New and improved, I2 aims to increase the size and strength of the Internet, not to replace it. Internet2 is a TCP/IP-based network, just like the Internet, that uses substantially increased bandwidth between the backbone and local points of presence (POPs). On the Internet, the average POP connection is about 1 Mbps; Internet2 connections (also known as gigaPOPs) are expected to sustain data transfer rates of at least 100 Mbps. While it will play a vital role in uncovering next-generationapplication and protocols that may one day migrate to the commercial Internet, it is not a second-generation commercial Internet. Instead, it's a virtual laboratory where the research community can develop distributed video and audio and other multimedia applications (such as telemedicine procedures) without clogging up the commercial Internet.
I2 was set in motion in 1996, when the NSF awarded grants to thirty-five research institutions across America, helping them connect to the vBNS and thus enabling the NGI initiative to take form. There are hundreds of universities, corporations, and government entities collaborating on this Washington, D.C.-based project, but, for the end-user, its results will not be publicly debuted in the commercial sector beyond making a noticeable difference in how things work, notably in the speed.
Some I2 initiatives include I2-DSI (Distributed Storage Infrastructure), I2-DVN (Digital Video Network), and the Qbone (Quality of Service Backbone Test Bed).
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