Internet2 is a not-for-profit consortium, led by over 200 U.S. universities, developing and deploying advanced network applications and technology, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. With participation of over 60 leading companies, Internet2 recreates the partnership of academia, industry and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy.
Internet2 is not a separate physical network and will not replace the Internet. Internet2 brings together institutions and resources from academia, industry and government to develop new technologies and capabilities that can then be deployed in the global Internet. Close collaboration with Internet2 corporate members will ensure that new applications and technologies are rapidly deployed throughout the Internet. Just as e-mail and the World Wide Web are legacies of earlier investments in academic and federal research networks, the legacy of Internet2 will be to expand the possibilities of the broader Internet.
Internet2 and its members are developing and testing new technologies, such as IPv6, multicasting and quality of service (QoS) that will enable revolutionary Internet applications. However, these applications require performance not possible on today's Internet. More than a faster Web or e-mail, these new technologies will enable completely new applications such as digital libraries, virtual laboratories, distance-independent learning and tele-immersion. A primary goal of Internet2 is to ensure the transfer of new network technology and applications to the broader education and networking communities.
We expect the capabilities needed to use new technologies and applications being tested and developed by Internet2 and its members to be built into upcoming generations of commercial products. Internet2 corporate partners are working closely with the Internet2 community to expand the capabilities of their products and services as well as the global Internet. For example, just as most personal computers sold today include the ability to use the Internet, tomorrow's commercial products will include the ability to use advanced networking capabilities.
The university-led Internet2 and the federally led NGI are parallel and complementary initiatives based in the United States. Internet2 and NGI are already working together in many areas. For example, through participation in a NSF NGI program, over 150 Internet2 universities have received competitively awarded grants to support connections to advanced backbone networks such as Abilene and the very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS). Internet2 is also forming partnerships with similar advanced networking initiatives around the world. Working together will help ensure a cohesive and interoperable advanced networking infrastructure for research and education, and the continued interoperability of the global Internet.
University research and education missions increasingly require the collaboration of personnel and hardware located at campuses throughout the country in ways not possible over today's Internet. Moreover, universities are a principal source of both the demand for advanced networking technologies and the talent needed to implement them. Researchers, instructors and students at Internet2 universities are able to explore capabilities beyond today's Internet as they teach and learn and conduct science in disciplines ranging from the fine arts to physics.
Internet2 members have committed to actively collaborate in the development of advanced networking technologies and applications. For Internet2 universities, this means providing high-performance networking on their campuses investing to upgrade their campus networks and connecting to a national Internet2 backbone network. For Internet2 corporate partners, this means actively collaborating with Internet2 universities and in Internet2 initiatives. Internet2 universities have committed over $80 million per year in new investments on their own campuses and corporate members have committed more than $30 million over the life of the project. In addition, Internet2 member institutions may receive funding in the form of competitively awarded grants from the NSF and other federal agencies participating in the federal Next Generation Internet initiative.
Participation in Internet2 is open to any university that commits to providing on-campus facilities that will allow advanced applications development. The investment this requires may be more than many institutions can manage right now. However, Internet2 also supports collaboration by Internet2 universities with non-member institutions. Fifteen years ago, connecting to the Internet could be as expensive as participating in Internet2 today. As the technology dropped in price, the entire academic community benefited from the efforts of the initial research participants. Deployment of Internet2 technology will follow a similar pattern.
A key goal of this effort is to accelerate the diffusion of advanced Internet technology, in particular into the commercial sector. In this way, Internet2 will help to sustain United States leadership in internetworking technology. Internet2 will benefit non-university members of the educational community as well, especially K-12 and public libraries. Internet2 and its members aim to share their expertise with as wide a range of computer users as possible. This approach characterized the first Internet and it can work again today.