National Science Foundation (NFS) Networking
National Science Foundation Networking
Realizing that data communication would soon be crucial to scientific research, in 1987 the National Science Foundation established a Division of Network and Communications Research and Infrastructure to help ensure that requisite network communications will be available for U.S. scientists and engineers. Although the division funds basic research in networking, its emphasis so far has been concentrated on providing seed funds to build extensions to the Internet.
NSF's Internet extensions introduced a three-level hierarchy consisting of a U.S. backbone, a set of "mid-level" or "regional" networks that each span a small geographic area, and a set of "campus" or "access" networks. In the NSF model, midlevel networks attach to the backbone and campus networks attach to the mid-level nets. Each researcher had a connection from their computer to the local campus network. They used that single connection to communicate with local researchers' computers across the local campus net, and with other researchers further away. The campus network routed traffic across local nets to one of the mid-level networks, which routed it across the backbone as needed.