(Editor’s note: The Broadband Report is a regular feature in WRAL TechWire.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Internet2 Global Summit keeps getting bigger and better.

This is the second year the nation’s largest networking group has hosted the event. The 2015 Internet2 Global Summit is being held through Thursday at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel.

Building on the success of the 2014 event, the theme for this year is “Community: Leading the Way.”

The Global Summit is Internet2’s annual meeting that showcases how the research and education (R&E) community is transforming the way networking is conceived and conducted. The 2015 meeting will focus on the advancement of research and education capabilities through collaborative innovations in IT infrastructure and applications.

Once again, the 2015 Internet2 Global Summit will feature keynote addresses from top R&E leaders, presentations from noted experts, and sessions focused on partnerships and advanced technologies.

From North Carolina, Mark Johnson, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Data Architecture, and Mark Scheible, Senior Lead IAM Solutions Architect, both from MCNC, will be hosting a session on effectively scaling federated identity management (FIM).

Think of FIM as an ATM machine. Thousands of banks are federated with millions of users. The ATM card is the login, and the password is the Personal Identification Number (PIN) maintained by the user’s home institution, or bank. Other institutions give access to remote users based on trusting the login and password.

As a result of ongoing work by InCommon, The Quilt, and several regional networks, InCommon and MCNC are conducting a new pilot that will allow K-12 and community colleges to join the InCommon Federation through a regional network. The presentation will focus on the latest details of the pilot.

MCNC organized and facilitated an FIM Task Force in 2007 to look at FIM for K-20 education in North Carolina and how participants could take advantage of the high-bandwidth backbone on MCNC’s network, the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). The pilot concluded in December 2009 and a report was published on the NCTrust website, where it was determined that K-12 school districts and community colleges for the most part did not have the resources to support Federated Identity Management and the running of an Identity Provider.

In October 2013, eight states were selected to pilot new online tools to help higher education, community colleges, and K-12 school districts find better and more effective FIM solutions.

So, why is federation a good thing?

According Johnson, FIM enables delivery of new types of services at the national, state and regional level, accelerates implementation of new services, enables cost sharing, and it fits with international and cross-sector trends to create an access management “network.”

“We’ve been working on a revised business model with inCommon so it will scale well for smaller institutions,” he commented. “MCNC will be one of the first to do this and to scale it so these institutions can get access to key technologies available today as well as take full advantage of cloud-based services.”

Many North Carolina institutions desire this kind of access to remote and protected web-based services. But, it has to be efficient, cost-effective, quick, secure and user friendly.

FIM technologies enable such access on the internet. The InCommon federated ID system is designed around university members building a chain of “trust,” which is inexpensive for a university to participate. However, the cost escalates to a unsustainable levels for a state school system with possibly hundreds of districts.

North Carolina is being joined by Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin in the program.

Mark Schieble also will be participating on a panel discussion the Internet2 Global Summit 2015 on scaling federation services called “Be A Hero: Enable and Maximize The Value of Identity Federation,” which is set for Tuesday. Both Mark Johnson and Schieble will be leading the “InCommon/Quilt Pilot BOF” presentation on Wednesday morning.

The national trade association working with R&E networks across the country is The Quilt. The Quilt also will lead a panel discussion on Wednesday geared towards R&E networks on Advanced Networking: Regional Collaboration Through its Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Infrastructure, Innovation and Engineering (CC*IIE) program.

The National Science Foundation funded five R&E networks for regional collaboration projects. These projects will disseminate information regarding advanced networking techniques, build bridges to distributed science communities, and share insights into technology options that can be tailored to solve advanced networking challenges faced by science collaborators and projects. This session will be available live online via Netcast.

Regional network representatives will showcase several of these innovative projects to demonstrate the key role of the regional networks in fostering collaboration among member institutions.

The Internet2 Global Summit this week is the premier showcase for what’s on the horizon for advanced networking in research and education. In addition, Internet2 Network Services will give updates on efforts related to operational excellence, planning for the next iteration of the Internet2 Network, and a new security effort.

Most, if not all, plenary sessions will be available through live streaming online.