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Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 www.ubuntunet.net Knowledge Creation through Collaborative Processes : UbuntuNet Alliance and NRENs:

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Presentation on theme: "Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 www.ubuntunet.net Knowledge Creation through Collaborative Processes : UbuntuNet Alliance and NRENs:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Knowledge Creation through Collaborative Processes : UbuntuNet Alliance and NRENs: is agriculture there? Presented by Margaret E Ngwira Secretary, UbuntuNet Alliance and College Librarian, KCN, University of Malawi

2 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Internet Centre or Computer Centre? The Conference Website has the story of the Internet Centre that became a Computer Centre because the bandwidth cost was not sustainable when the donor funding phase was over!(www.worldaginfo.org)www.worldaginfo.org For the MALICO VSATs we pay over US$3000 per mbp/s per month – over US$15,00 per month for 5 mbp/s over 4 sites! Probably most here from the northern hemisphere have 5 mbp/s in their homes for US$30 per month – from our much more limited resources we are paying today 500 times more for connectivity!

3 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Components of the Presentation: 1.This presentation describes the Context of UbuntuNet Alliance, and MAREN, the Malawi NREN 2.We then look briefly at the Bunda Library Question and Answer Service and may consider where low cost bandwidth can assist 3.We consider one or two other Malawi ICT-based Initiatives 4.We finally look at the Chinyana Triangle Last Mile Project and the technologies being investigated there

4 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Part One The Context of UbuntuNet Alliance

5 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session UbuntuNet Alliance  Created in 2005 by established and emerging NRENs in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa  Incorporated in 2006 as a nonprofit Association of NRENs To serve all bona-fide NRENs in Africa To focus on optical fibre opportunities  Members: Representatives nominated by NRENs:National Research and Education Networks Association of African Universities facilitates the appointment of Chairperson  Council of Members: Meets annually – MAREN Malawi was represented at the 2007 meeting in Nairobi by Prof. Kamwanja, an Animal Scientist. Interim Secretariat: hosted by UNIMA at KCN with Margaret Ngwira as Secretary and Tiwonge Msulira Banda as project Officer.

6 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Vision & Mission  Vision: Ensure that African Research and Education Institutions participate effectively in the global Research and Education networking community and Knowledge Society  Mission: To ensure that African NRENs have efficient and affordable internet bandwidth for their member institutions and to participate in global research and education networking worldwide

7 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 3.Global Perspective: Regional RENs  Elsewhere, NRENs inter-connect to form a Regional REN. Examples: Europe: GÉANT2 (EU – funded) USA: Abilene (Internet2) The Mediterranean Region: EUMEDCONNECT Asia: TEIN2 South America: ALICE, REDCLARA  The Regional RENs form the highway through which scientists and researchers collaborate and share resources.

8 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Global Connectivity

9 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session The African Situation  No regional REN (or backbone) Functional NRENs exist in Kenya and South Africa Emerging NRENs in several countries (Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan)  Lack of a regional REN in Sub-Sahara Africa isolates African research and education institutions from their peers in the global community  Main reason: most of Africa is connected through VSATs whose bandwidth is expensive  Solution: NRENs require high bandwidth at lower cost to transfer large datasets thereby participate effectively in global research and share resources over networks.

10 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Aspirations of UbuntuNet  In pursuit of its mission UbuntuNet Alliance aspires to provide African Research and Educational institutions connectivity in gigabit per second rather than the current kilobit per second. How?  By taking advantage of undersea fibre cables, such as the proposed SEACOM cable and terrestrial fibre deployment initiatives in the region.

11 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Strategic Objectives The Strategic Plan of the Alliance was developed on Zomba Plateau in October The most critical Strategic Objective was:  Build the UbuntuNet backbone using a staged approach which connects clusters of NRENs using the opportunities provided by existing and planned fibre infrastructure projects

12 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Botswana Burundi DRC Egypt (EUN) Kenya (KENET) Lesotho Malawi (MAREN) Mozambique (MoRENet) Rwanda (RwEdNet) S Africa (TENET) Sudan (SUIN) Swaziland Tanzania (TERNET) Uganda (RENU) Zambia (ZAMREN) Zimbabwe …others… InterConnect these countries

13 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Backbone development strategy  Opportunistic approach with two legs: –gain access to optical fibre cables as a spin- off from other general infrastructure developments; and –develop parts of the backbone in different sub-regions, called UbuntuNet backbone development clusters, as complementary projects (as graphically shown in next slides)

14 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 8(a) UbuntuNet East Backbone Cluster UG Northern TZ KE SD ET EG RW

15 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 8(b) UbuntuNet South Backbone Cluster LS BW NA ZM Southern TZ MW MZSA SW

16 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 8(c) UbuntuNet West Backbone Cluster  The UbuntuNet West Program has yet to be fleshed out together with NRENs from West and Central Africa ULTIMATE GOAL: One Backbone  In due course the backbone clusters will inter-connect into a seamless single redundant backbone

17 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session UbuntuNet Regional Backbone THE END PRODUCT?  Some 23 countries in the region  Each country determines its own regulatory regime; issues its own licenses  Remove Cross-border tariff barriers  NRENs to transit each other’s traffic  UbuntuNet to contract and manage the backbone

18 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Resources needed  Cross-border links operated by telcoms, mobile operators, power companies, etc….  Sub-marine cable connectivity –SAT-3 West Africa cable (WASC) –South Africa Far East cable (SAFE) –SEACOM Cable (proposed)  In some cases satellite capacity is unavoidable as an interim solution – ALL TO CONNECT TO G É ANT2

19 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Connecting to GÉANT2  The process underway: to be launched soon, and will involve: Deploying UbuntuNet Routing Hub in London and connect to GÉANT2 Using GRE tunnels through NREN’s existing Internet access circuits to the Hub  End result? make Africa part of the global REN community present opportunities for collaborative research within Africa and beyond, as the resources become available.

20 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 UbuntuNet Alliance will connect African NRENs, through GÉANT2, to the global research and education networking community

21 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session Collaboration with MAREN  MAREN, the Malawi Research and Education Network is a founding NREN of UbuntuNet Alliance  MAREN is currently being incubated by MALICO, the Malawi Library and Information Consortium  MALICO manages the wonderful electronic content made available through AGORA, HINARI, INASP (at a small charge) and eIFL  The Department of Agricultural Research Services is a member of MAREN with Dr Kisyombe as the Representative  After much lobbying, MAREN has obtained an International Gateway Licence from the Communications and Regulatory Authority permitting it to transit academic and research fibre across borders  MAREN will form a link in the UbuntuNet Backbone Connecting with academic networks in Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and eventually Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa and beyond.

22 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4

23  Can the UbuntuNet Alliance and MAREN reach the first kilometre to the farmer? Probably not – the Licence is a strictly Academic and Research Licence The Business of ISPs must not be jeopardised by UbuntuNet But the Research Centres and perhaps the Training Centres may be beneficiaries And Agricultural content can be delivered cost effectively and in a timely manner And the lobbying of the Alliance members for Open Access models and removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers brings fairer more transparent pricing models for everyone! Minister of Information, Hon P Kaliati, Acting Director general of MACRA and MAREN Task Force member Margaret Ngwira at MAREN Launch, August 2007

24 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Part 2:Delivering Agricultural Information now Bunda Library Question and Answer Service and where low cost bandwidth can assist This is a traditional University Agricultural Library information service beyond its walls supported by CTA: Over two years of questions are collated on the following pages:

25 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Purpose of information sought

26 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Users of Bunda Library Q&A Service

27 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Examples of source of current information being supplied by Bunda Library to a wider audience through its Q&A Service

28 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Gender of Q&A Service User

29 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Changes in information delivery pattern The Librarian says that more requests are coming by and SMS The requesters are complaining about the slow pace of postal services E-journals are regular sources of answers to the Questions Therefore cheaper bandwidth would enhance delivery of requested knowledge

30 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Part 3 Recent developments in information delivery to the farmer in Malawi Banking changes – Biometric recognition, thumbprints, ATM and mobile bank and instant money transfer on crop sale Sales information also accessible through ATM system of another Bank With Cell phones, extension officers can set up meetings with many farmers through texting /SMS-ing, saving many motorbike kilometres Farmers text for information about input supplies etc

31 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Part 4 :USAID Chinyanja Triangle Last Mile Initiative The Chinyanja Triangle Last mile Initiative, jointly with USAID, University of Stellenbosch and NASFAM Malawi is examining many communication technologies with a view to sharing agricultural knowledge across the countries where Chinyanja /Chichewa is spoken : Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia

32 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Potential Technologies for Last Mile Initiative Possible ICT Services. Interactive Web and Voice Portal Interactive TV / Telematic Education via VSAT Interactive Community Radio. Interactive Voice Response for Telephony Web Casting and Conferencing Mobile Instant Messaging. and Push GSM / GPRS Internet Services VSAT Internet Services WiMAX Services NREN Research Networks PosterInfoCommTechnology.pdf

33 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Thank you for your attention 1st UbuntuNet Alliance Council of Members, Nairobi, Kenya. February 2007

34 Cornell Knowledge Systems Workshop Oct 2007 Session 4 Resources and Acknowledgements Prof Zimani Kadzamira, Victor Kyalo and Dr. Duncan Martin for permission to build on previous Alliance presentations Geoffrey Salanje and CTA for access to Q&A data USAID staff for access to Last Mile Initiative Chinyanja Triangel documentation


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