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Connecting all European and South American Researchers
Phase 1

Extending the Boundaries of GÉANT
Click to enlarge Extending the Boundaries of GEANT

Extending the Boundaries of GÉANT


A global approach is necessary to build a true global cyber-infrastructure to underpin global e-science. Up to now, intercontinental connections have mostly been point-to-point, separately managed and they have been relatively slow. A series of initiatives and projects around GÉANT address the issue of providing a network infrastructure that enables European researchers to perform worldwide collaborative undertakings on all kinds of scientific topics.

The Commission has a coherent strategy for promoting the global perspective of Research Networking, through combinations of its research and international co-operation initiatives and budgets. The current initiatives are the result of a close co-operation between the Information Society and Media Directorate-General (IST Programme), the External Relations Directorate-General and the EuropeAid Co-ordination Office. There is also close co-operation with other international organisations (e.g. NATO Scientific Affairs Division, UNESCO) providing funds to establish research networking infrastructures in various countries.

It should be noted that these initiatives generally interconnect all the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of a particular geographical region with GÉANT, the European research networking backbone.

The Figure shows international links connecting GÉANT with other Research Networking in the world. Dotted lines represent initiatives that are still on the drawing board; full lines are already operational initiatives or interconnections where funding has been made available and the implementation is under way.

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Global Terabit Research and Education Network (GTREN)

The aim of this international co-operation initiative is to provide a unified global backbone interconnecting global network access points that provide peering within a country or region. GTREN aims to be a production network as a single autonomous system, which will span the different continents, governed and managed internationally in a light but efficient way. Initially, GTREN focuses on Europe, North America and Asia. In the longer run, GTREN aims to extend to other regions of the world (Australia, Africa, Latin America, Russia, Middle East, etc) and to provide greater capacity across its global core than many of the point-to-point links currently in place.

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North America

The first visible result of this action is the joint effort to provide transatlantic connectivity between Europe and North America. Currently 5Gbps dedicated to research and education purposes are provided by GÉANT, to be matched later by similar capacity provided by UCAID.

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Mediterranean Rim (EUMEDIS)

In February 1999, the European Commission approved a comprehensive regional MEDA initiative for development of the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society. The EUMEDIS (Euro-MEDiterranean Information Society) initiative aims to reduce the region's informational and technological gap vis-a-vis the neighbouring countries.

In the context of EUMEDIS, the EUMEDCONNECT project seeks to provide international connectivity that links the Mediterranean NREN's to GÉANT. By the beginning of 2003 an IP infrastructure should be in place.

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Latin America (@LIS)

The @LIS Interconnection initiative aims at increasing the interconnection between R&D communities of Latin America and Europe by providing them with the communications infrastructure needed to foster collaborative work. This is done through linking Latin American NREN's amongst themselves and to GÉANT.

CAESAR, a project launched in the context of the IST Programme, is helping to prepare the @LIS initiative. It will concentrate on analysing the demand for connectivity between Latin America and European researchers, including identifying latent demand. This will be complemented by a technical and commercial analysis of options for direct connection. An important element of CAESAR will be a review of the development plans of Latin American Research Networking.

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Asia (TEIN)

The link interconnecting Japan with GÉANT is provided by the Japanese Ministry of Education; currently this link is a 155Mbps link to SINET. Furthermore the ASEM III Conference (Seoul, October 2000) adopted the initiative to build the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) the. ASEM is an informal process of dialogue and co-operation bringing together the fifteen EU Member States and the European Commission, with ten Asian countries (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between our two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

The initial TEIN interconnection, provided by RENATER and KISDI (NRENs of France and Korea), is a 2Mbps link between Paris and Seoul which has been operational since the end of 2001. In response to a rapid saturation, the capacity was raised to 20 Mbps in March 2002. This link connects GÉANT to the Research Networking of the Asian ASEM countries.

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Research networking connectivity from Moscow to St. Petersburg and further on to Helsinki currently links Russian researchers to Europe. Additional connectivity will be available namely through the forthcoming NeDAP (Northern eDimension Action Plan), supported by a diverse set of funds from the European Union. NORDUNET, the regional network established amongst the European Nordic countries, is actively co-operating with Russian researchers to find better connectivity to the European Research Networking.

Links between NORDUNET and the NorthWestern Russian Research Networking are expected to reach 622 Mbps during 2002.

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Central Asia and Caucasia (Virtual Silk Highway)

The Virtual Silk Highway is a satellite-based interconnection of the Central Asian and Caucasian NRENs. This initiative is supported by the NATO Scientific Affairs Division and the co-ordinating partners are currently co-operating to ensure a better connectivity to GÉANT. A new project SPONGE is in the process of negotiation.

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Only some of the NRENs in the Balkan area are currently connected to GÉANT. In order to improve the available connectivity in the area the SEEREN project was proposed. SEEREN will look into the interconnection of the Balkan NRENs and their linkage to GÉANT. It is foreseen that the NRENs of the Balkan countries will be able to join GÉANT in the next Framework Programme (FP6).

Virtual Silk Highway
Total budget:
approx. €240 000 000
Funding from the EC:
approx. €110 000 000
Web sites:
International co-operation
National research and education networks
International networking
Global co-operation

Page maintained by: Antonella Karlson
Last updated: 25 | 11 | 2002

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