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THE CUTTING EDGE | HEARD ON THE BEAT

Net Maintenance

September 22, 1997|KAREN KAPLAN

Rest assured, someone is watching over the Internet.

Although its diffuse nature is one of the Net's greatest strengths, it also makes it difficult for anybody to monitor the health of the overall network.

Stepping into the void is the Cooperative Assn. for Internet Data Analysis, or CAIDA, an offshoot of the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research at UC San Diego. Last week, CAIDA won a $3.1-million seed grant from the National Science Foundation, which will allow the association to operate as an independent entity.

Since its early stirrings in 1996, CAIDA has focused on promoting greater cooperation in the engineering and maintenance of the Internet's infrastructure. The organization plans to aid in developing advanced networking technologies and perform tests to evaluate them. The drive to make CAIDA a separate entity began in earnest this spring.

"There's not a great deal of motivation within individual Internet service providers to do research or testing that moves the global Internet forward," said Tracie Monk, CAIDA's director of external affairs. "We're providing a vehicle that can cooperatively move forward on research and testing and deployment of new technologies and products and tools."

Those same concerns prompted the National Science Foundation to give CAIDA a boost. The Internet "could start to get dysfunctional if someone isn't paying attention to the kinds of problems that require cooperation to be solved," said David Staudt, a program officer in the foundation's Internet infrastructure program. "This is an attempt to provide the information that helps make the Internet run more smoothly."

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