In collaboration with the national research and engineering network Internet2, Cisco is pleased to announce the completed transition of Internet2’s research and education (R&E) network traffic to a fifth-generation backbone. The new network, supported by Cisco solutions, delivers massive scale with lower CapEx, OpEx, and power draw, helping to accelerate research as it connects 37 state and regional networks throughout the United States.

4X increase in performance

Cisco’s collaboration with Internet2 drives tremendous technical achievements, increasing speeds and access capabilities by a factor 4. Known as Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI), the new network’s optical layer now supports up to 32 terabits per segment (Tbps) with zero congestion. This capability covers 15,700 miles of dark fiber capacity, with 350x the Library of Congress equivalent of data moved every day.

Internet2’s NGI also delivers new software-driven advanced capabilities while creating a greener footprint. This includes an expected 70 percent reduction in power consumption achieved through the latest hardware advancements.

How Cisco helped Internet2

Cisco provided a cost-effective solution, based on Cisco Silicon One ASIC, as a unifying architecture enabling deployment of the best-of-breed silicon. This encompassed Top of Rack (TOR) switches, all the way through the web scale data centers, and across the service provider networks with a fully unified routing and switching portfolio. This approach empowers massive scale but also does so at lower costs. Plus, it reduces overall energy usage. Cisco also helped accelerate and streamline Interrnet2’s service migration by leveraging Cisco’s Network Service Orchestration software.

Through Cisco and our ecosystem of partners, Internet2 is also gaining advanced automation capabilities embedded across their entire network as well as industry-leading security that better protects the privacy of research data.

“Cisco offered a strong vision for how technology can support researchers as they navigate this end-to-end environment. Plus, Cisco had a complete offering of software and hardware with the best and most up-to-date technology.”
— Rob Vietzke, Vice President of Network Services for Internet2

In addition, Cisco provided Internet2 with extended daily engagement, via our Customer Experience Services team, to reduce hiccups and increase trust. This allowed Internet2 engineers to feel more confident in the deployment. One even stated how “very impressed” he was with Cisco response times.

Cisco also funded a Cisco Network Consulting Engineer (NCE) to work closely with Internet2 engineers and Cisco’s business unit. This allowed accelerated collaboration across multiple stakeholders, adding to the project’s successful rollout.

Delivering trust and performance for Internet2

Before this collaboration, Internet2 was not using Cisco solutions and services. However, they understood that a project of this size required them to move beyond their traditional comfort zone of technology partners. It required selecting an industry-leading IT provider known for its significant experience, resources, and reliability. Internet2, and their extensive membership, put a lot of trust in Cisco—and we delivered.

Successful collaboration is the driving force behind Internet2’s NGI program. And Cisco is excited to be a part of it. We’re committed to supporting data-intensive research and enabling campuses to connect securely to each other and to connect securely to the cloud. This includes helping Internet2 deliver edge-to-edge performance and a software-enabled environment designed specifically for data-intensive research.

“Internet2 could have made the easy decision, staying the course. Instead, they leaned-in to gain the maximum benefit for research and all the things it could enable.”
—Michael Shepherd, Cisco Research and Education Strategist

“This is a brand new platform,” according to Cisco’s Michael Shepherd, who is leading Cisco’s strategy and approach to the research and education community. He believes that fostering broader, more holistic partnerships between the public sector and private sector technology providers is a key component of accelerating research domestically and globally.

As Michael likes to say, the collaboration was empowered by a deployment strategy to “fail fast, adapt, get it right.” The strategy proved successful, driving tangible results and enabling more inclusive research.

Additional resources



Marcus Moffett

Vice President of Solutions Engineering & Architectures