85,000 Times Faster than a Speeding Modem
The Internet2 network, a souped-up broadband version of the original Internet, is said to be capable of delivering data at speeds of up 2.4 gigabits per second, or 85,000 times faster than a standard dial-up modem. Currently, Internet2 is used only by researchers and universities, but experts predict that in a few years HDTV and Internet2 technologies could become mainstream in the broadcast industry.
Corporate and University research consortium ResearchTV says that on September 9, computer engineers and television experts celebrated their first successful demonstration when an HDTV video stream was sent from the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto to the University of Washington (UW) campus in Seattle over the new high-bandwidth Internet2 backbone. The researchers say that this demonstration will be viewable October 12 at a meeting of Internet2 developers at the University of Washington.
Amy Philipson, executive director of ResearchTV, states that "HDTV over the Internet brings us closer to a more perfect transfer of visual data, particularly in the case of accessing the vivid images that are important to the progress of research activity. This is one of the highest-speed applications ever run over the Internet."
The test included a 40-minute stream of HDTV video sent from Stanford over Internet2 to the University of Washington in what the group descirbes as "an almost 'dropless' 270 megabit connection." A ResearchTV statement claims that "The success in the transfer of data is a result of original software code written by UW programmers that encapsulated the data into packets which were reliably transferred across Internet2 and reassembled as HDTV video in Seattle. This is a significant achievement, as currently most television broadcasts on the Internet employ connections of 20 to 200 kilobits per second using short clips of video shown in small windows on PC screens."
Michael Wellings, chief engineer for ResearchTV, says that "The challenge of these demonstrations is to be able to sustain a continuous stream of high-definition video with perfect HD picture quality over Internet2. The demanding datastreams required by high-definition video have significantly tested the performance characteristics of Internet2 and pushed the boundaries of HDTV video distribution over the Internet. With these tests we have seen the future, and we know that with more work, this quality can be something everyone will be able to enjoy."