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IBM to provide wares for Internet2

Seven universities will benefit from the company's hardware and software donations to the alternate Net project.

IBM (IBM) will announce tomorrow that it will provide hardware and software to seven universities to jump-start Internet2, the latest effort to build the next-generation network.

The recipients are Clemson University, Duke University, Indiana University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and the University of South Carolina, IBM will announce.

The $3.5 million commitment will include hardware, software, switches, and other network equipment.

Clemson University, for example, will be able to launch a high-speed fiber-optic network across its campus under Internet2. The grant will include ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) switches and equipment to upgrade existing switches.

"The Internet is important to us," said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM's Internet division. "We work very closely with universities and research labs to make the Internet better and better. That foundation led to the Internet being adopted by the business world. We expect [Internet2] to play out the same way."

Along with more than 100 universities, Internet2's business partners include 3Com, Bay Networks, Cisco, and Nortel.

Internet2 represents an effort by academia, the government, and industry to "accelerate the next stage of Internet development in academia," as the project's Web site puts it. Many in academia have complained about the congestion of the public Internet, which they say prevents them from carrying on research. That, they say, was the original intent of the Net.