The rates shown for Advanced Hardware partners can be achieved with moderately aggressive vBNS upgrades through fiscal year 2000 (622Mb/sec OC-12 in fiscal 1998, 4.8Gb/sec OC-48 by fiscal 1999-2000); however, a truly advanced Grid infrastructure requires a much more aggressive plan beyond fiscal 2000.
The Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN) in Chicago - a collaborative project led by the University of Chicago, Argonne, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, NCSA, Ameritech, and other regional laboratories-is the U.S.'s first working Gigapop, a high-speed regional network serving as a testbed for interconnecting very-high-performance backbones, such as ESNet, vBNS, DREN, and the NASA Science Internet (NSI).
NSF's new grant program, 96-64, Connections to the Internet, provides startup funding - this time for upgrades to higher bandwidth (including expanded access to the vBNS
, NSF's very high-speed backbone network for research).