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Re: Cyber-Rights position on IPS charges

Message forwarded by Timothy van der Linden


Type   : Press Release
Date   : March 14, 1996
File   : pr968

Media only contact:
Beth Gaston                                                      March 14, 1996
(703) 306-1070/egaston@nsf.gov                                      NSF PR 96-8

All others contact:
Mark Luker
(703) 306-1950/mluker@nsf.gov

New Connections Program to force Internet Technology

        While the Internet grows in popularity, a related problem is growing:
traffic jams.  The increased demand of more people on-line using increasingly
sophisticated tools has caused delays in transmission unacceptable for some
scientific uses.

        The National Science Foundation has introduced a new twist to its
connections program: emphasizing innovative solutions that may have broad
implications for all Internet users.  The program will look for meritorious
applications that require high performance networking, and will then fund
development by university and college campus network service providers.
Technology developed for this program will likely affect future operation of
the Internet.

        The technology will introduce the idea of prioritization to Internet
traffic. For example, if planning to use the U.S. Postal Service to send a
package, you have options: overnight mail, first-class service, or third-class
service.  The rate of the package delivery is contingent on how it is
designated.  Freeways around major cities often have either express toll roads
or high-occupancy-vehicle lanes to bypass congested areas.  Similarly, NSF's
connections program is expected to spur the development of switches and
routers to help alleviate bottlenecks of information.

        "There is no single solution.  We hope this grant program will
stimulate the development of a technological option for the Internet, to
introduce prioritization and provide a new style of connection that gives a
guaranteed level of service at a national level," said Mark Luker, manager of
NSF's connections program.

        Currently on the Internet, all packets of information are treated
alike. While this worked fine before the popularization of the Internet, it
now interferes with some uses that require high performance service.  One
example is to use high performance connections of multiple small computers  to
create a large workstation cluster distributed across the nation.  The
Internet is currently too congested for such a system.  Teleconferencing or
videoconferencing also places too great a need on the current capacity.  And,
some scientific instrumentation requires specific fast connections, though not
necessarily high bandwidth.  Interruptions or delays caused by Internet
congestion could be fatal to experiments.

        One solution might include prioritization of traffic on the Internet.
Another solution might involve diverting specially coded traffic to high
performance, special use networks, such as NSF's vBNS (very high speed
Backbone Network Service).


NSF was created as an independent federal agency in 1950, uniquely charged
with promoting the progress of all fields of science and engineering.  Today,
as a leader and steward of the nation's science research base, NSF supports
both research and education through competitive grants to about 2,000
universities and other institutions.  NSF receives some 60,000 research
proposals each year and funds about one-third of them.  ** News releases and
tipsheets are available electronically on NSFnews.  To subscribe, send an
e-mail message to listmanager@nsf.gov.  In the body of the message, type
"subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name.  For more guidance, send a "help"
message to listmanager@nsf.gov.  Also see the NSF Home Page (http://
www.nsf.gov), under News of Interest.
End of pr968.txt

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