IBM gets first corporate access to Internet2 backbone
(IDG) -- IBM on Wednesday became the first corporate partner to be approved to connect to the Abilene, which will serve as the backbone network for Internet2.
Abilene has been 10 months in the making, and is comprised of 13,000 miles of fiber-optic cable looped between New York and Seattle. The network initially will link some 70 research institutions, operating at an impressive speed of 2.4G bits per second.
Abilene is a key component of Internet2, an initiative led by more than 130 universities working with the U.S. government and the computer industry to develop new network services and applications not possible over today's congested, public Internet.
IBM will be connecting several of its research facilities using Abilene, including the company's Yorktown Heights, N.Y. and Almaden, Calif. labs. In so doing IBM will also be able to work with other major Internet2 research labs in trying to sculpt the first advanced Internet applications, such as middleware products to govern traffic over high-speed networks and a range of different applications that will tightly integrate video, audio, and voice.
"Working with the Internet2 community, we will be building more powerful applications that will be feasible only on a backbone like Abilene," said John Patrick, vice president in charge of IBM's Internet technology. "We hope this will lead customers into the next era of e-business as these applications migrate over to the commercial Internet."
IBM has spent over $5.6 million to date in supporting the universities that are participating in the Internet2 initiative. The company has had an influence in shaping the Internet2 Distributed Storage Infrastructure initiative as well as the Internet2 Digital Video Network projects.
Abilene's primary purpose is to support Internet2 development of broadband applications and engineering management tools for research and education. The backbone began operation in January.
Ed Scannell is an InfoWorld editor at large based in Framingham, Mass.
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