The Next Generation Internet

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The Next Generation Internet As the internet continues to integrate itself into the daily routine of millions of people worldwide, the narrow possibilities of current download and viewing speed continue to constrain the amount of information that is accessible and how fast it can be retrieved. The government, in conjunction with numerous computer and telecommunications companies, has set forth the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative. Experts predict that in the next few years, internet users will have more bandwidth than they could ever use. While most NGI connections are currently concentrated on educational institutions and government use, more widespread use is just over the millennial horizon. Looking Back and Glancing Forward Once upon a time, the world revolved around the 14.4 Kbps modem. It was the fastest thing on the market, and nothing could touch it. This lasted about as long as the 586 chip, for it was not long until the 28.8 Kbps modem revolutionized the industry with its "lightening quick" downloads and amazing bandwidth possibilities. Other speeds were pushed by smaller competitors on the modem market, but the next big jump was to 56 Kbps modems. Federal regulations held download speeds to 54 K, but that didn't matter because finally the technology was starting to emerge that would allow live audio and video streams to make TV obsolete -- almost. 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps networks were the standard for businesses and educational institutions, and for the most part they still are. From personal experience, 10 Mbps connections are amazing, as 8 MB files zip across the network at speeds blasting past 200 Kbps and still climbing as the file transfer is completed. Home users and other smaller businesses now enjoy the speed of cable and ISDN modem connections that rival most networks, and for those with money to burn, satellite connections are the end all for home users. While this is nice, content on the internet is still limited by what low-end users will tolerate waiting for, which can be rather frustrating to those looking for true real time video and other bandwidth-greedy applications. Here is where NGI comes into the equation. NGI provides the opportunity for bandwidth able to handle applications that require at least 600 Mbps of bandwidth. Such applications include things like DVD-quality video transmission, real-time VRML (virtual-reality markup language), and language tutors that speak the language to you in a real time conversation better than the natives do.
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