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vBNS (Very high-speed Backbone Network Service)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

The NSF (National Science Foundation) has played an important role in the development of the Internet. It played an early role that was critical in defining the structure of the Internet. In the mid-1980s, it funded the NSFnet, and in 1990, the NSFnet took over the role of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). The NSFnet connected five supercomputer centers in the United States. NSF is also involved in the NREN (National Research and Education Network) and the NII (National Information Infrastructure) programs.

In 1995, the NSFnet was shut down and NSF commercialized the Internet, but NFS continued to fund research into high-speed networking with the vBNS project. The vBNS was implemented as an IP-over-ATM network, with IP packets encapsulated into ATM cells for transport over a SONET OC-12 (622 Mbits/sec) infrastructure. In early 1999, Abilene, the newest addition to the Internet backbone, was brought online as a follow-up to the successful vBNS. See "Abilene" and "Internet."

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