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Icons of Progress

The Rise of the Internet

In 1986, the National Science Foundation built an initial NSFNET with 56 Kbits/sec links. But this network was slow and quickly became overloaded. So in June 1987, the NSF solicited proposals for a new higher speed network and in November, 1987, awarded the job of building and managing this new high-speed network to a team consisting of IBM, MCI and Merit (a not-for-profit networking organization with members from Michigan universities). The IBM/MCI/Merit team built a new network upgrading the capacity of network links from 56Kbits/sec to 1.5 Mbits/sec T1 links and then to 45 Mbits/sec T3 links.

Laying a Foundation for the World

From infrastructure to implementation, the methods used by IBM have served as the guiding principles for other nations to create networks and access the Internet. NSFNET was organized into a three-tier architecture of campus, regional and backbone networks.

Moving Data Forward

Since its creation, IBM has strived to make data and communication work better. From automating the census, to bringing computing to business, IBM has a long history of making data faster, more secure and smarter. The NSFNET made information sharing and global communication easier than ever before.

Collaboration in the Open Source Age

In keeping with its history, and with the open source nature of the Internet, IBM undertook the task of bolstering NSFNET’s backbone collaboratively. IBM collaborated with MCI and Merit to complete their assignments on time and on budget, with team leaders from each organization meeting informally to work out solutions.