NORDUnet 24 May 2005 3 New world of possibilities: Nordunet Nordunet network operations started towards the end of year 1988 –initial capacity 64 kbps (56 kbps to US) –before that a 9.6 kbps EARN line –(Funet-lines inside Finland 64k, 19.2k or 14.4k) 64 kbps was enough, the next upgrade to 128 kbps was made in January 1991 start of the Internet connection to US was not without problems –political problems: is Finland allowed to join? –security problems: Lawrence Livermore laboratories were cracked before the network was inaugurated –crackers were traced to Finland…
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 4 From a loose consortium to a company Nordunet Programme was financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers and hosted by SICS, the Swedish Institute for Computer Science Nordunet network activity started as a loose consortium UNI-C kindly offered to host it –it was viewed as temporary solution, though various organizational models were discussed –a limited company –foundation –consortium decision: a limited company required government decisions –legal documents ready in July 1991 –Norwegian government approval November 1991, but –NORDUnet A/S formed on the 14th of December 1993!
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 5 European contacts Europe had recognized the need for a R&E backbone network a 64 kbps network was planned using ISO OSI standards, X.25 et. al. EC funded to a large extent both planning and running the network –planning took a long time –call for tender took a long time –negotiations with the Commission took a long time The Nordunet plug and IP was considered bad manners (or worse), X.25 was the right thing to do "EC can support only ISO standards, supporting IP is legally impossible." Things changed in a few years and EC became a positive element in European networking
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 6 Technology Nordunet has always been pragmatic: use what is available and affordable EARN protocols, DECNET, IP and X.25 LAN technology in long-distance environment –that's how Nordunet started, now emerging in a new form in lambda networks land based lines, satellite connections, radio links and now only fibres US connection started as a satellite connection –long latency: 4*30,000 km, a long way to go even for light –from satellite to transatlantic fibre when upgraded to 34 Mbps Frame Relay, ATM fashionable for a while IPv6 endorsed by the Commission
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 7 PTTs for better for worse National PTTs still had monopoly, when Nordunet started Sometimes a monopoly-PTT was a good partner –supported research activities –had good resources –had spare line capacity Sometimes less good –FI-PTT: "Measure your traffic, so we can volume charge you." –FI-PTT: "You may only run ISO traffic on leased lines." –France Telecom of European backbone: "You don't need 34 bps."
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 8 PTT monopolies brake After deregulation it takes a few years for competition to gain momentum –at first there are no competitors –in the beginning they are weak –(exception: national market in Finland) –Initially competitors' prices only slightly below PTT monopoly prices (of course) Nordunet line SE-DK in 1997 –Danish deregulation in summer 1996 –34 Mbps line Stockholm- Copenhagen excessively pricey –universities of Lund and Copenhagen wanted a connection, so did Nordunet –Zone Systems made a n*155 Mbps radio link over Öresund for us
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 9 Basic question: what for? For the users, of course! For research and education Universities are the core customers –both for staff and students –fairly liberal rules for student usage (usually a university internal decision) –internet-minded students pouring out of universities since 1990 research organisations, lower level schools etc. served by national network organisations to a varying degree applications (mainly) invented by users, not by Nordunet
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 10 Working among friends The five partners have always had the common goal: serving our R&E community Nordunet has always been pragmatic –use the technology that serves our community now –not religious wars on protocols During the years the five have sometimes had different policies –what technology to use nationally –how to cooperate with the rest of Europe Totally reliable partners –agreements always respected –payments always in time Fair decisions based on objective needs, not national interests
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 11 Eastern Europe When the eastern countries regained their freedom, Nordic countries were quick to react National networks helped to build connections to the research communities in –Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania –Russia –Poland –Ukraine Nordunet started projects to help and gave connection on favourable terms. Nordic Council of Ministers was of great help. Often the countries' research communities were not well organized, which sometimes meant long negotiations with competing parties. Help is not really needed any more, we only cooperate for mutual benefit!
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 12 Cost crisis Nordunet costs are essentially paid by the five national networks Some money from the Commission for the European backbone US contribution in the 90s –Nordunet got a big share of NSF international budget, small share of NDN-US costs Basic problem in the 90s –traffic volume increased 150% per year –line costs decreased by 40% per year –so we get 2.5*0.6 = 1.5 –Nordunet costs increased by about 50% every year (almost all of Nordunet costs were line costs)
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 15 Datacom market Datacom market was opened for competition in our countries mainly during 1992-1996 Nordunet experienced a yearly 40% drop in transmission prices Writing off a transatlantic connection –formerly in decades –now in a few years, because of advances in technology IT bubble burst, too much fibre, too much line capacity In 2000-2002 prices dropped radically Major providers filed bankruptcy Nordunet service in grave danger but survived
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 16 Networks for what? Nordunet was a leading network in Europe for many years (we still are, but others have been catching up) But did we know, what we were building networks for? Maybe not –we wanted connection to remote central computers – we got a mail and network news network –we built a network for mail exchange – we got a network for file transfer and ftp services –we built a network for ftp – and got World Wide Web! –we built a network for distance education and other video applications around 1997 – it's done, but the traffic volumes have always been only a few percent! –now we build networks for grids and special applications …
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 17 So what has happened? Line capacity from 64 kbps to 10 Gbps –increase by a factor of over 150,000 –or 17 doublings in 16 years Internet was an exotic development project and is now a part of everyday life (not only in universities) It's so natural part of the environment, that we don't think of it any more –mail exchange with colleagues around the world –access to scientific articles –finding all kinds of information easily 20 years ago these could not be done at a click of a mouse
NORDUnet 24 May 2005 18 Do we need R&E networks? Up to (about) 1996 there were no commercial Internet services worth mentioning –we had to provide our own services since then people (including me) started to say: "Within 4 years commercial Internet services become stable, standardized and economical, we don't need separate R&E networks any more." NSF tried that and it did not work Practically every country has a national research and education network NRENs are still in the forefront of network development Commercial services are used, but they don't fulfil all the needs of the R&E community
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