"The network is the computer." Once a cliché, this statement has taken on a greater sense of reality as ubiquitous computing and the power of the Internet enter a new era.
The network infrastructure must be flexible, highly reliable and available, and capable of meeting current as well as future requirements without extensive overhaul. The challenge is to provide high-speed connectivity for research and advanced network applications while meeting the day-to-day requirements of general users and protecting networked resources from intrusions. At the same time, it is clear that a base level of connectivity has to be established along with standards for protocols, address management, system configuration settings, cabling, and network usage. An effective networked computing environment is comprised of the following major components: