iCAIR Press Releases

MREN to Provide High Performance Connectivity to Abilene Network

Chicago, IL-- February 24, 1999 -- The Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), Ameritech, and Northwestern University's International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) today announced a major new high-speed digital communication capability for national connectivity in the Midwest. In conjunction with today's launch of the nationwide Abilene network, MREN will provide connectivity to Abilene for six research universities in the Midwest at speeds of up to 155 megabits per second, thousands of times faster than a typical personal computer modem. Other universities and labs will soon follow.

"As the manager of the world's largest ATM network access point, Ameritech is committed to providing faster, high performance network connections to support research and education," said Gordon Reichard, president of Ameritech Advanced Data Services. "Together, we are providing a key onramp to this national research data highway."

The Abilene network is the world's most advanced and far-reaching research and education networks. Developed by the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and Indiana University, a primary goal of Abilene is to support the university-led Internet2 project. Abilene will enable advanced network applications such as high-quality video, and the development networking capabilities, such quality of service (QoS) and multicasting. MREN developed the world's first GigaPOP, a gigabit-per-second-point-of-presence that provides for regional connectivity among many research universities and national laboratories in the upper Midwest. This facility is at the Ameritech Network Access Point (NAP), the largest ATM site in the nation.

Among the projects that will be supported by MREN's connection to Abilene is the development of a national next generation Digital Video Network. Led by iCAIR and sponsored by IBM, the Internet2 Digital Video Network involves multiple digital video stations, nation-wide, which will provide a variety of advanced video services for higher education. The Network will have the potential for delivering research and education content through thousands of specialized channels. "Abilene will provide the high performance networking possible to create many new types of advanced digital video services," said Joe Mambretti, Director of MREN and iCAIR.

The Other UCAID projects in which MREN and iCAIR are participating include those that are developing underlying capabilities for such applications, incorporating emerging new Internet technologies. For example, the Internet2 QBone project is developing capabilities that will provide for guarantees of high-quality network services, which are critical for high quality, full screen, full color video and CD- quality audio. Abilene will help provide a platform for applications innovation and powerful new functionality.

Although initially the Abilene backbone will be OC-48 (2.4 Gbps), Abilene is also developing an OC-192 (9.6 Gbps) capability. In the early phase of Abilene, GigaPOPs will have OC-12 and OC-3 links. This capability will support other advanced networking projects that have been established as cooperative partnerships among these organizations.

About MREN
Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN): MREN, designed in 1993 and implemented in 1994, by a consortium of research organizations is one of the world's most advanced high performance networks. MREN was designed to support a wide range of advanced applications and to accelerate the development of next generation Internet technologies. MREN established the world's first GigaPOP in 1995.

The Abilene network is a project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), home of the Internet2 project. In partnership with Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and Indiana University, UCAID is deploying Abilene as the most advanced and far-reaching research and education network in the United States. A primary goal of Abilene is to support the efforts of the Internet2 project. Operations are scheduled to begin in January 1999, with over 70 Internet2 institutions planning to connect by the end of 1999. For more information on Abilene please see, http://www.internet2.edu/abilene.

About Ameritech
Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) serves millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services including local and long-distance telephone and data, cellular, paging, security, cable TV, Internet and more. One of the world's 100 largest companies, Ameritech (www.ameritech.com) has 70,500 employees, 1 million shareowners and more than $30 billion in assets. Ameritech also operates the Internet Network Access Point (NAP) in Chicago, the largest Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) access point in the world. Ameritech has also been selected by the National Science Foundation as the global NAP for the next generation Internet initiative.

About iCAIR
International Center for Advanced Internet Research, Northwestern University (iCAIR): iCAIR has been established by Northwestern, IBM and Ameritech and other corporate partners to accelerate the development and implementation of advanced Internet technologies and services. IBM is the world's leading provider of information technology products and services and an Internet2 corporate partner. IBM creates, develops, and manufactures the industry's most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics. Northwestern University, established in 1851, is a leading private research and teaching institution with 17,700 undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges. It is considered one of the top ranked institutions for effective use of technology. For more information about Northwestern University, visit its Web site at http://www.nwu.edu.


Media Contacts:
Joe Mambretti, Director MREN, iCAIR
(847) 467-3911

Jean Medina, Ameritech
(312) 364-2134

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