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WHO? In 1996, Internet2 was but a gleam in the eyes of 34 university researchers huddled in the basement of a Chicago area hotel, trying to reclaim a piece of the technology that science had given to the world. By then, the Net had become a gridlock for those in need of high-capacity transmission with low, controlled delays in signal processing. Nowadays, Internet2 comprises more than 200 US universities, about 60 companies, and governmental agencies coordinated by the nonprofit Internet2 Consortium, led by University of Michigan School of Information professor Douglas E. Van Houweling.

WHAT? Rather than developing a new infrastructure, Internet2 uses existing transmission capacity exclusively for research and education. Its scientists improve conventional protocols, hardware, and software to deliver high volumes of data 1,000 times faster than can a typical 56 Kbps modem.

WHEN? The capacity is here; it's the applications that lag. Despite successful...

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