Unisource Belgium has been awarded a three year contract of 60 Mecu (2,4 milliard BEF) for the development of the major part of the Trans-European Network, referred to as TEN-155, by DANTE. This not-for-profit organization, which has been established in 1993 by a number of European national research networks, is responsible for the Delivery of Advanced Networking Technology to Europe. Unisource Belgium, which constitutes a joint venture between the Dutch KPN and Unisource, will offer "best efforts" Internet Protocol (IP) as well as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Managed Bandwidth services to the European research networks.
The new European research network, TEN-155, officially will be operable from December 1st 1998. In the months to come, the bandwidth capacities for researchers will be upgraded to 155 Mbps in eight European countries, namely Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Unisource Belgium will also provide all of DANTE's points of presence (POPs) in sixteen European countries with a Backbone service, managed by Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH), a world-wide standard for transmission of unlimited data capacity over fibre optical cables.
The remaining countries, which are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Spain, will be connected to the core at 34/45 Mbps whereas Luxembourg and Portugal will be equipped with 10 Mbps links. In addition, the TEN-155 network has been designed to extend services to the United States and the other continents. For the very first time after years of monopolistic telecommunications management by national companies, the liberalization of the European market allows the research communities at last to benefit from sufficient bandwidth capacity at affordable prices on a pan-European and international scale.
The migration from the current TEN-34 research network to its successor, the TEN-155, this autumn, will increase the average interconnectivity speed up to more than seven times. The project's network management will be centralized in the Netherlands through the pan-European SDH high speed network of KPN. In turn, Unisource Belgium will support DANTE in contacts with the public telephone operators. The recent deregulation of the European telecommunications market has lowered the TEN-155 connection rates, both in price setting and availability, with a factor from five to ten in comparison with those of the TEN-34 a year ago.
By 2001, the TEN-155 network will display a capacity of about 622 Mbps thanks to the scalability potential guaranteed by Unisource Belgium. For that purpose, the capacity will be doubled every six months. It seems the European research community soon will benefit from the optimum Quality of Service, offered by the advanced IP and ATM technologies, which have been combined in the new TEN-155 information highway. You can read more on the intercontinental TEN-155 ambitions, which are cherished by DANTE, in the VMW article: European research network hits the new TEN-155 highway at "Quantum" speed or consult the DANTE Web site.