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Internet2 was started by academic institutions that needed a higher speed network than could be supported by commercial internet service providers. For almost two decades, Internet2 has been pushing the boundaries of internet speed and reliability. The deployment of Internet2 to more communities and companies will help all those involved to get better and faster results from their research (Internet2, 2018). To connect four different LANs which are geographically far apart, two of the considerations are security and reliability. For security, if we assume that each LAN has a single router, we would connect the four routers to the internet, and ensure that company firewalls are in-place somewhere before the WAN reaches the router.
For reliability, we would establish a fiber connection, likely through a vendor, from the router to the internet, or perhaps even a dedicated line from one location to another. Internet2 was launched in 1997 to fill a void that was left when Backbone Network Service, or vBNS, was no longer available (Internet2, 2018).
vBNS was a high-speed network that was used by academic researchers to quickly handle large amounts of data. The vBNS had previously been provided by the National Science Foundation until the NSF switched to providing the vBNS only to the government (Internet2, 2018). Therefore, the universities that had relied on vBNS created Internet2.
Internet2 provides the extremely high speeds needed by research projects to transport large amounts of data in a reasonable amount of time. The speeds are over 100 Gigabits per second, which means that they are at least 100 times faster than even the fastest home internet connections.
This speed, along with the ability to handle a large amount of data, makes Internet2 valuable to those doing research. Long distance research collaboration which involves large calculations, such as when researching planets with space telescopes, is especially dependent on this type of large-volume data delivered quickly.
Another use for Internet2 is for doctors to consult during surgery. Because of the sensitive and dangerous nature of surgery on humans, any assistance provided over video must be real-time and of very high quality. Internet2 provides this capability, and in fact specializes in providing high quality streaming of other cultural events, such as concerts. While we have discussed reasons why Internet2 could be useful for corporate WANs, Internet2 will not necessarily impact corporate WANs directly. This is because organizations must pay large fees to become members of Internet2, and only certain locations (such as universities) are allowed access. Fees can be upwards of ten thousand dollars, and are needed to cover the expenses of the highly customized and newly released equipment needed for Internet2.
However, Internet2 has always impacted corporate WANs in two ways: by showing what is possible and therefore indirectly encouraging commercial Internet Service Providers to adopt some of the Internet2 practices and equipment, and by being a platform for scientific research that eventually can lead to better commercial products. I would like to present a WAN design in two ways. First, I will list a single path of communication from a company laptop in one city, up to a company firewall in another city. Firewalls are important because they block attacks from outside the organization. Then I will present the WAN in a chart format for all four company locations.
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