RealTime IT News

MCI WorldCom Expands Internet2 Capacity

MCI WorldCom Thursday expanded capacity for users of its Very High Performance Backbone Network Service, part of the Internet 2 initiative.

The National Science Foundation-funded project to develop network support services for Next Generation Internet (NGI) is currently being tested by members of the CalREN-2 university research and education network.

The California Institute of Technology, California State University, Stanford University, University of California and University of Southern California will be among the first to explore applications using the OC-48 connection linking Los Angeles and San Francisco. The network currently supports about 80 universities and five supercomputer systems.

Developed in October 1994, vBNS has become and integral technology supporting the development of next-generation network architecture. MCI WorldCom and the NSF will provide intensive bandwidth network architecture to power research applications including distributed virtual environments, imulation caves that simulate shared 3-D environments and graphically rich geological libraries.

vBNS currently sets the pace and protocols for next generation Internet networks. MCI WorldCom plans to continue to migrate backbone segments of vBNS throughout 1999 to create a pure IP over SONET infrastructure.

"This is an important milestone in support of next generation Internetworking," said Vint Cerf, MCI WorldCom's senior vice president of Internet architecture and technology.

"vBNS supports the exploration of advanced applications by the research and education community, some of which may one day become commonplace on the public Internet. This upgrade allows experimentation with applications involving multicast, IP version 6, and Quality of Service classes at the high speeds supportable with 2.5 gigabit/second OC-48 trunking."

MCI WorldCom has deployed Juniper Networks M40 routers to power the OC-48 trunks and to allow use of next-generation Multi Protocol Label Switching technology in place of its current Asynchronous Transfer Mode layer 2 architecture. The M40 Internet backbone router operates at wire rate performance at OC-48 speeds, ensuring that vBNS can scale to meet the unusual demands of the research and education community.

"We are very pleased to see this increased capacity in the vBNS backbone," said David Wasley, project director for the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California.

"Members of our CalREN-2 network will now be able to fully utilize their high speed connections to the vBNS. The new high performance applications we are developing will demonstrate the importance of this capability as part of the Internet2 work in which we are engaged."

MCI WorldCom utilized existing fiber optic networks to attain OC-48 speeds. The company has different colors to light up existing fiber to increase total capacity.

"We've only just begun to mine the existing colors of light available on fiber," Cerf said.

MCI WorldCom is publicly displaying the capabilities of the new vBNS network capability with continuous network tests and results here.