INDEPENDENT NEWS

Internet 2: What Is It And Why Should You Care?

Published: Thu 12 Jul 2001 11:27 AM
WHO: Dr Neil James, University of Otago and John Houlker, Industry New Zealand (by videoconference)
WHEN: TUESDAY, 24 JULY, 7:30 AM
WHERE: Auckland, UNITEC Learning Technologies, Building 180, Room 2038. See directions below.
AUSPICES: This is an Auckland site of the SmartWellington Interactivie Breakfast Seminars
* Cost: $30.00. Only fifteen spaces available, please register early!
* To register, send email to ymacken@unitec.ac.nz and bring a cheque or cash for the proper amount to the event.
* Directions: Entry 4, Carrington Road. Park in available car parks near "Directorate" building. Continue into Campus away from Car Park. Walk through the Student Union past the Cactus Cafe. Look for the signs saying "New Zealand Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship"
The Internet Has A Sequel And New Zealand Is Not Yet Fully Part Of It.
A coalition of 170 US universities as well as research networks in Canada, Europe and Australia plus a few dozen corporations have been pooling their resources to build the Internet2 framework, which researchers are now using to develop a variety of futuristic, high-bandwidth applications.
Internet2 is built on a foundation of several networks capable of carrying data at dizzying speeds using connections up to 3 gigabits per second.
For example, research teams at Stanford University are using Internet2 to develop a variety of long-distance applications: a robotic helicopter that can be remotely controlled by spoken commands, a system for transmitting three-dimensional models of brain activity to remote locations, several videoconferencing courses involving students on multiple continents, and tools to allow surgeons to collaborate on operations happening thousands of miles away.
Other applications are in the works, some of them commercial. A startup company called Teleportec has developed a broadband conferencing system that produces the illusion of a three-dimensional hologram, so you can use the Net to project a ghostly image of yourself, Princess Leia-like, onto a specially equipped lectern. The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, recently used the system to address a crowd in Dallas without ever leaving his office in Austin. Teleportec's system (which costs $70,000) is data- intensive, requiring 384 to 768 kbps of bandwidth, the Texas governor's address last month was transmitted over the Internet2 network.
Will Internet2 supersede the current Internet? Not really. The purpose of Internet2 is somewhat like that of the space program: to produce lots of indirect benefits by funding primary research. So rather than actually building the next version of the Internet, Internet2 researchers hope to develop technologies and techniques that can later be applied to the public network by private enterprise and the government. Using examples like Teleportec the results will be truly amazing.
There is a growing concern that New Zealand universities and research community are falling behind their international counterparts in access to high bandwidth data services that are needed to support Internet2. One suggestion is for the establishment of a National Research and Education networking body which would collaborate with AARNet (the Australian Research and Education network) in the purchase of international data capacity in order to fully participate in the opportunities from Internet2.
This new body could represent New Zealand in international forums on research and education networking, enabling New Zealand to take place, in a peer relationship, in international initiatives such as the US Internet2 project.
The lack of progress even at the discussion level here in New Zealand regarding the opportunities presented by Internet2, when compared to Australia and Canada for example: who have recently completed the first phase of Internet2 networks does not bode well for the future, particularly in the context of progressing the notion of a "knowledge economy". Limitations are for the most part not technical but rather the lack of the imagination.
If you are in Wellington, you can attend at (e)-vision, 2 Blair Street. Cost $45. Contact info@evision.org.nz or www.evision.org.nz
(e)-vision Digital Media Centre for Communication Art and Technology Video Conference : 64 4 801 6892 x 2, 64 4 384 9748 x 2 Phone: 64 4 384 3550 Fax : 64 4 384 3552 No. 2 Blair St P.O. Box 19070 Wellington
THIS SESSION IS ALSO BEING SUPPORTED BY THE INTERNET SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND

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