Internet II is coming...

Recently seen on NANOG:

Internet II, if it happens, would be Higher-Ed's intranet.

Sounds great. It all sounded great until it got to the part about
"federal funding". I, for one, have a problem with my tax dollars
going towards some professor being able to gawk at another
professor in a videoconference.

One could easily name it "NSFNET V2", and it sounds as if they have
declared lack of confidence in ISPs to solve their problems. If I
were one of them, I might reason, "Why should I pay my lack-of-supprt,
peering-point-packet-saturated, overcommitted, BGP-flapping, poor-
cooperation, no-bandwidth-reservation ISP, when I can spend my money
on this new group focussed on this higher level of service? I don't
care if it costs more; it's not like I'm paying for the extra level
of service directly. I want to move my research traffic onto this
network before Bob's big Internet death happens."

If anything, it shows that there's a need for a higher level of
service than what's being provided to everyone jumping onto the
Internet bandwagon. Who pays for it is arbitrary - whether it's
the government or a Fortune 100 company, someone who sees value in
it will pay for it.

There's no question that service is good enough for the masses -
watch them flee online service providers - but now there's a niche
market for the quality of service once provided through NSFNET.

At a recent Usenix, I attended a tutorial on Win95/NT programming
(from a Unix perspective) where the lecturer commented a couple
times, "One can complain all they want about how Windows is inferior
to Unix, but there are those who see it as an opportunity to write
software for Windows that provides the functinality they see lacking
and make lots of money in the process."
                  (It's not a direct quote, just my interpretation.)

Likewise, people can complain that yet someone else is going to
have a federally funded network, or as a hypothetical network
service provider or telecommunications company I could fill the
need by making a more reliable and feature-rich backbone to connect
to and then take the money of the people who were going to build it
anyway. I think some of the newer and/or larger ISPs are seeing
this need, "Intranet" (a virtual private Internet begging the
phrase "X.25 - the next generation"), and you might see one of them
get the contract to serve what these universities want.

BTW: I noticed after typing that this thread belongs on com-priv, yes?

Sounds great. It all sounded great until it got to the part about
"federal funding". I, for one, have a problem with my tax dollars
going towards some professor being able to gawk at another
professor in a videoconference.

Part of the reason that this was ok was that the NSF was likely to be
picking up the tab for the alternative: a conventional dialed voice
call, at about 3 orders of magnitude higher price than the T3 NSFnet's
actual costs.

People using the NSFnet for AUP compliant voice only saved the
taxpayers money.

About the broader issue of the Internet II project, I have always
suspected that the "retail" market (100 M households) and the R&E
market (1000 largest R&E and industrial institutions) had incompatible
network requirements. The consequence is that no infrastructure could
be optimal for both. It would be a *good*thing* if the providers
could develop two parallel infrastructures: one default free, 100k
routes, typical peak user data rates near ISDN, to optimally support the
retail market.

A second parallel infrastructure only needs to support 1000 (rock
solid stable) routes, with (local) default routes over to the retail
network and sufficient traffic head room to keep the researchers
happy. The parallel network would be a premium service, with charges
per route as well as per connection. It could be trivially built
today (Is being?....) with todays technology, and it could
interconnect many of the existing R&E networks (vBNS, NSI, ESnet,
etc). Since the R&E networks can scale back the routing problem, they
can afford more detailed routing policies and a branchier layer 2,
supporting better global path optimization.

The hard part is getting all of the peering arrangements in place such
that traffic between the premium services of the different providers
does not pass through the congested retail infrastructure.

Internet II and the like are good things. No question!