Press Release - USM, College Park Establish Internet2 Connection

October 24, 2001

USM, College Park Establish Internet2 Connection

The University System of Maryland (USM), the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), and the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) have signed an agreement for the University System of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS) to connect to the national Internet2 Abilene backbone as a Sponsored Educational Group Participant (SEGP).

The USM/UMATS connectivity is the result of a policy announced by UCAID earlier this year that allows state education networks and regional networking organizations expanded access to the high-performance research and educational backbone, through partnerships with Internet2 member universities. The UMATS connection as the U.S.'s 13th SEGP is sponsored by UMCP, one of the founding members of the Internet2 initiative.

"Expanded access to the Abilene backbone supports the primary Internet2 goal of facilitating the rapid transfer of new network services and applications to the global Internet and especially the broader educational community," said Douglas E. Van Houweling, president and CEO of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, the organization leading both the Internet2 and Abilene projects.

Donald Z. Spicer, chief information officer of the USM, said the newly established connectivity will allow all USM institutions to have access to the latest in national and international network capabilities.

"Having an Abilene connection here is a tremendous asset for our faculty and students," Spicer said. "It's the equivalent of a good carpenter having the very latest woodworking tools, or a respected doctor having the finest diagnostic equipment. With Internet2 at our disposal, the quality of USM education and research will only continue to climb."

UMATS is the inter-campus network of the USM. Through this agreement, faculty and students at all USM institutions will be able to connect with colleagues and special resources at Internet2 member institutions and institutions connected through similar SEGP agreements in other states. In addition, the agreement enables other educational institutions in Maryland to connect to Abilene as well through the UMATS backbone, including elementary schools, secondary schools, community colleges, and libraries. By connecting to UMATS, any educational entity in Maryland can offer this capability to its faculty and students.

Access to the Abilene high-performance backbone, leveraged by network upgrades at the state and local level, will allow expanded use of applications that don't work well or at all on today's Internet. For example, a student at a participating institution will be able to participate in a research project involving students and faculty at another institution via video teleconferencing, collect data at remote locations, or access the large data resources available at NASA. New collaborations also will occur, in the form of advanced video conferencing, simulation and visualization, and shared whiteboard tools over the Abilene backbone. The goal is to allow USM faculty and students the ability to work with colleagues elsewhere as easily as being in the same office on campus.

About the USM:

The nation's 12th largest university system, the University System of Maryland's network of 13 institutions enrolls nearly 130,000 students worldwide in 600 degree programs delivered in classrooms, laboratories, education centers, and online. The USM's nationally ranked programs, leading-edge research collaborations, and innovative business partnerships provide opportunities that support the USM mission and the goals of the USM Strategic Plan as they prepare students for both the promises and demands of the new century.

About UMATS:

The University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS) provides a seamless telecommunication infrastructure to the University System community and supports the institutional missions of teaching, learning, and research by providing customers with high quality, scalable, and cost-effective access to digital telecommunications within the University System of Maryland. The UMATS infrastructure supports multi-functional applications that require inter-institution connectivity and connectivity to locations outside of UMATS. The underlining principle that has made UMATS a success is the sharing of costs by member institutions that enable institutions to receive exceptional high quality services at affordable cost.

About the University of Maryland, College Park:

The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), the flagship university of the USM, is one of the founding members of Internet2 and operates both the Maryland Gigapop and the Next Generation Internet Exchange for the federal research networks for the East Coast. UMCP has also played an instrumental role in developing regional advanced networking infrastructure through the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), a multi-state consortium founded by Georgetown and George Washington universities, UMCP, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University ( MAX member institutions include research universities and numerous U.S. government agencies and laboratories within the Greater Washington metropolitan area.

About Internet2:

Internet2 ( is a consortium being led by over 180 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 is recreating the partnership among academia, industry and government that fostered today Internet in its infancy. The primary goals of Internet2 are to:

  • Create a leading edge network capability for the national research community

  • Enable revolutionary Internet applications

  • Ensure the rapid transfer of new network services and applications to the broader Internet community
While Internet2 members have traditionally been research universities, this year new classes of membership have been created, allowing individual universities or colleges, as well as K-12 institutions, to become Sponsored Members. Networks of educational institutions within a state can also connect as a Sponsored Educational Group Participant (SEGP).

About Abilene:

Abilene, an advanced backbone network developed through a collaboration among Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Indiana University and the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), supports the development and deployment of the new applications being developed within the Internet2 community. Abilene connects regional network aggregation points, called gigaPoPs, to support the work of Internet2 universities as they develop advanced Internet applications. For more information about Abilene, go to

For more information, contact:
Chris Hart
Phone: 301/445-2739