News Service


George Covert, ISU Computation Center, (515) 294-1616
Mike Noth, UI Information Technology Services (319) 335- 5462
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Researchers at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have announced their connection to the National Science Foundation's Very High Performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS), giving them access to the most advanced Internet technologies.

Currently operating in a pre-production mode and scheduled to enter full production by July 15, the connection that allows the two universities to access vBNS is called the "Iowa Research Point of Presence" (POP). The Iowa Research POP will support advanced use of Internet technology in research and education.

Researchers need high-speed data transmission to work with complex computer models, exchange large amounts of data and link to supercomputers throughout the nation. Examples of ISU and UI research and teaching that may benefit from vBNS include global climate simulation, virtual reality development and genetic mapping.

The vBNS system is faster and less congested than the commercial Internet Connections used for the vBNS also will be used for connection to Internet2, another advanced network under development by U.S. universities.

"Our involvement in the vBNS and Internet2 assures that the state of Iowa will remain at the forefront of national Internet and World Wide Web developments," said George Covert, associate director of the ISU Computation Center. "Our universities will continue to play an important role in the future directions of the Internet and the Web."

"With our connection to vBNS and our involvement in Internet2, we can provide Iowa State and Iowa researchers and faculty a high-quality network for their research needs, as we play a role in shaping the future of the Internet," said Covert.

"The POP connection will support and enhance significant research opportunities and it is also a good example of the longstanding teamwork between our two state research institutions," said Mike Noth, group leader for information architecture and technology assessment, UI Information Technology Services.

"While providing improved Internet access for research, the POP connection will also improve commodity Internet access by shifting research traffic off existing Internet connections. That should make life better for all of our Internet users," said Noth.

Supported, in part, by a NSF grant, the Iowa Research POP is on the UI campus and is connected to the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN) in Chicago. Through MREN, ISU and UI are linked to vBNS and eventually will participate in the Internet2 project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development. Currently, 51 institutions are involved in vBNS and more than 120 in Internet2.

The joint project also involves use of the ICN, the state- owned fiber optic network that provides video, data and voice services to educational institutions and other public sector agencies throughout the state of Iowa.

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