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Horizon 2020: H2020-SGA-INFRA-GEANT-2018 Topic [b] Increase of Long-Term Backbone Capacity

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GN4-3N (Horizon 2020: H2020-SGA-INFRA-GEANT-2018 Topic [b] Increase of Long-Term Backbone Capacity)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-08-31

GÉANT is undertaking the most significant refresh of the GÉANT network in a decade, with a major project designed to support the needs of Europe's research and education community for the next 15 years.
The GÉANT network project (GN4-3N) is an ambitious restructuring of the backbone network operated by GÉANT in order to provide an equivalent network experience for all partners.
The work of GN4-3N will deliver unconstrained access at higher minimum capacity thresholds, highest levels of security across the network, and equal access to clouds and other services in the European Research Area and beyond. It will also increase network footprint, future-proof connection speeds and stimulate the market in cross-border communications infrastructure while decreasing the digital divide.
The GN4-3N project will greatly improve the underlying infrastructure of the fibre and optical system, with the fibre network extended well beyond its current reach. This will involve restructuring the GÉANT backbone network through exploration and procurement of long-term Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRUs), leased lines and associated equipment, serving the GÉANT partner NRENs and providing interconnectivity to the global research and education community. Please see connect.geant.org and network.geant.org for regular updates.
At the end of Period 2 of GN4-3N, all three deliverables and three milestones have been completed.

Key achievements during Period 2 (1 May 2020 to 31 August 2021), include:
• Seventeen dark fibre routes have been handed over to GÉANT from commercial providers and NRENs.
• Fourteen routes have been fully deployed by Infinera with end-to-end testing completed.
• Two routes are currently being deployed by Infinera.
• Seven routes are currently in the connectivity delivery phase.
• Ten routes are in the response evaluation or contract finalisation stage.
• Four routes have been accepted as operational by the GÉANT OC, and are now in the production network.
• Two existing leased line services have been ceased following migration of traffic on to the new production routes delivered by the GN4-3N project
• A total of 187 new Infinera nodes have been deployed.
• 10,578km of new dark fibre has been lit with new Infinera OLS equipment.

Key achievements completed to date on the GN4-3N project include:

Procurement:
• Open Line System (OLS) procurement activities concluded and a Framework Agreement was signed with Infinera on 25 May 2020. Framework Agreements with Nokia, Ciena and ECI are currently being finalised for use by NRENs to take advantage of the detailed OLS procurement completed for GN4-3N.
• Following successful establishment of the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for connectivity procurement, the DPS has now been used to manage the tender process for 9 GN4-3N procurement tenders covering dark fibre services across 30 routes.

Implementation and Transition:
• Recruitment of a dedicated GN4-3N Programme Manager (April 2019), Implementation Manager (October 2019) and Project Assistant (February 2021).
• Detailed activity planning set up in multiple GÉANT systems, including: Jira, Confluence and Smartsheet to accommodate the new components.
• Weekly progress delivery review calls set up with Infinera and all contracted connectivity providers (commercial and NRENs) to track activities related to the network build in the Iberian Peninsula and Western Europe.
• Infinera equipment has been deployed in the new GÉANT Test Lab in Cambridge UK, and integration/acceptance testing completed.
• Full GÉANT acceptance of dark fibre and associated deployed Infinera hardware on 12 new fibre routes and partial deployment completed on 5 dark fibre and 1 spectrum route. These routes cover the Iberian Peninsula and most of the original Western European core network.
• Completion of operational acceptance and moving into production service the first four dark fibre routes in the Iberian Peninsula to allow the following:
○ Ceasing the existing leased services between Lisbon–London and Madrid–Paris.
○ Migration of the second FCCN Access Point (AP) from Lisbon to the new MX-480 router installed in the newly integrated GÉANT PoP site in Porto.

Outlook:
• Although COVID-19 restrictions delayed the start of deployment in the Iberian Peninsula by approximately 3 months, the target revised at the end of Period 1 to complete the line-up of the four new routes in the Iberian Peninsula by the end of 2020 was met.
• Whilst a plan is in place to deploy all of the originally planned routes from the GN4-3N Reference Network, any reintroduction of lockdown restrictions will cause delays if route deployments are planned to take place in areas where restrictions are re-imposed. GÉANT has no control over this and any mitigating actions are limited.
• The COVID-19 situation across the EC has improved but is still being closely monitored by the GN4-3N Project team and Infinera. A knock-on effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the global semiconductor shortage that has impacted many sectors, including telecommunications. Infinera lead times for some hardware modules have increased from 10-12 weeks to between 20 and 25 weeks. This delay has had to be taken into account with the most recent Call-Off Contracts, and will be closely monitored over the remaining Call-Off Contracts to be agreed.

There are also ongoing activities required to ensure project progress, including:
• Constant dialogue with commercial providers and NRENs to fine-tune and further improve the proposed new network design in terms of costs and technical solution. The final regional enhancement routes being investigated rely on funding being available from the network build budget, taking into account costs to build the Reference Network that has been agreed with NIAC.
• Detailed review of financial reports and budget allocations to support the level of financial project tracking required.
• Detailed implementation planning is being completed on an ongoing basis now that Infinera have been awarded the OLS contract to build the new GN4-3N network.
• Internal bi-weekly project review meetings have been held to track progress and issues from design through to procurement. The GN4-3N project team hold regular progress review meetings with these suppliers.
The GÉANT infrastructure is at the forefront of state-of-the-art research networking, and provides access to its infrastructure to the NRENs and through them to reach more than 50 million research and education users. The engineering principles are based on the highest capacity in optical fibres and on advanced multi-domain services, including authentication and authorisation.

The work will address the digital divide through the extension of the optical backbone network undertaken in GN4-3N, as well as infrastructure sharing with NRENs when suitable and financially possible. Service and support availability will be extended to the new parts of the GÉANT service area. The proven cost sharing mechanisms used throughout the project will be adapted to equality of access to e-infrastructure services across the whole of the end-user community. Nearly all research and innovation activities involving the European research community rely on the GÉANT network, its high speed, security and availability, as well as its exceptional international connectivity (in conjunction with GN4-3, WP7).
IMPACT website
CONNECT website
CONNECT magazine
GÉANT NETWORK website
Network Infrastructure Advisory Committee