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IT Infrastructure to Support Science: An Introduction to Research and Education Networking. Dale Smith Network Startup Resource Center

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it infrastructure to support science an introduction to research and education networking

IT Infrastructure to Support Science:An Introduction to Research and Education Networking

Dale Smith

Network Startup Resource Center

This document is a result of work by the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC at This document may be freely copied, modified, and otherwise re-used on the condition that any re-use acknowledge the NSRC as the original source.

research and education networks
Research and Education Networks
  • Some Terminology
    • Research and Education = R&E
    • Research and Education Networks = REN
    • National REN = NREN
  • Think about an NREN as being a special Internet Service Provider focused on supporting Research and Education
  • Globally, the REN connectivity is very complex and very difficult to understand
ren characteristics
REN Characteristics
  • High bandwidth networks
    • Much higher speed than normal Internet
    • Provides a dedicated network so traffic does not compete with facebook, youtube, etc.
    • This dedicated network is like a separate road system that has very little traffic, so when you want to use it, it will always work without slowness.
    • Makes it easier to collaborate with scientists worldwide
ren ecosystem
REN Ecosystem
  • A layered model
    • Global Connectivity
    • Regional RENs
    • National Research and Education Networks
    • All users are connected at the campus network level
      • No scientist is connected directly to a National Network. They are all connected to campus or enterprise networks
global ren connections
Global REN Connections
  • Connect Regional or National networks together
  • Tend to be longer, more expensive circuits
  • Not always well coordinated
  • Routing policies often inconsistent
  • Always are peering networks
regional ren connections
Regional REN Connections
  • Connects RENs of individual countries within a geographic region
    • EUMedConnect (North Africa/Middle East)
    • TEIN4 (Asia)
    • CAREN (Central Asia)
    • GEANT (Europe)
    • RedCLARA (South & Central America)
    • AfricaConnect/Ubuntunet (West & Central Africa)
    • And others
rens support science
RENs Support Science
  • The US community has been working on developing a list of global large science activities
  • You can contribute your activity at
  • Contact at Internet2
    • Edward Moynihan <>
    • Jim Williams <>


Information: The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how galaxies have evolved since then, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. The dishes that will be used will create 10 times the current global Internet traffic and the aperture arrays could create 100 times the current global Internet traffic. The array will track young galaxies to identify how ‘dark matter’ behaves. It will also investigate the theory of relativity and also gravity.

Participants: South Africa (and neighboring countries), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, India (Associate member), USA, Brazil, France, Japan, Korea, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the UK.


Timeline: ranging from 2016 to 2024.

Budget: 1,500 million euros.

Location: Sites will be included in Australia and South

Africa. Headquarters located in Manchester, UK.



Information: One of the most well known international projects worldwide. It is a gigantic scientific instrument about 100m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. The instrument is a 27-kilometer ring of superconducting, super cooled magnets to boost these particles’ speed. Two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they are made to collide. The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum.

Participants: Facility is located on the Franco-Swiss border, a collaboration of 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries.

Timeline: Started on September 10th, 2008 and will operate for two months in 2013 and go shutdown for upgrades. Reopening planned for early 2015.

Budget: 7.5 billion euros.

Location: Near Geneva, Switzerland where it spans the border between Switzerland and France.




Information: The International Space Station is a collaboration that has been going on for many years. The International Space Station provides a ‘helping hand’ in the air for space stations nationwide. It takes a ton of manpower and networking power to operate from the ground. Each partner has the primary responsibility to manage and run the hardware it provides. The space station, including its large solar arrays, spans the area of a U.S. football field and weighs 924,739 pounds, not including visiting vehicles. Approximately 2.3 million lines of code and 52 computers control the system on the ISS. Eight miles of wire connects the electrical systems.

Participants: Involving NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Responsibilities of each involved member:

NASA: Establishes management policies and analyzes all phases of the space station program.

Roscosmos: Oversees all Russian human space flight activities.

CSA: Provides the resources, equipment, and expertise needed for the engineering and monitoring of the Mobile Servicing System as well as for crew training.

ESA: The largest site is located in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. More than 2,000 specialists develop most ESA projects here.

JAXA: Tsukuba Space Center and Tanegashima launch Facility are primary ISS facilities.

Timeline: 1998-­‐2020.Location: Located outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Budget: 45 billion US dollars.Website:



Information: NEON is designed to gather and synthesize data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. The sites have been strategically selected to represent different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance. NEON will combine site-­‐based data with remotely sensed data and existing continental (e.g. satellite data) to provide a range of scaled data products that can be used to describe changes in the nation’s ecosystem through space and time.

Participants: NEON, Inc.

Timeline: NEON successfully completed the planning and design phases and entered the construction phase in Spring 2012. NEON is currently building sites. Constructing the entire NEON network will take approximately five years, so NEON expects to be in full operation by approximately 2017. NEON will collect data for 30 years.

Budget: 433 US dollars funded by the NSF.

Location: Data will be collected from 60 sites across the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico).