Press release on demise of the T-1 backbone

Ellen.Hoffman at Ellen.Hoffman at
Thu Dec 3 20:13:08 UTC 1992

Thought you might like to see the official notice of the T-1's passing...
Wednesday, December 2, 1992
National Science Foundation Network achieves major milestone
T-1 NSFNET now part of Internet history
(Wednesday, Dec. 2) Like it's predecessors, the ARPANET and 
the 56 Kbps National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET), the 
T-1 NSFNET passed into history today when the last router was 
moved to connect to the T-3 backbone service. As of 12:01 
a.m. EST on Wednesday, December 2, the T-1 NSFNET backbone is 
no more--its circuits are turned off--marking the beginning of 
a new networking era.
When first implemented just over four years ago, the T-1 
(1.5 Mbps) NSFNET backbone was state-of-the-art for the 
Internet, deploying new levels of speed and management. With 
improvements in routing technology, the Internet moved from 
an experimental service to a production commodity. Demands 
for higher speed services and increasing backbone traffic led 
to the T-3 (45 Mbps) backbone service implemented over the 
Advanced Network & Services, Inc. Network (ANSnet) that has 
replaced the older T-1 NSFNET technology. The growth of 
NSFNET promoted a global internetworking industry estimated 
as generating billions of dollars in annual revenues.
"Rapid change characterizes the high technology business," 
said Eric Aupperle, president of Merit Network, Inc. and 
principal investigator on the NSFNET project. "Five years 
ago, the federal government was predicting T-3 technologies 
in the mid-1990s, but demands for network service are pushing 
the speed of transferring technology from the laboratory to 
the desktop. And so T-3 technology is a reality today. While 
one era is ending, the stage is already being set for even 
more advanced technologies in NSFNET networking within the 
next year to 18 months."
In five years, the communications capacity of NSFNET has 
expanded almost 700 times through the implementation of 
leading-edge technologies, growing from 56 Kbps to T-3. Today 
the network's backbone service carries data at the equivalent 
of 1,400 pages of single-spaced, typed text per second. This 
means the information in a 20-volume encyclopedia can be sent 
across the network in under 23 seconds!
Today every major research, graduate, and four-year 
university is tied together through NSFNET, along with 
private and federal research institutions and industries. 
Over 700 colleges and universities are connected representing 
80 percent of the nation's student population and 90 percent 
of the nation's federally sponsored research. Further, NSFNET 
provides access to hundreds of high schools, libraries, 
community colleges, and smaller educational institutions. 
With over 1,000 public and private research and education 
institutions, NSFNET links an estimated 10 million users. As 
the commercial Internet has grown, links are expanding 
between education and business communities which are promoted 
through expanding connectivity.
Access to the network over the past five years has 
surpassed the most optimistic visions projected for it. The 
National Science Foundation's 1987 solicitation for NSFNET 
said, "It is anticipated that over the next five years NSFNET 
will reach more than 10,000 mathematicians, scientists, and 
engineers at 200 or more campuses and other research 
centers." After five years, these numbers have been more than 
exceeded and network growth continues to be exponential.
A reflection of that growth is network traffic. Total 
NSFNET traffic grew from 195 million packets in August 1988 
to almost 24 billion in November 1992, a 100-fold increase in 
four years. During November, the network reached its first 
billion-packet-a-day mark. Network growth increases an 
averages of 11 percent per month. The total number of 
connected networks grew from fewer than 200 to over 7,500, of 
which one-third are outside the United States. Today NSFNET 
makes it possible to reach educators and researchers in over 
75 countries around the world. Recent surveys show over a 
million host computers are connected to the Internet, with an 
even greater number of individual users accessing those 
Meeting the challenges of building the central 
infrastructure for this high-speed data communications 
network has been the focus of a joint government, academic, 
and industrial partnership for the past five years. Merit 
Network, Inc., in association with Advanced Network & 
Services, Inc. (ANS), IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan, 
has led pioneering efforts to put in place a national network 
service through a 1987 cooperative agreement with the 
National Science Foundation. The partnership deployed the T-1 
network on schedule in July 1988, and began the T-3 network 
service implemented over ANSnet in late 1990.
"The T-1 NSFNET project has been a remarkable adventure," 
said Stephen S. Wolff, director of the National Science 
Foundation's Division of Networking and Communications 
Research and Infrastructure (DNCRI). "It's an experiment 
whose success goes far beyond even the highest hopes we had 
for it. Because of this program, it's now conceivable that 
the U. S. can implement a network connecting every student 
and teacher in the country--from kindergarten to post-college--
before the end of the century, revolutionizing education and 
research. Five years ago, this seemed only a very distant 

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