Global Connectivity: International Collaboration

DICE strategic initiative on trans-Atlantic cooperation
NREN Twinning

DICE strategic initiative on trans-Atlantic cooperation
Around the globe, other multi-domain networking research networks use a diverse range of technologies, operational approaches and procedures within their own individual networking domains. The increasing interest in international research and education co-operation drives and supports the development of research networking services on a global scale. There is a need to deliver services and applications that can traverse these domains and provide a seamless networking experience to the user.

GÉANT is involved in finding networking solutions to facilitate this concept of “multi-domain” networking services both across Europe and on a global scale.

DICE is a strategic collaboration between European and North American Research and Education Networking partners. The main focus is on optimising trans-Atlantic networking operations for all research and education users and interest extends to the common development of network services. Europe is represented in the DICE collaboration through GÉANT. In North America the current partners are Internet2, ESnet, CANARIE and USLHCNet.

The DICE collaboration includes workshops and on-going collaboration in specific areas within the GÉANT research programme, where engineers work together to advance research for the benefit of all. The different areas of work for technical collaboration are:

  • General network operations
  • Joint transatlantic circuit planning , engineering and operations co-ordination
  • Implementation and monitoring of point-to-point circuits
  • Continued joint development of perfSONAR and IDC protocol (inter-domain controller) for dynamic circuit provisioning
  • Development of a general authentication and authorisation architecture

NREN Twinning
The FEAST Feasibility Study which prepared the roadmap for the AfricaConnect project also launched a twinning programme in which several European academic institutions and NRENs have agreed to support the implementation of the AfricaConnect initiative through twinning partnerships with their African counterparts, specifically in education and training. African NRENs are expected to benefit from their European NREN Twins in building and operating an NREN. The European NRENs are expected to benefit from the knowledge of their African Twin’s infrastructure as well as local commercial, technical and organisational models and challenges. This will enable the European NRENs to give appropriate support to institutions connected to their networks and cooperating with institutions in Africa (e.g. in the areas of medicine, climate research, etc.). In November 2009 KENET (Kenya) and DFN (Germany) signed a Memorandum of Understanding and became the first of the NREN-Twins.