Wikipedia 🌐 CERFnet

Saved Wikipedia (Jan 14 2021) for CERFnet


The California Education and Research Federation Network (CERFnet) is a mid-level network service provider based in California. It was originally proposed by Susan Estrada of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). CERFnet was one of the [NSFNET] regional networks and a co-founder of the Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX).[1] The CERFnet network was founded in January 1988 by Susan Estrada, received partial funding of $2.8 million by the National Science Foundation a year later, and was fully operational by November 1989, linking together 38 California research centers. The network was operated by the SDSC and General Atomics.[2]


CERFnet History (June 1992, from nic.cerf.net)



In June, 1988, a proposal was submitted by the San Diego Supercomputer Center and General Atomics to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the California Education and Research Federation Network (CERFnet). Thirty-four of the leading research and education centers in California participated in the proposal effort. In March, 1989, $2.8 million was awarded by the NSF to initiate CERFnet. The institutions contributed additional funds in membership fees, support personnel (such as training, consultation, and documentation), and maintenance of equipment needed to connect and support their CERFnet link.

Today, CERFnet links over 300 research and education centers with data transfer rates of up to 45 Megabits-per-second. CERFnet provides enhanced communication among researchers, educators and private industry, and high-speed access to the resources available through the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) and the Internet, such as supercomputer centers, online library catalogs, and specialized databases.

The Research Need

Before CERFnet, some of the institutions had medium-speed access to the [NSFNET] backbone but a substantial increase in bandwidth and connectivity was needed to encourage usage by making access easier, faster, and cost-efficient.

The need for CERFnet was two-fold. The availability of high-speed networking and supercomputer power greatly expands computational possibilities. This stimulates a wider range of scientific explorations and makes projects more feasible. Complex projects frequently involve the sharing of databases, software, and results by researchers in different institutions and multiple disciplines. Project feasibility is enhanced by the integrated communications environment offered by the Internet by achieving better collaboration and interaction with distant colleagues and resources.

Many of the institutions were already experienced in using NSF and other supercomputer centers, such as the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the National Magnetic Fusion Energy Center. Today, CERFnet allows convenient access to these state-of-the-art facilities. CERFnet also provides capabilities through the use of TCP/IP, which include remote logins, file transfers, and telnet sessions.

CERFnet Phase I

CERFnet was built on existing data communication links--some have been upgraded to higher bandwidths. New links were installed between March and November 1989 to expand the network to all of the original research and education centers.

CERFnet's high-speed backbone nodes were installed between May and June 1989 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California, Irvine (UCI), the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The backbone was expanded to the University of California Office of the President in Oakland in November, 1989, and to San Jose in December, 1990.

CERFnet Phase II

In March, 1990, CERFnet submitted a proposal to the NSF for Phase II. Phase II proposed to establish new Internet connections for three four-year colleges and two community colleges. CERFnet also proposed to establish gateways to fifteen FrEdMail (Free Educational Mail) Network sites.

The FrEdMail Network is a grass-roots data- communications network that allows teachers and students at K-12 institutions around the country to exchange teaching materials, student assignments, and information on workshops, job opportunities, and national legislation affecting education.

The institutions proposed in CERFnet Phase II were brought online between September,1990 and March,1991, at a cost of $226,000 over two years.

Further Expansion

Since March, 1989, the network has grown to include over 300 research and education centers. Several classes of memberships were introduced since 1989. All of these memberships provide access to the Internet via a dedicated leased line service or by a dial up connection. The dedicated lease line services that CERFnet has provided are CERF 1544 (1.544 megabits-per-second); CERF 56 (56 kilobits-per-second); CERF 14.4 (14.4 kilobits-per-second); and CERF 9.6 (9.6 kilobits-per-second). The dial up connections include DIAL n' CERF, DIAL n' CERF AYC, and DIAL n' CERF Plus which all provide dialup SLIP access up to 19.2 kilobits-per-second. An additional dial up service that has recently been introduced is DIAL n' CERF USA, which uses an 800 number for toll-free connections anywhere in the United States. All of these memberships are supported by subscription fees.

In 1991, CERFnet also established the first Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX) in cooperation with PSInet amd Alternet. The CIX has expanded to include several additional domestic and international networks. It permits the exchange of commercial traffic between these three networks.

Adopt A School is a program that originated in September 1991 and it allows CERFnet users to connect a local K-12 school to DIAL n' CERF. The CERFnet user helps the school use the connection and the available information on the Internet. The school or CERFnet user provides a terminal/PC and modem. Many staff members have already adopted their schools their children attend or that are in their neighborhoods. Currently, there are about 19 schools involved in the program.

CERFnet also establised their first T1 connection near the end of 1991. This 45 megabits-per-second connection extends between two of CERFnet's backbone sites, UCI and California Institude of Technology. The success of thisconnection will pave the way for the upgrade of all CERFnet's backbone circuits.

Three international links were also completed by the end of 1991. The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) came on-line in December 1991. The connection between CERFnet and UFRJ is intended to provide, among other things, Internet access to a regional network located within the state of Rio de Janeiro. Initially, nine institutions will be connected to this local network: Brazilian Center of Investigating Sciences (CBPF), Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Institute of Mathematics Prue and Applied (IMPA), Polytechnic Institute of Rio de Janeiro (IPRJ), National Laboratory of Computer Science (LNCC), Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Federal University Fluminense (UFF), and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Eventually the network will expand to include research institutions located in the state of Sao Paulo.

Three of these institutions (CBFF, IMPA, and LNCC) are laboratories of the National Council of Scientific Development and Technology, which is the equivalent of the National Science Foundation. Two are federally funded universities (UFF and UFRJ) and FIOCRUZ is the laboratory of the Federal Health Ministry.

The CICESE Institute located in Ensenada, Mexico was brought on-line in November 1991. The institute will have a 64 kbps satellite link to the SDSC via the Mexican satellite, Morelles II.

The System Engineering Research Institute (SERI), Seoul Korea was brought on-line in March 1991. SERI is similar to the National Foundation sponsored supercomputer centers. SERI performs a large number of research and development products for both domestic and foreign clients through the application of its high level resources, such as supercomputers. The link between SERI and CERFnet will provide Internet access to the Korean National Research Network (KREONet).