What providers does MOREnet connect to?
MOREnet currently has two Internet providers: Qwest and Sprint. We have two OC12s (622Mbps) from each provider, one in St. Louis and one in Kansas City. Two of the providers offer tiered pricing so we are using only a part of their circuits at present. MOREnet also has an OC3 to the Great Plains Network through which we get our Internet2 access.
What is Internet2?
Internet2 is a high-speed research network. It was originally intended to connect together colleges, universities, and government institutions whose research would benefit from fast connections. More recently it has been opened up to other colleges, schools and libraries on a trial basis. Although many of its links are very fast, its primary advantage over the commodity Internet is that it isn't congested. Commercial sites like Yahoo! and Ebay aren't allowed to connect so the bandwidth is reserved for the education and research communities.
What is BGP?
BGP, or the Border Gateway Protocol, is used between the network providers on the Internet to share routing information. If a provider has an IP network it wants others to reach it advertises the network to the other providers it connects to via BGP (its neighbors). These providers advertise the network to their neighbors and so on. Every route announcement contains the AS Number (see below) of each provider that has re-advertised it, in order. Because a router may have several different announcements for the same network from different neighbors it chooses the best route based on the number of AS numbers or "hops" in each announcement. BGP has a number of features to limit and control how routing information is propagated so that complex policies can be implemented.
What is an Autonomous System?
When speaking about BGP an AS or Autonomous System is a term used to refer to a network or set of networks under one administrative jurisdiction. Each AS is assigned a unique number (from 1 to 65000) to identify itself within the BGP protocol.
What is the difference between eBGP and iBGP?
eBGP is used to speak between two providers in different autonomous systems (AS) and is pretty much what was described above. iBGP is used within a single AS to share routes around. It is only necessary if there is more than one router in the AS with external connectivity (which is common). It is necessary to have full BGP information at each router in the AS that is connected to more than one other router.