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BU connects with Internet2

Feb. 20, 2001

Consortium aims to help researchers

By JED WYSE

Reporter

Since its inception, the Internet2 consortium has attracted more than 180 universities to work in partnership with industry and government. The goal of this group is to create a new Internet specifically aimed at the needs of the research community. Baylor has been a member of the consortium since last year.

As a member, Baylor will be more involved in expanding the possibilities of a broader Internet.

'Internet2 offers great promise for Baylor's role in new developments concerning the Internet,' said Dr. Reagan Ramsower, associate dean for technology in the information systems department and chief information officer. 'Involvement entails a high level of research and resource commitment that will pay rich dividends in the future as the telecommunication revolution unfolds.'

A goal of the Internet2 consortium is to enable new types of Internet applications and allow quick and easy access to new network services and applications to the broader Internet community.

'Internet2 will be just between the main research partners,' Bob Hartland, associate director of network services, said. 'This will get rid of all the commercial traffic. It's by no means a replacement for the Internet -- it's just an addition.'

Because it is new, Internet2 is still very expensive.

'Right now we're working on getting a connection to Baylor,' Hartland said. 'We may even try to work something out with the University of Texas.'

As a result of commercial and individual use, the Internet has doubled in size and traffic has increased four-fold annually since 1988, according to the Internet2 Web site. The site said this traffic has slowed the Internet and thus made it less useful to the research community.

Some of the new applications planned for Internet2 are the use of IPv6 and multicasting. These new technologies will allow new applications such as digital libraries and virtual laboratories to flourish.

IPv6 is simply version six of the underlying language used by the Internet. The current Internet uses version four, so it will be far more efficient.

Multicasting is another technology Internet2 is experimenting with. The current Internet uses a system where if 100 copies need to be sent out to another location, it will send 100 copies, causing more traffic. With multicasting only one copy will be sent out and will then be copied when it gets closer to its' final destination. This will greatly reduce the traffic on Internet2.

Internet2 will be available on campus as soon as a connection can be made. 'Right now we're looking at several options on how to get connected,' Hartland said. 'It all comes down to funding.'

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