Advanced American and European research and education networks linked by Internet2 and Dante

Cambridge 08 October 1999Dante and Internet2 have connected high-performance research and education backbone networks across the Atlantic Ocean. Peering between Abilene, an Internet2 backbone network, and TEN-155, the pan-European research network, will enable collaboration among researchers and educators in the United States and in Europe in ways not possible on today's commercial Internet. The interconnection will operate at 45 megabits per second, or nearly 1000 times faster than a typical modem.


Interoperable next generation Internet technologies and tools will allow collaborations between United States researchers and researchers in Europe across research networks today, and will promote the rapid transfer of these new capabilities to the commercial Internet. The new relationship between Internet2 and Dante and the interconnection of the networks will help ensure that interoperability, according to Douglas E. Van Houweling, President and Chief Executive Officer of UCAID, the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, and home of the Internet2 and Abilene projects.

The current collaborative research applications require high-performance networks. These networks exist in Europe and in the US. Connecting the networks is a major step forward for the cooperation between researchers on the two continents, as stated by Dai Davies, General Manager of Dante. The newly established interconnection between Abilene and TEN-155 builds on the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) which UCAID has signed with Dante and a number of its European partners, such as the national research networks of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.

The MoU between Dante and UCAID provides for the application of the interconnection by European research networks which use Dante's Europe US service. The MoU equally encourages collaboration between member institutions, promotion of technology transfer from the joint endeavours to industry, and collaboration in developing common standards and technical implementations. It will enable European and US institutions to work closely together to address network application issues of common interest.

The pan-European research network TEN-155 interconnects the research networks of 21 European countries. The TEN-155 network is co-funded by the European Commission and is the direct result of the Quantum project. In addition to the provision of a "best efforts" IP service, TEN-155 provides the European research community with an end-to-end Managed Bandwidth Service, giving researchers across Europe dedicated connectivity for advanced application developments. TEN-155 also supports the Quantum Test Programme which experiments with and validates future networking technologies.

The TEN-155 network is planned, built and organised by Dante, Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe, a not-for-profit company which has a number of European research networks as its shareholders. The Internet2 project is being led by over 160 leading US universities, working with industry and government, to enable and facilitate the advanced network applications necessary to meet emerging needs in higher education. The Internet2 participants are developing broadband applications, engineering and network management tools for research and education.

The Abilene network is a project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), home of the Internet2 project. In partnership with Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and Indiana University, UCAID is deploying Abilene as the most advanced and far-reaching research and education network in the United States. A primary goal of Abilene is to support the efforts of the Internet2 project. Operations began in February 1999, with over 70 Internet2 institutions planning to connect by the end of 1999.

VMW readers who want to jump on the fast-moving train of information about cross-border and intercontinental networking, can consult the following selection of VMW articles, to get an overview of the most recent developments:

For more news about the American and European networking initiatives, you can of course also consult the respective home pages: for TEN-155, please see the Dante Web site; for Internet2 and Abilene, the Web site of the Internet2 project is the place to be.

Leslie Versweyveld

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