AURORA is one of five US testbeds charged with exploring applications of, and technologies necessary for, networks operating at gigabit per second or higher bandwidths. The authors provide an overview of the goals and methodologies employed in AURORA and report preliminary results from the first year of research. AURORA is an experiment in collaboration, where government support has spurred interaction among centers of excellence in industry, academia, and government. The emphasis of the AURORA testbed is research into the supporting technologies for gigabit networking. The targets include new software architectures, network abstractions, hardware technologies, and applications. The AURORA testbed will provide a platform in which researchers can explore business and scientific applications of gigabit networks, while evolving the network architecture to meet the needs of these emerging applications.