Internet2: A Faster Internet for Live Streaming and Music Education

As online connoisseurs we are familiar with the public face of the Internet, a digital space we frequent often in both our personal and professional lives. We think less about the back end of the network, the underbelly where the data is accessed – unless we’re involved in infrastructure support. Now imagine a front-facing network akin to the Internet, except exclusive in access. That’s Internet2, which exists to streamline network access for entities with a commitment to research and education. 

What is Internet2?

Developed in 1996 and incorporated as a nonprofit the following year, Internet2 was created by university researchers to ensure that they could continue to conduct research on a secure platform at lightning speed after Internet1 became privatized. Internet2 provides IP-based hybrid optical network services to its members for the sole purpose of research and education. The network routes to major city hubs as seen in the organization’s network map. Internet2 also provides resources for network performance, security, and identity management, maintaining that its members should be focusing on “the research itself, rather than the provision of infrastructure.”

Who are its members?

Internet2’s philosophy is that its members contribute to creating and maintaining a collaborative, dynamic environment that facilitates cutting-edge research in addition to pursuing their own independent research advancements. Internet2 classifies membership in five categories: higher education, affiliate, industry, research and education networks, and federal affiliate. The majority of its members, as can be seen below, are universities, but also include other groups such as non profits and education networks. In order to broaden access, Internet2’s state-funded Community Anchor Program allows non-member institutions such as public libraries, schools, and institutions to access Internet2 services through Internet2 members.


What is Internet2’s utility to conservatories?

Although a high volume of the research conducted through Internet2 is scientific, Internet2 can be highly valuable to music organizations through live streaming of performances, master classes, and online auditions. In 2007 Philadelphia Orchestra was the first orchestra to use Internet2 to livestream a performance to large screen venues. New World Symphony and conservatories across the country have been using its one gigabit per second and faster streaming to conduct master classes with acclaimed musicians who are thousands of miles away with no lag time. New World Symphony has even used the technology to bring in guest conductors from different countries. The result is unrivalled professional development for musicians at participating institutions, who are seamlessly connected to some of the best musicians in the world for their career development and educational benefit. Of the 319 university members of Internet2, 257 offer music performance degrees or majors and have Internet2 capabilities, which can supplement their students’ music curriculum.

How does the streaming work?

Through application management, Internet2’s Arts and Humanities Initiative serves to facilitate the effective functioning of streaming for live performances, master classes, and auditions. The Initiative utilizes low latency audio and videoconferencing technology (LOLA) through Internet2’s 100 gigabit Innovation Platform, which facilitates more effective network services for members. LOLA allows musicians to connect across vast distances in real time. Internet2 is fast, stable, and accurate enough a network to support LOLA.

Which conservatories are using this technology regularly?

Perhaps most extensive is New World Symphony and Manhattan School of Music’s utilization of Internet2 for streaming purposes. Internet2 streaming at Eastman School of Music and Colorado University Boulder has also been noted. A forthcoming AMT Lab report will detail Internet2 affiliate and university members using Internet2 for music education purposes. Symphonies and other musical performing organizations may be eligible to access Internet2 and stream via LOLA by partnering with regional institutions through the Community Anchor Program.

What is the cost?

Members must pay an annual fee to Internet2 for use of the network. For universities, this fee is called a Sustaining Contribution and is calculated according to a scale model influenced by, most notably, R&D expenses and annual expenses. This year this figure is set at a minimum of $11,800 not to exceed $97,500. Affiliate members pay according to level of membership, the lowest being $4,456 and the highest fee set at $26,570. Research and education networks pay a base fee of $13,765 each year to participate.


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“Internet2 Network Infrastruture Topology.” Internet2. July 2018.

“Internet2 Will Bring Philadelphia Orchestra Performance To CU-Boulder’s ATLAS Building Oct. 12.” CU Boulder Today. October 3, 2007.

“LOLA: LOw LAtency Audio Visual Streaming System.” Powerpoint, Conservatoria di musica Guiseppe Tartini and Consortium GARR.

“Membership.” Internet2.

Midgette, Anne. “MUSIC; Classical Finally Cracks the Internet.” The New York Times. May 23, 2004.

“Network Fees.” Internet2.

Orto, Christianne. “Video Conferencing for Music Performance Education at the Manhattan School, Exclusively Online.” January 5, 2004.

“Philadelphia Orchestra’s Global Concert Series continues on February 22.” The Philadelphia Orchestra. February 15, 2008.

“Research Solutions.” Internet2.

“Scale-based Fee Model for Internet2 Higher Education Members.” Internet2. September 19, 2018.