In this clip I'm gonna give an overview about networks that are used to support the global research and education programs. First, I want to make sure we have some common terminology. In this community, we refer to R&E as shorthand for research and education. Research and education networks are often referred to as RENs, national research and education networks are often referred to as NRENs. Globally, the connectivity between RENs is quite complex. RENs require different characteristics than the commercial Internet. RENs are high speed and uncongested, they're low latency and typically operate as open networks with no filtering. Think about them as a dedicated superhighway system between universities and research institutes to speed that traffic, while the commercial internet runs on standard streets with lots of traffic jams. As we look at the REN ecosystem I like to think of it as a layered model with global connections, regional networks, national networks, and at the bottom campus networks. Think of it as a pyramid with global connections at the top and campus networks at the bottom. First let's look at the global connections. The global connections are long expensive circuits that cross oceans to connect national and regional networks together. These circuits are not always well coordinated and often have inconsistent routing policies. Let's take a look at the few maps showing several different perspectives of global REN connectivity. This is a view of U.S. global connectivity, and the European view. I would point out that this map shows not only the global connectivity, but is color coded to show which countries have operating NRENs in darker color and the countries that have no operating NREN are shown in lighter colors. And finally the Asian Pacific view of global connections. I should point out that these maps show mostly the same circuits, but each brings some views and focus of the region, for example this map doesn't even show South America or Africa. Now let's talk about regional networks. The regional networks are networks that connect the national research and education networks in a specific geographic region. Many of these regional networks have been developed with funding from the European Union. There are quite a number of regional RENs let's look at just a few of them. This is GÃANT, the pan-european network that serves most of the countries in Europe. And this is TEIN, that serves much of Asia along with Australia and New Zealand. And RedClara that serves South and Central America. Moving down a layer we'll look at national networks. NRENs are networks in a specific country that serves the various entities within that country. often they will be colleges, universities, research labs, and other entities associated with research or education. These NRENs are often started by and hosted at a prestigious university within that country. And finally let's talk about the campus network. The campus network plays a key role in this ecosystem, it is the portion of the ecosystem that provides connectivity to the actual users. No student, instructor, or researcher, is connected to the national, regional, or global network, they are all connected to the campus network. If the campus network is deficient, then the user experiences poor service. The community spends literally billions of dollars per year on the global, regional, and national networks, but without good campus networks that investment is not effective. The campus network really is the foundation that the entire ecosystem depends on to support an effective research and education system. As we've worked around the world we find that many campus networks are not properly structured, and make heavy use of firewalls and NAT devices that severely limit performance. Many campus networks are built with unmanaged network hardware that don't allow monitoring and management of the campus network. Other issues we found is that campus networks have grown over time without thought to the overall architecture, and are often built with older fiber-optic cable that is incapable of supporting anything more than 100 megabits. We do believe that campus networks warrant significant attention and investments due to how important they are to the entire ecosystem.
© Produced by Philip Smith and the Network Startup Resource Center, through the University of Oregon.
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