KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is one of about 100 U.S. research universities working to form Internet II, a new data transmission system expected to process information up to 10 times faster than the current Internet.
Dr. Sue B. Mettlen, vice chancellor for information infrastructure at UT-Knoxville, said the difference between the existing Internet and Internet II will be the difference between a country road and a multi-lane interstate highway.
“We have signed the papers and paid our membership fee,” Mettlen said, explaining that Internet II would supplement rather than replace the current Internet.
When Internet II is up and running in 12-24 months, membership will be restricted to approximately 100 research universities, the national laboratories, and a few other federal agencies such as NASA, Mettlin said.
Other than an annual membership fee of $25,000, UT-Knoxville will spend no new money on the project.
“Members do commit to spending $500,000 each year on their own campus, but we already are doing considerably more than that,” Mettlen said.
The National Science Foundation is providing grant money to help develop Internet II.
“We have one grant application pending and one or two more are being prepared,” Mettlen said.
Physics is one department at UT-Knoxville that could use the extra data capacity and speed of Internet II.
“We find the idea very exciting,” said Dr. Lee Riedinger, head of the department. “Internet II will help us in many ways. One involves research we do with a nuclear accelerator and a $20 million gammasphere at the University of California at Berkeley.
“Now we use computers at Berkeley to put the research data on high-density tapes to bring it back to Knoxville to study. With Internet II, we could collect the data on our computer as it comes in and even monitor and control the experiment from here. Maybe I could send one person to Berkeley instead of two or three.”
Mettlen and Riedinger both said Internet II will not reduce the usefulness of the regular Internet.
“The Internet connects Point A with Point B,” Riedinger said. “With Internet II some users will connect a different way, but everybody will still be able to reach A and B.”
Mettlen said Internet II would take some of the load off the Internet, possibly speeding up the movement of information over the system.
Contact: Dr. Sue Mettlen (423-974-3730)