European NRENs Establish 'Bandwidth-On-Demand'

July 11, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, England -- A major milestone has been accomplished by the European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), where for the first time a user-requested high speed circuit has been set up dynamically between Ireland and Greece. This concept, known as "Bandwidth-on-Demand" allows users to request network capacity according to their needs.

The recent demonstration involved the dynamic establishment of a dedicated end-to-end 1 Gigabit Ethernet circuit between two end-user workstations. The circuit was set up within minutes and spanned the infrastructure of: GRNET, the Greek NREN; the pan-European network GEANT2; and the Irish NREN, HEAnet. In the trial, two workstations were interconnected through the circuit, offering a data transmission speed 1,000 times faster than a commercial 1 Mbps ASDL line for the transmission of high-resolution video. The circuit was also released in a dynamic manner.

Afrodite Sevasti of GRNET, and leader of the research activity, said, "We have demonstrated that it is possible for a network user to request their own bandwidth. We'd now like to expand our work within the research networking community to collect user feedback and further our research. We are already working closely with our U.S. counterparts at Internet2 and ESNet to extend the possibilities beyond Europe."

The recent demonstration is the result of research into a novel communication networks' service architecture, tailored to the needs of the multi-domain, multi-technology pan-European Research and Education community. Known as the "AutoBAHN" (Automated Bandwidth Allocation across Heterogeneous Networks) architecture, it allows authorized end-users to directly access network resources from their workstation, wherever it is located in Europe. This is achieved by setting up on-demand dedicated circuits spanning multiple countries, and multiple networks, administered by different entities and using different technologies.

In contrast to general Internet principles, where the user is implicitly connected through his workstation to any other far end point around the world -- without any control of the capacity and quality of his communication -- the AutoBAHN concept allows an authorized user to explicitly define the destination of his data and the speed and quality used for this transmission. The service can be offered upon demand, subject to the availability of resources. Similar services have been offered by the telecommunications industry for some time now, but AutoBAHN focuses on end-user control and ease-of-use with simple Web-based user interfaces.

To make the demonstration possible, a group of GEANT2 project participants worked intensively for two months and in collaboration with the network administrators of GRNET, GEANT2 and HEAnet. Any network wishing to join the group of AutoBAHN-enabled networks has to operate the AutoBAHN system and declare through it its capabilities to support user requests for originating, transiting or terminating dedicated capacity circuits.


About GEANT2
GEANT2 delivers the next generation research and education network for Europe. With over 30 million research and education users in 34 countries across the continent, GEANT2 offers unrivaled geographical coverage, high bandwidth, innovative hybrid networking technology and a range of user-focused services. Its network footprint maps more than 50,000 kilometers and its extensive geographical reach interconnects with other world regions, enabling global research collaboration. GEANT2 is co-funded by the European Commission under the Sixth Research and Development Framework Programme. The project partners are 30 European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), TERENA and DANTE.

The Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET) supports the research and development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) within Greece and internationally, through the provision of its high-capacity networking and grid computing infrastructure, and the strengthening of e-Learning and e-Business practices, as well as the participation in international research and education efforts. The gigabit GRNET2 network, with its Virtual NOC supportive scheme, connects at a national level 27 universities, 15 technical universities, 33 research institutions and 12,673 schools to the GEANT2 network. GRNET operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Development and is supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Development.

About HEAnet
HEAnet is Ireland's National Education and Research Network, providing high-quality Internet services to students and staff in Irish universities, institutes of technology, and other educational and research organizations. It provides a high-speed national network with direct connectivity for its community to other networks in Ireland, Europe, the United States and the rest of the world. Established in 1984 by the seven major universities with the support of the Higher Education Authority to promote the interchange of information electronically within third level education, it plays a critical role in establishing Ireland as a global center of excellence in Internet activity.

About AutoBAHN
Apart from GRNET and HEAnet, the group developing AutoBAHN consists of members from the NRENs CARnet (Croatia), CESNET (Czech Republic), DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe Ltd, an international data network operator also managing the GEANT2 project), FCCN (Portugal), GARR (Italy), HUNGARNET (Hungary), RedIRIS (Spain), PSNC (Poland), RENATER (France) and SURFnet (The Netherlands).

More information on Internet2

More information on ESnet


Source: DANTE