The Next Generation Internet: Another Step in the Successful Transition to the Commercial InternetAugust 15, 1996
The National Science Foundation announced today that two projects important in the transition to the commercial Internet have completed their basic missions ahead of schedule.
In April 1995 the NSF designated Network Access Points, or NAPs, (to pass messages from one network to another) and the Routing Arbiter (to find a path to each destination) to support the transition from the government-supported NSFNET to the commercial Internet. According to a recent review, these projects have proved that multiple network providers can work together in a competitive marketplace, and now may be scheduled for transition to commercial operations themselves.
"This program has been very successful in helping private industry to build the modern Internet," said George Strawn, networking division director at the NSF. "It is now time for us to focus on a next generation that goes beyond simple connections."
"In a way, this is like having your kid grow up and leave home -- this part of the project is now strong enough to make it in the real world."
The NSF played a key role in the development of the Internet. In the mid 1980s the Foundation created the NSFNET backbone, which served as infrastructure for the research and education community. The success of the NSFNET spread to the commercial world as thousands of new Internet service providers connected millions of new customers by exchanging traffic at network access points according to directions governed by routing arbiters. NSF decommissioned the NSFNET in April, 1995.
As part of the new architecture, NSF had partially funded four network access point projects:
- a New York NAP to Sprint
- a San Francisco NAP to Bellcore with Pacific Bell as the operator
- a Chicago NAP to Bellcore with Ameritech as the operator
- a Washington DC NAP to Metropolitan Fiber Systems, Inc.
"The people and companies that handled these projects are to be commended for an important job well done," said Mark Luker, NSFNET program director. The NSF-funded operations of these NAPs and RAs can now shift to the commercial marketplace as their researchers focus on connections and routing for advanced networking. Both actions help NSF to move to the next stage, a stronger focus on the high-performance Internet of the future needed to support today's advanced research.
National Science Foundation
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