News Release

Qwest, Cisco, Nortel Networks And Indiana University Partner To Deliver High Performance Internet Research Network

Abilene Network is Test Bed for Internet of the Future for
Feb 24, 1999

Abilene Network is Test Bed for Internet of the Future for Corporations and Consumers

WASHINGTON D.C. -- February 24, 1999 -- The Abilene Project, the most advanced research and education network in the United States, today began nationwide operations delivering high speed network services to 37 universities. Abilene serves as a test bed for Internet applications of the future such as distance learning, tele-medicine and digital libraries that will become commonplace in the future. Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and Indiana University are contributing equipment and services with an estimated value of $500 million over three years to deliver Abilene.

As an Internet2 backbone network, Abilene spans over 10,000 miles and operates at 2.4 gigabits per second, a speed 45,000 times faster than a 56K modem. More than 60 Internet2 universities and research facilities are expected to connect to Abilene by the end of 1999. The Abilene network is a project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), home of the Internet2 project.

Abilene is comprised of best of breed technology and resources from its partners including 10,000 miles of Qwest Communications' advanced fiber optic network and engineering support. In addition, Cisco has provided high-speed communications equipment that enables the integration of data, voice and video, and ongoing engineering support for all 11 nodes of the Abilene network. Nortel Networks has provided network planning and engineering services, network management and optical networking capable of a transmission rate of 10 gigabits per second. Indiana University runs Abilene's Network Operation Center and has provided Abilene with problem determination and resolution and asset management.

"Qwest is proud to, not only provide the backbone for the Abilene network, but also to work side-by-side with other world technology leaders to create and test the advanced data applications of the future," said Lew Wilks, president of IP and multimedia markets for Qwest. "The success of Abilene, in such a small amount of time, is a testimonial to the dedication and determination of all involved parties to make Abilene a project that positively impacts the way we work and play."

"Cisco Systems is pleased to be a key partner in the Abilene project which has brought together the academic, research and corporate communities to make this network possible," said Judy Estrin, chief technology officer, Cisco Systems. "Cisco is committed to advancing the capabilities of the Internet by delivering integrated data, voice and video as well as other higher level services. Abilene and other Internet2 projects provide the testing ground for universities to develop these advanced applications."

"The fact that the Abilene network is operational is of great significance for member universities whose faculty and researchers now have access to unsurpassed networking capabilities for teaching and research," said Indiana University vice president for information technology, Michael McRobbie. "Indiana University is delighted to be a partner in Abilene and to provide the Abilene Network Operations Center which will support the research and education community's needs by providing outstanding expertise in network management for the physical and operations aspects of the Abilene."

"Nortel Networks is pleased that our innovations in optical networking are being used to further advance the pioneering efforts of the Abilene IP network," said Mike Unger, president, optical networks, Nortel Networks. "Nortel Networks 10 Gbps optical platform delivers maximum network reliability, capacity and performance - critical attributes for what will be such an influential network infrastructure."

"The remarkable collaboration among the Abilene Partners has provided Internet2 members with unsurpassed networking capabilities," said Dr. Douglas E. Van Houweling, president and CEO of UCAID, which is leading the Internet2 and Abilene projects. "Just as the research networks of a decade ago produced technologies that have transformed the way we all work, learn and live today, Abilene will help develop the technology we will all use tomorrow."

A primary goal of Abilene is to support the efforts of the Internet2 project.


The Abilene network is a project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), home of the Internet2 project. In partnership with Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and Indiana University, UCAID is deploying Abilene as the most advanced and far-reaching research and education network in the United States. A primary goal of Abilene is to support the efforts of the Internet2 project. Operations are scheduled to begin in January 1999, with over 70 Internet2 institutions planning to connect by the end of 1999.

About Qwest Communications

Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) is a leader in reliable and secure broadband Internet-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. Headquartered in Denver, Qwest has more than 8,000 employees and 80 sales offices in North America, Europe and Mexico. The Qwest Macro Capacity (SM) Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking, will span more than 18,500 route miles in the United States when it is completed in mid-1999.

About Nortel Networks

Nortel Networks optical networking equipment is responsible for carrying 75 percent of all backbone Internet traffic in North America. Nortel Networks has built more than 20 global networks to date with its 10 Gbps solution and leads the market due to unsurpassed capacity, reliability and network performance. Nortel Networks' 10 Gbps optical networking platform has over 90 percent market share.

About Indiana University

Indiana University, one of the oldest state universities in the Midwest, has been ranked among the ten best public institutions of higher education in the US. In addition to being selected as the site for the Abilene Network Operations Center (NOC), networking highlights at IU include having a high-speed connection to the vBNS and receiving a grant from the NSF to develop a high-speed, international network connection, called TransPAC, between the vBNS and the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN).

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

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