Federal program funds network security testbed

A technology research company has been awarded a contract to build out a large-scale network testbed that will support a national Internet security research program.

McAfee Research, the technology research division of Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., was awarded subcontracts by the University of California at Berkeley and Pennsylvania State University. The work is part of a $10.8 million program funded by the National Science Foundation and the Homeland Security Department.

'The primary goal is to put network security research on a firm scientific footing,' said Joe Evans, NSF program director.

The work is part of two companion efforts. The Cyber Defense Technology Experimental Research network is providing the physical infrastructure for researchers and the Evaluation Methods for Internet Security Technology is developing research protocols to produce measurable, repeatable scientific results.

The infrastructure will mimic the Internet, with as many as 1,000 nodes in three arrays spread across the country.

'We're ramping up nodes as we speak,' said Stephen Schwab, senior research scientist at McAfee Research.

The first array of 64 nodes has been established at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute in Los Angeles. Additional arrays will be set up at UC Berkeley and at the Information Sciences Institute East facility in Arlington, Va.

Each node is a PC, which can represent an individual machine, or a subnet or other network component. PCs will be connected with a 4-Gbps interface to Series 5000 gigabit switches from Cisco Systems Inc. The arrays will be linked by secure 1-Gbps tunnels.

'We have the capability of throwing a lot of scenarios at this beast,' Schwab said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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