NSFNET Visualization

Images and animations at multiple resolutions

NSFNET T1 Backbone and Regional Networks, 1991


This image is a visualization study of inbound traffic measured in billions of bytes on the NSFNET T1 backbone for the month of September 1991. The traffic volume range is depicted from purple (zero bytes) to white (100 billion bytes). It represents data collected by Merit Network, Inc.


Visualization by Donna Cox & Robert Patterson,

National Center for Supercomputing Applications,

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

NSFNET Sept 91 jpeg at 1280x960 resolution

NSFNET Sept 91 jpeg at 3631x2732 resolution


NSFNET Sept 91 tiff at 3631x2732 resolution






ANS/NSFNET T3 Backbone and Client Networks, 1994


This image represents byte traffic into the ANS/NSFNET T3 backbone from its client networks for the month of December '94. The virtual connections, colored by traffic level, visualize traffic statistics collected by Merit Network Incorporated.  December marks the last heavy usage month prior to the NSFNET's decommissioning in April of '95.  Backbone service has now transitioned to a number of commercial carriers.


ANS/NSFNET Dec. 94 image at 1280x963 resolution

ANS/NSFNET Dec. 94 image at 3992x3002 resolution



A view from 45 degrees with US geometry

ANS/NSFNET Dec. 94 image at 1280x938 resolution

ANS/NSFNET Dec. 94 image at 4096x3002 resolution



NSFNET 60 second animation (1992)

NSFNET Backbone evolves from 1986 to its topology in 1992

A visualization of byte traffic into the backbone over a two year period

Fade up international connections representing byte traffic into the US

Ending with a global view of international collaboration


Recommendation: download the movie first, then play, option click on a mac to save link to disk, or right click on a pc to save link to disk

Quicktime format looks better than mpeg, but they are larger


640 resolution nsfnet animation:

Quicktime format at 121 megs

Mpeg format at 48 megs


864 resolution nsfnet animation:

Quicktime format at 302 megs

Mpeg format at 75 megs