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NSF (National Science Foundation) and NSFnet

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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 is a U.S. government agency that promotes and funds science research, scientific projects, and the infrastructure required for scientific research. In the mid-1980s, it became interested in the technology of the ARPANET and started funding the development of a backbone network that would link academic and research sites. Initially, these sites were its supercomputer centers. By the late 1980, it began building the NSFNET.

NSFNET was a testbed that led to the development of high-speed networking technologies. Later, NSF turned the NSFNET over to commercial use and the Internet expanded using the technology developed by the NSF project. This project is discussed under "Internet Architecture and Backbone."

Later, NSF funded the vBNS (very high speed Backbone Network Service), which was an experiment in much higher backbone speeds and improved router. Today, NSF supports the work of Internet2, a collaborative project sponsored by UCAID (University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development), a consortium of over 180 U.S. universities. Internet2 is testing even more advanced Internet technologies.

The following RFCs provide more information about the NSF's role in the early Internet. Also see "Routing on the Internet" for historical information about the development of routing techniques in the NSFNET.

  • RFC 1074 (NSFNET backbone SPF-Based Interior Gateway Protocol, October 1988)

  • RFC 1092 (EGP and Policy Based Routing in the new NSFNET Backbone, February 1989)

  • RFC 1093 (NSFNET Routing Architecture, February 1989)

  • RFC 1133 (Routing between the NSFNET and the DDN, 1989)

  • RFC 1136 (Administrative Domains and Routing Domains: A Model for Routing in the Internet, December 1989)

  • RFC 1222 (Advancing the NSFNET Routing Architecture, May1991)

  • RFC 1482 (Aggregation Support in the NSFNET Policy-Based Routing Database, June 1993)

  • RFC 1930 (Guidelines for creation, selection, and registration of an Autonomous System, March 1996)

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