NSFNET 20th Anniversary Collection

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NSFNET 20th Anniversary Collection

This Deep Blue collection forms part of a larger manuscript collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index of materials, consult the forthcoming online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

The NSFNET 20th anniversary celebration, held November 29-30th, 2007, recognized the impact and achievements of the NSFNET program. The NSF and founding partners held a conference that featured keynote speeches and panel discussions with individuals who worked directly on NSFNET as well as those who benefited from this work. The collection contains archived websites (with digital images of the conference), a program of event proceedings, and video recordings of the conferences as well as discussions filmed as part of an oral history project on the development of the modern Internet.

NSFNET was a program established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1985 to provide advanced networking for American research and educational institutions. Advanced networks consist of interconnected computers and hardware, which facilitate the sharing of data between remote locations. This networking backbone, which transmitted data at a rate of 56 Kbit/s, provided the necessary infrastructure to connect supercomputer centers across the nation by establishing key hubs within universities that supported networking hardware. Ultimately these advances facilitated the creation of the Internet, which became a global network of interconnected networks. Through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation, Merit Network, Inc., and a consortium of Michigan universities, a collaborative effort between IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan created the NSFNET backbone service in order to satisfy the research and education community's growing need for networked communications. As a result, NSF contributed to the ongoing advancement of its backbone network by establishing T1 (1.5 Mbit/s) and T3 (45 Mbit/s) service upgrades, which greatly increased the speed of data transmissions. This increased the number of research and education institutions that hosted interconnected supercomputer centers. The University of Michigan became part of the NSFNET backbone in November 1987. Thus, by combining high-speed networking and connection between the supercomputing centers and subsequent regional networks, NSF created the "network of networks" that served as the focal point of nationwide networking and that laid the foundation for today's Internet.

The NSFNET 20th Anniversary collection documents the event, “NSFNET: The Partnership that Changed the World. Celebrating 20 Years of Internet Innovation and Progress,” held November 29-30th, 2007, in Arlington, Virginia. The event was coordinated by a committee of individuals from organizations associated with NSFNET (including Merit, Advanced Network and Services, MCI, IBM, and the NSF) and featured keynote addresses and panel discussions related to the network’s development, key partnerships, the roles played by external and international communities, and the lasting impact of NSFNET. For more information on speakers and panel discussions, refer to the event program.

Please note:

Copyright is not held by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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