Bay Networks has joined the Internet 2 consortium, which is developing very high bandwidth Net technologies.
Although the non-profit's work is initially directed at the US academic community, several members, such as MCI, IBM, UUnet and now Bay, are putting significant investments into it, in the belief it will eventually have commercial viability. Bay is investing $1 million worth of networking equipment to support the group's work.
Internet 2 currently boasts about 100 members including universities, government agencies and industry members and will also partner with similar academic and industry networks round the world. Its aim is to develop technologies to carry 2.4Gbps traffic, dramatically extending the potential applications of the Internet. This will be based around network points of presence (POPs) in a so-called Gigapop infrastructure and will, in effect, provide a speedy top layer to the standard Internet.
Once the system becomes commercialised, some Internet service providers will be able to offer the superfast version for premium prices - and analysts believe those that cannot offer it will fall out of the market.
Bay's research contribution to the five-year project will be in the areas of IP services and quality of service, said a company spokesperson.
* Separately, Bay said it expects its first quarter sales to exceed analyst expectations, largely because of good sales of its new products, particularly its commodity hubs and the high end Gigabit Ethernet devices it has launched via recent acquisitions. Bay did not put a figure on the predictions but several analysts took the upbeat forecast to herald the start of a turnaround for the company, whose ex-Intel chief executive has spent the past six months adopting an aggressive comeback plan after months in the financial doldrums.
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