The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky

In October 1996, US President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore visiting in Knoxville, Tennessee, announced funding for the creation of the nation's Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative - established to create a high performance network to support advanced applications for University and industry researchers.

Less than eight months after this announcement, the US National Science Foundation announced the creation of the High Performance International Internet Services (HPIIS) Program - designed to give access for international researchers to the US NGI and also to give access for US educators to researchers and international high performance networks around the globe.

The NaukaNet initiative results from a successful grant application by The University of Tennessee, Knoxville to this NSF HPIIS program with matching support from the Ministry for Science and Technology of the Russian Federation. The NaukaNet consortium includes The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), the Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN), Moscow State University (MSU), Friends and Partners-Russia (F&P/R), the VUZTelecom Center of St. Petersburg, and other key Russian and U.S. organizations. The NaukaNet consortium proposes to contract with Teleglobe, USA to provide the trans-Atlantic telecommunications services.

Goals and Objectives

The establishment of NaukaNet represents an important enhancement of the basic infrastructure supporting mutually beneficial, cooperative endeavor between the US-Russian scientific communities. It leverages the enormous investment in the R&E establishments in both nations by more effectively linking the numerous, diverse and important collaborative projects involving Russian and US researchers and covering almost all areas of scientific pursuit. These areas encompass everything from high-energy physics and the control of nuclear materials to geological studies of the earth's crust and environmental engineering. Given the high caliber of both scientific programs and the importance of increased cooperation, the establishment of NaukaNet represents an important goal. The agreement of the Ministry for Science and Technology of the Russian Federation to cost share $500,000 is a clear sign of the Russian commitment to its realization. The NaukaNet Consortium is receiving $4.0 million from the NSF over five years to fund the trans-Atlantic transport and U.S.-based operational expenses.

NaukaNet's primary focus will be on the delivery of enhanced international network services for Russia's emerging high-performance networks and on enabling their access to U.S. researchers. It will do so by connecting the emerging ATM cloud in the Moscow and St. Petersburg areas to the U.S. high performance network infrastructure (via the STAR TAP switch in Chicago). Its broad objectives include:

  • Supporting Established R&E Collaborations -- NaukaNet will provide essential high performance network services to support significant cooperative projects in research and education between authorized NaukaNet institutions in Russia and their R&E partners on the U.S. high-performance network infrastructure.

  • Fostering New Opportunities for R&E Collaboration -- NaukaNet's organization will work to identify, support, and help develop new and innovative research and education partnerships between Russia and the U.S., based on the power of NaukaNet's leading edge network services and next generation collaborative applications to support such partnership opportunities.

  • Facilitating Development of Advanced Services and Applications -- NaukaNet will help facilitate the research, development, and implementation of advanced network services and collaborative applications.

Technology Description

The NaukaNet Consortium is establishing a high speed and high bandwidth international Internet link from the US vBNS to the emerging Russian high performance network (currently in Moscow and St. Petersburg) through the Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point, STAR TAP in Chicago. The link is to be provided by Teleglobe and the Russian telecommunications firm Rascom and will be a terrestrial 6 Mbps ATM service to the M9 station in Moscow. A permanent virtual path (PVP) will be established between STAR TAP (Ameritech NAP) and the ATM switch in the M9 station in Moscow. An OC3c connection via fiber optics cable will be made from M9 station to the RBnet network in Moscow connecting to the HPIIS policy router (capable of policy based routing, a Cisco 7500 with RSP4). The policy router will be the peering router with vBNS and will be responsible for receiving routing updates from the vBNS router, and route only HPIIS authorized traffic to vBNS. A permanent virtual circuit (PVC) defined within the permanent virtual path (PVP) between the STAR TAP and the M9 station will be used to connect peering routers. A set of unspecified bit rate (UBR) permanent virtual circuits (PVCs) will be allocated in anticipation of proposed research applications.

Layer-3 IPv4 connectivity will also be provided end-to-end to all HPIIS authorized institutions. Services that are built on top of IP -- IP-in-IP tunneling, Mbone and IPv6 -- will also be supported. IPv4 multicast routing for Mbone will be implemented when available. Additional research studies by HPIIS institutions in native IPv6 testing, RSVP and QoS mapping over ATM will be supported with the approval of the NaukaNet consortium. NaukaNet will provide for vBNS AUP-compliant native ATM connectivity for HPIIS institutions by jointly managing the link with Teleglobe, and STAR TAP (of which Ameritech Advanced Data Services (AADS) is the service provider).

The proposed link will be jointly managed by NaukaNet Network Operation Centers at the University of Tennessee (UT) and RIPN/MSU with assistance from Teleglobe and STAR TAP. The University of Tennessee and RIPN/MSU will serve as the point of contact for the users in each country. UT will also take on the responsibility of serving as the contact point for other HPIIS authorized institutions outside the United States except those that are in Russia. All usage, performance and availability data for the proposed link will be published in each country via the WWW and/or LISTSERV discussion groups on a regular basis (daily report, monthly summarization and yearly evaluation). In addition, UT will leverage existing network research activities at the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR) for the engineering, monitoring and performance measurement of the proposed link. Close cooperation with other HPIIS initiatives such as the TransPAC project at the University of Indiana will be established for implementing a robust network.


While the first stage of the project is to provision, establish and test a six (6) Mbps ATM link between the STAR TAP international switch in Chicago and the M9 switch in Moscow and ensure its stable operation, the goal of the project is to increase the capacity of the initial link to support high performance networking applications (in the tens of Mbps) by a growing community of US-Russian researchers. Success will be measured by the rapid growth in total capacity, the performance and stability of the link, the number of research programs serviced (including the later addition of Russian academic centers outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg), the quality of research being supported, and the satisfaction of users with its ability to meet application needs.

To ensure realization of its goals, the US-Russian NaukaNet team will put into place necessary investigative, engineering and staff support; the advisory structures for policy development, fund raising and decision support; the appropriate management systems and procedures to handle trouble shooting, scheduling and authorization issues; and communications and information services for appraising interested parties of NaukaNet's status, applications and growth.

The development of high speed networking in Russia is very new -- as is the experience of US researchers working with Russian partners in utilizing these capabilities. The establishment of NaukaNet, as has been experienced in developing this joint proposal, is not possible without enormous personal and institutional energy and investment. However, the promise of NaukaNet -- the new and enhanced collaborative efforts between the scientific communities -- represents a clear and important goal.

The key to the project's success lies in the diverse strengths of the NaukaNet consortium -- the high performance networking (ATM) experience of The University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the networking activities (across Russia) of the Russian Institute of Public Networking, Moscow State University and the VUZTelecom Center in St. Petersburg, and the successful U.S.-Russian Friends & Partners initiative representing nearly five years of close cooperation fostering and supporting over 100 US-Russian exchange projects and building many important relationships among the academic and scientific communities. This combination provides a solid foundation of networking expertise, organizational strengths and a proven track record of US-Russian cooperative effort. Such a foundation is essential to building and advancing NaukaNet's advanced high performance network infrastructure and applications.

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Funding for NaukaNet provided by the US National Science Foundation and the Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology of the Russian Federation. Telecommunications services are provided by Telia, Inc.

This NaukaNet web site is available at two locations, in US and Russia:

Updated: 1999-08-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole

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In case you haven't noticed . . There are English/Russian language links near the bottom of each NaukaNet page. We are trying to provide as much information as possible in both English and Russian languages. And, for the Russian content, we are attempting to support all of the different Cyrillic encodings. If you desire to read the pages in Russian but need to prepare your computer for Cyrillic fonts, please visit the F&P Cyrillic page.