Collaboration is Driving Research and Education Networks around the Globe
Can you name the organizations that transport petabytes of scientific data on a daily basis throughout the world?
If you answered, Research and Education Networks (RENs), congratulations! These pivotal organizations may not get much publicity, but they are at the cutting edge of networking technology and play an essential role in supporting the research and innovation communities tackling the world’s most challenging problems.
Working in close collaboration with our valued Go-to-market partners, we are delivering on the toughest networking demands of REN institutions. Nokia high-performance networking technologies, combined with the integration and deployment expertise of our partners, are helping RENs do what they do best.
Getting to know RENs and their unique requirements
Oftentimes, RENs are funded or affiliated with large government organizations. They connect scores of academic research institutions to each other across a nation and they collaborate and connect to other research facilities around the world. They work to fulfill the data communications, networking, application, and e-services needs of these institutions, and in doing so, strengthen the bonds connecting the research community worldwide.
What does this really mean? Think of the massive amounts of data collected and shared by scientists studying everything from the human immune system to climate change, to our galaxy – and others beyond ours. Sharing data amongst researchers and innovators is imperative to making the advancements that someday may cure diseases, solve environmental challenges, and make new discoveries that change our lives for the better.
RENs are both conduits of information and generators of beneficial innovation. For example, the U.S. Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) not only connects laboratories and academic institutions across the United States, but also has been named a Top Government IT Innovator several times by InformationWeek Government magazine. For these reasons, it is universally understood that RENs are essential to the economic and social vitality of the nations they serve.
This highly collaborative sharing of massive data sets across thousands of miles requires a very powerful, reliable, and secure network. Satisfying the network needs of RENs is no small feat. Besides bandwidth and QoS, their operations need the highest levels of:
Security. Because research data integrity is essential and much REN research is conducted on behalf of essential government organizations, stringent security measures are required. A REN must be built and managed to withstand the onslaught of volumetric DDoS attacks generated by today’s botnets, as well as those that could come next from Quantum security threats.
Reliability and availability. Massive data transfers can take hours to transmit from one institution to another. A network or link failure would require retransmission of these massive data sets, putting vital research on hold. That’s why RENs require built-in redundancy and rapid restoration to ensure maximum network reliability and service availability. And that’s not all. In addition to L2/L3 VPN connectivity, oftentimes RENs provide a broad range of services to their local communities, providing trust and identity, to network security, to broadband access and cloud services. RENs have proven in the last few years to be a vital partner in addressing the digital divide in the communities where they operate. Each of these network services provided require differentiated levels of QoS and the network must be able to ensure individual deterministic performance under the most congested conditions.
Working in close collaboration with its valued partners, Nokia’s high-performance networking technologies have succeeded in meeting these stringent requirements. Some of Nokia’s global REN customers currently include the prestigious ESnet in the US, CANARIE in Canada, FCCN in Portugal, Sikt in Norway, Aconet in Austria, and with GÉANT in the Netherlands.
Nokia takes on a GÉANT project
The most recent addition to Nokia’s list of REN customers is GÉANT. In the REN world, regional RENs are the most demanding of all. Regional RENs link national RENs across continents and around the globe. And among regional RENs, GÉANT is a giant.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, GÉANT interconnects 40 national RENs in 27 European countries, and links 50 million users and institutions to more than 100 additional RENs in every region of the world. The GÉANT network carries more than 7 petabytes of data daily.
So, when GÉANT determined it was time to upgrade the capabilities of its massive IP backbone network, it required the collaboration of Nokia and its go-to-market Value-Added Reseller (VAR) partner Nomios working at the cutting edge of networking technology.
A tall order
Over the past five years, REN networks across the globe have experienced 30 percent traffic growth each year. This trend is driven by a proliferation of instruments such as telescopes, sensors, and detectors that gather more data with greater precision, sensitivity, and speed. At the same time, supercomputers process vast volumes of data, analyzing and validating findings. To ensure effective collaboration among allied institutions, that data must be transferred rapidly, reliably, securely, and cost-effectively.
Collaboration is essential. Collaboration with our customers and partners runs deep, not only because we take our role seriously in providing and supporting the world’s most advanced networking technologies, but like our innovation- and research-driven customers, we too speak the same language. Nokia Bell Labs has long been at the forefront of research and development for the communications industry, working with these esteemed institutions over many decades as we look to harness the exponential potential of the network to advance our world.
The expertise of our Go-to-market partners and Nokia’s leading-edge technology help deliver world-class networks that meet the massive – and growing – bandwidth, QoS, security, and reliability requirements of RENs across the globe.