Genius is an African who dreams up snow. Vladimir Nabokov - Vladimir Nabokov

C.2 Organization Description

The NaukaNet initiative is based on many collaborative ties and relationships between Russian and American partners and institutions. The fact that one of the key organizations in this effort is a jointly managed U.S.-Russian organization focused on Internet related networking has made much simpler the task of integrating other consortium members into a talented, diverse, and productive organization.

The following are the members of the NaukaNet Consortium:

  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    • Center for International Networking Initiatives (CINI)
    • Telecommunication and Network Services (TNS)
  • Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN)
  • Moscow State University
  • VUZTelecom Center of St. Petersburg
  • Friends and Partners Russia
  • Friends and Partners US
  • Ameritech Data Services (AADS) (Please see Note 1)
  • Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point (STAR TAP)

As a charter member of the Internet2 consortium, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) continues to be a national leader in the development and use of network information technology. Its Office of Telecommunications and Network Services was recently awarded a NSF high-performance connections grant.

The "Friends and Partners" initiative has been active for over four years using the Internet as a means of promoting human networking between individuals in the U.S. and the Former Soviet Union. Its US base within UT's Center for International Networking Initiatives and close ties with Telecommunications and Network Services made possible the formation of a strong team within the University of Tennessee.

The F&P Russia organization brings in a wide variety of Russian organizations - including the Russian Institute for Public Networking (RIPN), one of the leaders in developing a Russian science and education network. Their long relationship with Moscow State University, ties with the VUZTelecom Center in St. Petersburg, and its own networking operations completes a strong organizational and technical base for the Russian team.

Key personnel on the initiative include the principal investigators on the U.S. side (Greg Cole and Joe Gipson), Natasha Bulashova of Friends and Partners Russia, Alexei Platonov of RIPN and Valerii Vasenin of Moscow State University.

Together, the constituent organizations represent a talented and diverse team with a proven track record of working together on U.S.-Russian technical and academic networking initiatives.

C.2.1 Strengths of the NaukaNet Consortium

The administration and support requirements for NaukaNet present many interesting and difficult challenges. These include overall administration and rapid growth of a project between two countries with myriad language and cultural differences - and perhaps made more difficult by the fact that the effort is being funded jointly by the two countries.

Overall decision making, planning efforts, and day-to-day coordination are certain to present numerous challenges. There are also the more technical challenges dealing with the new development of high speed networking in Russia, the "bleeding edge" nature of some of the technologies and protocols which will be encouraged and supported, and, initially, relatively low link capacity (6 Mbps) which must immediately accommodate high demand applications.

At the same time, the NaukaNet project will be a rapidly developing and changing one. Indeed, as pointed out elsewhere in this proposal, NaukaNet is only establishing a base foundation with the current funding request. The goal is to quickly grow the capacity and the infrastructure supporting that capacity to one which will enable servicing a high number of collaborative research efforts - supported by a much higher capacity with applications demanding throughput of tens of megabits per second.

The combination of these challenges requires a very determined commitment, heavy institutional investment (in addition to the funding request), and most importantly, a very capable, compatible, flexible team with the ability to work cooperatively and diligently across the geographical, cultural, and language barriers.

One of the most important assets offered by the NaukaNet Consortium is the experience of several years of working together on network-related US-Russian cooperative initiatives. The Friends and Partners effort on which the consortium has been built represents over four years of such cooperation in an atmosphere of shared and mutual respect and one with a long history of planning, growth, and shared decision making. Throughout its four year history, it has jointly managed several grants - from such funding agencies as NATO, the Ford Foundation, Sun Microsystems, and the US State Department.

Likewise, the relationship with the Russian Institute of Public Network is almost four years old now. RIPN/RELARN was the first organization in Russia to support Friends and Partners activities. Finally, there are several years of very close cooperation between the two responsible University of Tennessee divisions that bring to this project complementary skills and experiences. The Center for International Networking Initiatives (with focus on US-Russian networking projects and with a more information/communications service orientation) and Telecommunications and Network Services (with focus on network/hardware engineering, high speed network deployment and test bed applications development) have a very close and productive working relationship.

The solidity and experience of the NaukaNet consortium represents perhaps its greatest strength in managing a project which will be characterized by rapid change and by the many difficulties affecting any such cross-cultural effort.

C.2.2 Organizational Structure

The NaukaNet organization will be focused around the key technical, administrative, and managerial functions of operating, promoting, and growing the high speed US-Russian link. Responsibility for directing and managing the project from the U.S. side will be shared by the two co-principal investigators, the Director of Telecommunications and Network Services at UTK and the Director of the Center for International Networking Initiatives at UTK. The combination of these two centers will place NaukaNet in the context of next-generation network applications and U.S./Russian scientific and cultural cooperation and exchange.

Upon approval of this application, the investigators will work with their Russian counterparts to establish the NaukaNet advisory board comprised of US and Russian scientists and telecommunications experts who will advise the project leaders on issues related to operating and growing the NaukaNet link - its use and applications.

The project investigators will share responsibility for all operational, engineering and scientific aspects of the project. Non-engineering tasks will include applications development, promotion of the link to the R&E communication, support for the users, fund raising and development activities, interfacing with US and Russian institutions, and reporting to the public and the NSF. Project management and responsibilities for development and implementation of the business/sustainability plan will be shared with personnel from the College of Business Management program who have expressed particular interest in this initiative.

The Director of UTK's Telecommunications and Network Services will be responsible for directing technical and engineering matters relating to establishing and managing the link. In cooperation with Russian network engineers and STAR TAP's network engineers, the Director will manage technical aspects of the project such as support for the link and all associated equipment as well as planning for the development of increased bandwidth and enhancement of NaukaNet services. All network engineers (NEs) will work together to ensure that advanced services are used only by HPIIS-authorized institutions and interoperable with the vBNS. All consortium partners will be requested to designate their own NEs for technical aspects of the project in which they require to be involved.

The co-investigators on this project will be responsible for implementing a procedure, in close cooperation with the Russian partners, to ensure fair and responsive approval of new institutions in Russia who wish to connect to NaukaNet. This procedure will be worked out carefully with the National Science Foundation. The investigators will also work with the Russian colleagues to ensure the appropriate routing of traffic over the connection in line with the National Science Foundation acceptable use policy. No commodity traffic will be passed over the NaukaNet link.

The co-investigators will share responsibility for the further growth and development of the NaukaNet Consortium. The initial funds to be supplied by the National Science Foundation and the Russian Ministry of Science establish a platform upon which many new projects and applications are to be developed, on which much higher bandwidth capacity is to evolve over the five years of the grant, and on which new protocols and services are to be developed with the still evolving Next Generation Internet.

In addition to its standard operation and reporting requirements, the NaukaNet team (in both US and Russia) will collaborate closely on additional fund raising for research and for applications development. The team's role in establishing the link is only a starting point with the real goal being to ensure full and innovative utilization of the link by a dramatically increased number of US-Russian scientific partnerships.

Direction of the Russian effort will be provided by RIPN with responsibilities shared with Moscow State University, Friends and Partners-Russia and VUZTelecom Center of St. Petersburg. Because of its key role in building and financing Russian academic networking, RIPN will assume financial responsibility for the project in Russia. Responsibilities will be shared appropriately with Moscow State University and with VUZTelecom for the technical direction and growth of high performance networking.

RIPN will function as main backbone operator. It will provide for the transatlantic transport, interact with Ameritech (Note 1) and Rostelecom (Note 1), will monitor traffic and assume overall responsibility for the link from the Russian side. RIPN will provide these services as a part of its responsibility for the Russian academic Backbone Network (RBnet) and for the development of the ATM-based MAN currently being established in Moscow.

Application support and development will be provided by Moscow State University (Vasenin) and VUZTelecom in St. Petersburg (Vasiliev, Bogdanov, Robachevsky). They will coordinate with RIPN (and in turn with the NaukaNet team members in the U.S.) for scheduling of resources, PVCs, etc. VUZTelecom in St. Petersburg will operate the St. Petersburg ATM-based MAN and will provide technical management (with RIPN) for the connection to Moscow.

Friends and Partners-Russia will provide project management responsibilities - advising and coordinating with staff of the US team. F&P-Russia will assume responsibility for applications development, fund raising, promoting the link to the Russian R&E community, providing non-engineering support, interacting with U.S. and Russian institutions, and sharing reporting responsibilities with the U.S. project investigators.

C.2.3 Leading Consortium Partners

C.2.3.1 University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK)

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a national leader, among major public universities, in the innovative delivery of educational, research, administrative, and outreach activities to students, faculty, and staff at the University, the state of Tennessee, and beyond. UTK is an accredited Carnegie Research I institution and a University of Choice for the 21st century (i.e., a university whose various constituents choose to affiliate because they expect it to provide the services and opportunities they need and want).

In 1994, the Division of Information Infrastructure started the development of a five-year strategic plan to attain the goal of being an "Information University." This comprehensive project has already allowed UTK to lay out an infrastructure capable of capitalizing and staying on the forefront of the surging information technology movement.

In 1995, UTK's Division of Information Infrastructure (DII) launched a High-performance Network Connections Initiative (HNCI) in response to the momentous changes occurring in networking and telecommunications on a global scale, and to extend its long record of excellence as a Carnegie Research I institution. The first stage of this initiative focused on local network infrastructure improvements. It consisted in the establishment of an OC-3/ATM link between UTK and its closest research partner, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the creation of a campus wide ATM network for a Distributed Data Visualization Laboratory (already operational as of April 1997).

Already a charter member of Internet 2, in May of 1997 UTK was one of thirty universities to receive a two-year, $350,000 grant, joining an elite list of research institutions participating in connecting research universities to the emerging national high-speed infrastructure, known as the Next-Generation Internet. This grant will not only allow UTK to establish a high-speed connection to the vBNS backbone, but also constitutes the next phase of HNCI's ongoing effort. This evolving infrastructure has allowed UTK to continue its leadership as a major next-generation technologies innovator and research institution. UT is an active participant in several I2 working groups.

C.2.3.2 UTK Telecommunication and Network Services (TNS)

Given the criteria NSF used in making these awards, the success of UTK's application is a reflection both of the quality of the network infrastructure that TNS has in place and in planning, and of the strong relationship TNS has developed with the leading researchers within the academic community. TNS works with UTK to maintain its leadership in the constantly changing field of networking and communication technology by designing, developing and deploying network-enabled tools for education, research and public service. In this way, one of TNS' main goals is to help UTK make the most effective use of its network resources and telecommunication services (e.g., extensive network services, network communication services, telephone and videoconferencing services, among others).

TNS is an organization of over 150 people. It is responsible for managing and maintaining a network of over 10,000 nodes, 12,000 desktop computers, 7,000 remote users and over 15,000 telephones. Currently there are four T1s to the Internet, two with Sprint and two with BBN. TNS is in the process of adding an additional 3 Mbps connection to the Internet, for a total of over 9 Mbps. TNS receives and manages a routing table of over 25,000 entries from BBN, Sprint, ESnet and local ISPs. UTK is in the process of upgrading its campus backbone to an OC-12, meshed network with a target completion date of July, 1998. In addition, four more T1s to the Internet are being obtained from multiple vendors to provide more redundancy.

TNS is also responsible for managing and maintaining The University of Tennessee statewide network. This network is comprised of approximately 25 T1s that originate and terminate in locations hundreds of miles from the UTK campus. This experience will be invaluable in managing remote resources that will be used in a successful HPIIS network.

TNS at this time maintains four Cisco Lightstream 1010 ATM switches to four buildings on campus in support of a Data and Visualization lab as well as some early adopter's of ATM service. TNS has an OC-3 ATM connection to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), that is used by researchers on campus to access ORNL and the Department of Energy and Science Network (ESnet). Both Classical IP (RFC1577) and ATM LANE services are offered. Native ATM service is currently being experimented with on the link to the Oak Ridge National Lab for connecting super-computers.

TNS is also in the process of evaluating and deploying a streaming, video-on-demand audio and video server. TNS has evaluated video/audio servers from SGI, Sun, Panasonic and Starlight. The goal of TNS is to be able to provide at the minimum, MPEG-1 video streams to at least 200 clients simultaneously over the campus backbone by the Fall of 1998. This will be used for the delivery of broadcast quality audio/video for academic purposes.

TNS maintains a Network Management/Operation Center that is staffed by three people 8-5, five days a week. Continuous coverage is provided for by automating the notification of network events to on-call staffs text pagers. Associated with each network device is a priority level that governs the patterns of paging. The high priority devices are paged 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As part of its HPIIS proposal, UT will increase its NMC operating hours of operation to 24x7 upon award. The cost of this will be borne by UTK.

Existing network management system operates on a Sun dual-processor Ultra-SPARC with 256 Mbytes of RAM. Over 500 network events and devices are monitored via SNMP and Echo requests from NMC. All trouble tickets are tracked through the widely used Action Request System from Remedy Corporation. Over 10,000 network and desktop support trouble tickets have been tracked and resolved since its implementation in 1996.

The trouble ticketing system used at UTK is the Action Request System from Remedy Corporation. All trouble tickets are reviewed each day by the NOC to ensure proper progress is being made toward the resolution of the ticket. Tickets that are three days old or older are reviewed by senior analysts and escalated when appropriate. Senior technicians and engineers are immediately notified for emergency problems to ensure immediate resolution.

To supplement the NOC, a senior network member is on-call and available 24 hours a day to solve advanced problems. The on-call person is paged by the network management system for line and component failures on the network. All network devices are given a priority level and appropriate actions are taken depending on the severity of the failure.

Network statistics are gathered by the NOC using SNMP and programs developed internally. Currently, statistics such as OC-3 linkage usage (on and off campus), router interface statistics, network segment usage, Remote Monitoring (RMON) are being gathered. UTK is developing applications that will monitor the use of PVCs as well as SVCs on OC-3 connections in order to extract more meaningful network statistics. The same type of data logging can be extended to the HPIIS link. UTK has been publishing network statistics on the WWW for departmental use and can easily make the HPIIS statistics available to the researchers and the world.

C.2.3.3 Friends and Partners Foundation, Russia

Productive and profound international collaborative endeavor is built upon human relationships which are based first on mutual understanding and respect and second on the ability to communicate. For U.S.-Russian activities, there remain many barriers to both understanding and communications. The proven track record of Friends and Partners in U.S.-Russian networking gives a decided advantage in initiating and sustaining activities related to scientific/educational exchange generally and to the HPIIS project specifically.

The original project and parent of other international collaborative efforts, Friends and Partners originated as a goodwill gesture between two friends—one in the U.S. and one in Russia—determined to use the emerging Internet as a means of introducing people in their countries to each other. Using technologies developed from the Cold War separating the two nations, this project aims to use modern Internet-based services as a means of bridging the many barriers—language, cultural, political, commercial—between U.S. and Russian individuals and organizations. During the project's first 4 years, Friends and Partners has become one of the larger services on the global Internet, receiving over 2 million gross accesses each month; attracting over 9,000 individuals in 60 countries as subscribers to its various communications services; handling many millions of email exchanges; and supporting a friendly, cooperative environment for a growing community which now regularly uses its services.

Friends & Partners has spawned over 100 U.S.-Russian information services—partnering with individuals throughout Russian and the US and supported—with information and with funding—by such organizations as the Ford Foundation, the International Science Foundation, NATO, Radio Free Europe, the U.S. State Department, Sun Microsystems, RELARN, and many others. Several of the interest-based communities incubated by Friends and Partners have grown into large and active communities themselves. Friends and Partners has received numerous top Internet awards and honors, and has been listed among the top sites on the Internet by various rating agencies. It has been featured in several international conferences and events including the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission meeting of January 1996 in Washington, DC. where it was used to demonstrate the capability of the Internet for facilitating scientific dialog and exchange between Russian and American scientific communities. The project now maintains Internet sites in the U.S., Russia, and Central/Eastern Europe.

The name "Friends and Partners" hints at the spirit of human networking which underlies this initiative begun nearly 4 years ago and developed and managed entirely as a U.S.-Russian partnership. While its focus of exploring new information and communications technologies as a means of improving cross-cultural human networking has given it stature within the technical Internet community, its real aim and success has been on improving cultural education and understanding, on introducing new relationships, and on building human and organizational infrastructure which makes both possible and productive new U.S.-Russian initiative.

Rooted in the scientific and educational communities of its two host countries, it has broadened to include work within the civil society, health care, commerce and industry, and government sectors. It is this broad organizational infrastructure which makes possible this HPIIS application and which provides a solid foundation on which to build information and communications infrastructure and to ensure a broad base of users and developers who will provide and utilize innovative high-speed networking applications. The real goal of this project is not to merely engineer telecommunications connections—but rather to engineer and support new communities of active, productive collaboration comprised of U.S. and Russian scientists, educators and researchers.

In addition to continuing to support general academic/scientific exchange through high speed networking applications, NaukaNet must ensure that U.S. and Russian scientists jointly address and resolve the limitations of the current Internet protocols and services. By helping seed the development of high speed networking in Russia, the HPIIS initiative will ensure this possibility.

C.2.3.4 Friends and Partners, US / Center for International Networking Initiatives (CINI)

The University of Tennessee is actively developing and furthering use of the Internet in its many programs of instruction, research, and service. In particular, the University has gained some global acclaim in its innovative use of the Internet to promote international cooperative ventures. The Center for International Networking Initiatives (CINI) has launched several large-scale Internet-based information services to promote education, economic development, joint research initiatives, new exchange programs, and better understanding between countries and cultures separated by barriers of distance, language, and cultural misunderstanding.

With its activities and partners in Central and Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union, and China, the office builds and supports advanced information and communications systems illustrating good use of the emerging global information infrastructure and providing for cross-cultural exchange and education opportunities for faculty, staff and students of the University of Tennessee and others throughout the world. Its popular "Friends and Partners" Internet service promotes U.S.-Russian cooperation, receives over 2,000,000 accesses each month from around the world and has been designated among the top sites on the Internet. In addition to its work supporting the statewide University of Tennessee community, its services have been recognized and requested by organizations throughout the world - including the U.S. White House, U.S. Ambassadors to Russia and China, U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and other government agencies, NATO, several higher education institutions, and by many commercial and non-profit organizations. Its activities have been supported with funding from the Ford Foundation, NATO, the U.S. State Department, Sun Microsystems, the International Science Foundation and others.

CINI is a relatively new Center, established in December of 1995 as a cooperative venture on the part of the UT Knoxville and UT System administrations. Recognizing the value of integrating advanced information technologies with international development efforts, the goal was to build upon some of the pre-existent activities (such as "Friends and Partners") in support of faculty, staff and students interested in innovative use of new technologies in areas of global outreach and international education and development. In addition to its primary activities in the Former Soviet Union (, the Center supports several groups on the UTK campus including very successful work in the Central and Eastern Europe Center with their Alliance of Universities for Democracy (; the UTK College of Business in various projects in Romania (; as well as new ventures in China (, Azerbaijan (, Bosnia (, and as yet unannounced projects in Mexico (, and Georgia.

The new Center maintains close ties with the UTK Telecommunication and Network Services Group. Specific services offered include "large web-site development" using its own software developed for supporting large scale, multi-lingual, cross-platform, cross-browser information systems. The Center also supports work in Internet-based database systems (with emphasis on SGML-based full-text databases) and helps to establish and maintain communications services such as email listservers, on-line bulletin boards, and interactive "chat" facilities. Its primary focus to date has been to help establish, foster, and sustain on-line communities interested in cross-cultural issues. CINI was also instrumental in the development of the local Knoxville-Oak Ridge Civic Network KORRnet ( and has recently received funding from the Ford Foundation to initiate development of 3 civic networks in Russian communities ( In addition to advice and support in establishing information and communications services, CINI maintains Unix host systems which are available for use by members of the University community involved in developing Internet-based services with an international focus.

C.2.3.5 Moscow State University (MSU)

Moscow State University (MSU) was founded in 1755 by the famous Russian scientist Michael Lomonosov. MSU has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. Today it is considered to be one of the most important scientific and educational centers in Russia with more than 8,600 professors, lecturers, research associates, and 125 academicians (including several Nobel Prize winners) and over 100 laboratories, computer centers, and several museums. More than 26,000 undergraduate students study at Moscow State University, and about 5,000 are working on Ph.D. projects. The number of foreign students and postgraduates among them is about 2,000 and their number increases every year.

In the rating-list of Europe's leading quality educational institutions (Gourman Report, National Education Standards, USA), MSU occupies the second place. MSU is a member of the International Association of Universities, the conference of Rectors of European Universities and other international organizations. It has direct agreements on cooperation with more than 150 scientific centers, universities and unions in Europe, U.S.A, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, Latin America, and Africa.

Moscow State University will likely be one of the first institutions in Russia to make use of NaukaNet services in support of its many collaborative programs of scientific study with U.S. researchers.

Moscow Regional Network & Moscow State University

As of today, a total of 60 universities and research institutes in the region of Moscow are inter-connected via two Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) based Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) rings. Most nodes on the ring are connected to the international telephone switch building, the M9 station in Moscow. The significance of this MAN is that it provides the cabling infrastructure, with fiber optics cable already laid in the ground, that can be used in building the high speed ATM network.

There are four institutions in the area of Moscow that have formed an alliance to create the first ever research MAN ATM network in the next few months. These institutions are:

  • Moscow State University (MSU)
  • Russian Academy of Science
  • Russian Institutes of Public Networks (RIPN)
  • Supercomputer Center in St. Petersburg

Two other telecommunication companies also involved in this project are Rostelecom (nation telecommunication operator) and Komkor (Moscow telecommunications company).

Moscow State University, as mentioned above, already has fiber connectivity to the M9 switch station in Moscow. It currently operates an ATM-based campus backbone with LAN Emulation services to remote buildings. It also operates a Cisco 7000 class router that will be upgraded in the near future. Additional fiber optics cable is being put in place between M9 station and MSU to support high speed connections.

The Russian High Energy Physics (RUHEP)/Radio-MSU Network is one of the most important IP networks in Russia. The network uses many networking technologies — from satellite links, extensive terrestrial channels, and even microwave — to connect with other networks. The Moscow backbone (FDDI) is used inside Moscow and the ATM segment inside the university. RUHEP/Radio-MSU is a member of national Internet exchange agreement and supports peering agreements with other Russian scientific and commercial networks.

C.2.3.6 Russian Institute of Public Networks (RIPN)

The Russian Institute for Public Network Public Networking (RIPN) is a non-profit organization that was created in 1991 by the State Science and Higher Education Committee of the Russian Federation and the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy (KIAE). Its mission is to develop technologies for establishing and developing computer networks for exchange of information and giving special priority to governmental, educational, and scientific institutions. Specific aims include:

  • Developing computer communications in the interests of Research & Education (R&E);
  • Coordinating IP networking in Russia;
  • Promoting research studies in the field of computer communications;
  • Supporting R&E organizations in getting access to the Internet information resources via public networks.

RIPN is one of the main organizations working on the program "Creation of national computer networks for science and higher education" (years 1995-98). The program is funded by the following governmental organizations: Department of Scientific and Technological policy of RF, State Committee of Higher Education, Russian Academy of Science, Russian Foundation for fundamental research and Department of Communication. RIPN participates in key research and education projects in regional cities throughout Russia.

Thus far the main result of this program activity has been the creation of the Russian Backbone Network (RBnet). Several nodes of RBnet have been established, and State Universities and some other scientific and educational organizations have been connected to the network in the following cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tver, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Omsk, Kemerovo, Irkustk, Novgorod, Ufa, Simbirsk, Tomsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Chelyabinsk, Tula and Krasnodar. Links with the following scientific networks were established: RELARN-IP, RUNNET, FREENET, MSU-NET, IIP-NET (ISF), RSSI, Radio-MSU, as well as with the following public networks: EUnet/Relcom, Demos/Internet, GLASNET, ROSPRINT, SOVAM and others.

RIPN accomplished the development of North Moscow Backbone Network (NMBB) and established nodes in more than 7 main centers in Russia, along with fiber optic connections in more than 7 centers. The NMBB now includes 12 FDDI nodes and approximately 30 connections to research centers via Ethernet (10Mbps). The main nodes of the network were established using the Cisco System's Catalyst-1200 with FDDI modules. Now organizations can get connected at speeds up to 100 Mbps. The network has been operational for 1.5 years.

One of the main tasks of the RIPN is to support the Network Information Center (NIC) for xSU/RU. The constituent parts of the NIC activity are: registration of IP numbers for the customers from the blocks delegated RIPN by the Europe coordination body-RIPE ("last resort" IP registry); administration of ".ru" top level domain; support of the Internet document store; and support of persons and organizations directory services. RIPN provides additional free-of-charge information services on selected topics.

RIPN plans to provide an ATM-based MAN as the next stage of Moscow backbone. It will include 4-5 nodes interconnected by 155Mbps links. After the ATM-based backbone is established, several ATM customer "clouds" will be connected, including MSU, Kurchatov Institute, IOC (FREENET), RAS Supercomputer center, and other Research centers. The connection to St. Petersburg ATM-based MAN will also be provided.

RIPN is the leading organization in RELARN, association of scientific and educational organizations, users of computer networks, and develops a non-profit scientifically and educationally oriented network RELARN-IP for this association. Currently, RELARN consists of about 800 organizations from more than 100 Russian cities. More than 100 organizations are connected to RELARN-IP (which is, itself, a customer of RBnet). Scientific and educational institutions are connected to both base and access nodes of RELARN-IP network. Further information on RELARN is provided below.

RIPN is uniquely positioned to assist in the growth of NaukaNet by encouraging access to academic centers across Russia. Its years of experience with Russian Internet networking and the many important relationships established with academic institutions, government organizations and non-profit organizations are of enormous value to this effort. RIPN (and Dr. Alexei Platonov in particular) was instrumental in obtaining agreement of the Russian Ministry of Science and Technology to cost share $500,000 on the NaukaNet connection (letter of support from Deputy Minister V.V. Nichkov included in attachments).

C.2.3.7 RELARN

RELARN is an association of scientific and educational organizations. RELARN acts as a voluntary, noncommercial union of research centers and institutes, higher schools, colleges and other institutions, financed, as a rule, from the State budget.

The RELARN Association was initiated in September of the year 1992, by a joint decision of the Ministry of Science, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute". The Association was registered as a legal organization in May 24 of 1993. The executive body of the Association is Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN - described above).

RELARN main goals are to expand information exchanges and to rise their efficiency in the field of science and education. For this purpose RELARN does the following:

  • Gives its participants organizational, financial and technical support in noncommercial information exchange.
  • Promotes use of computer network technologies.
  • Enables interaction with research computer networks in Russia and abroad.
  • Helps scientific contacts development, including organizing and carrying out conferences, competitions and exhibitions.
  • Coordinates projects aimed at utilizing computer networks for science and education development.

RELARN was the first Russian supporter of the new U.S.-Russian Friends and Partners initiative in early 1994.

C.2.3.8 VUZTelecom Center of St. Petersburg

Federal Center RUNNet (VUZTelecomCenter) is a non-for-profit organization based in St. Petersburg and responsible for operation, maintenance and development of the Russian Federal University network RUNNet.

Network backbone provides connectivity for the main economic regions of Russia: Northern, Northern-Western, Central, Volga, Northern-Caucuses, Ural, Siberian and Far East. RUNNet Federal nodes are interconnected via digital channels that comprise the backbone. They are located in the main cities of the country: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Barnaul, Vladivostok, Ekaterinburg, Izhevsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Makhachkala, Nalchik, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Perm, Petrozavodsk, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov, Stavropol, Tambov, Tomsk, Ulyanovsk, and Khabarovsk.

RUNNet operates its own communication infrastructure based on satellite channels and high-speed digital leased lines. Most of the Federal nodes are connected to the St. Petersburg node, forming a "star" topology of the network.

Backbone connection to the global Internet is provided through the St. Petersburg Federal node: 2 Mbps terrestrial link to NORDUnet (St. Petersburg - Helsinki) and 4 Mbps transatlantic link to Teleglobe (St. Petersburg - Pennant Point - New York). Connectivity with major national ISP is provided through Internet exchange points in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Federal Center RUNNet together with RIPN started the first wide-area ATM project in Russia focused on the needs of research and educational community. The main reason for this was the fact that emerging scientific applications require more bandwidth and quality of service (QoS) guarantees. Demand for these applications, namely supercomputing, data visualization and videoconferencing put on the agenda the need of high speed networking infrastructure able to meet the requirements. This resulted in the creation of the first ATM network for science and education covering Moscow and St. Petersburg at the first stage. The project was done in the framework of inter-agency Program "Creation of National Network of computer telecommunications for science and education" in close collaboration with national telecommunications provider Metrocom/Rascom.

At the first stage the network topology is rather simple: 34Mbit/s (during the initial phase - 8Mbit/s) line connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg nodes and 4-5 access nodes inside each city interconnected by 155Mbit/s links. Federal Center RUNNet is supervising the St. Petersburg ATM segment while the Moscow part of the network is under RIPN's management.

The network allows building several mission-oriented virtual networks with QoS parameters set for specific applications. While the network will carry general purpose Internet traffic it will be segregated from mission-oriented virtual networks access to which access is permitted only for organizations participating in the selected projects. One of the examples of such projects is the creation of so-named Supercomputer Metacenter made by three supercomputer centers located in Moscow and St. Petersburg and interconnected by virtual network with scheduled QoS parameters.

C.2.3.9 Ameritech Advanced Data Services (Note 1)

Ameritech Advanced Data Services (AADS) (Note 1) will be providing end-to-end telecommunications transport for the NaukaNet project.

AADS (Note 1) maintains a leading edge position with regard to high performance networking, the first telecommunications company invited to participate in the Internet2 program and currently operating the most successful GigaPOP in the US. It also manages the STAR TAP international switch (more information below). This is a very important advantage of Ameritech (Note 1) for purposes of the NaukaNet project as it can provide a single vendor management of the entire link (including the STAR TAP switch in Chicago).

AADS (Note 1) has provided very aggressive pricing end-to-end, based on the anticipated growth of the NaukaNet initiative, on the importance of the project, and as a part of their general support of such higher education initiatives. They have also agreed to maintain separate (and separately billable) accounts for the U.S. and Russian half-circuits of the link. The Russian account will be payable in local currency via their Russian telecommunications partner, Rostelecom (Note 1).

From its regional office in Copenhagen (which has many years of experience working on Russian telecommunications), Ameritech (Note 1) will be using Rostelecom (Note 1) for transport into Moscow.

AADS (Note 1) is one of the world's 10 largest telecommunications companies, with 69,000 employees and $23 billion in assets. It services 23 million customers in 40 countries, providing telephone, cellular, paging, cable TV, electronic commerce, Internet services, and more.

C.2.3.10 STAR TAP

"STAR TAP -- Science, Technology And Research Transit Access Point -- is a persistent infrastructure, funded by the National Science Foundation CISE Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure division, to facilitate the long-term interconnection and interoperability of advanced international networking in support of applications, performance measuring, and technology evaluations. The STAR TAP anchors the international vBNS connections program." [from the STAR TAP WWW site]

STAR TAP provides layer 2 ATM services based on service provided by Ameritech Advanced Data Services. It acts as a transient point for international connectivity. As such, all connections to STAR TAP are ATM-switched to other networks, including vBNS and other HPIIS networks.

STAR TAP is built on top of Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN) that is implemented on the same ATM switch infrastructure as MREN and Ameritech NAP. It currently has connections to:

  • vBNS OC-12
  • ESnet OC-3 (shared with NREN)
  • NREN OC-3 (shared with ESnet)
  • CANARIE 45Mbps (OC-3 coming soon)
  • SINGAREN 12 Mbps (45Mbps coming soon)

All incoming connections at STAR TAP are terminated at an ATM switch at Ameritech Central Office in Chicago. The topology of the STAR TAP is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: STAR TAP Topology

The existing ATM switch (Lucent) at the STAR TAP will be replaced with a Stratacom BPX ATM switch with standard capabilities of inverse-multiplexing — such that coming to STAR TAP at sub-T3 rates will be easier.

Connections between peers of STAR TAP are established on a bilateral basis. As mentioned earlier, STAR TAP does not offer layer 3 connectivity although this is to be added at a later time.

Traffic characteristics from the Lucent ATM switch is published every 5 minutes on secure web pages to members while public statistics web pages are updated daily. Per port statistics are being gathered at the current time and per VP/VC statistics gathering and publishing is under consideration.

Although STAR TAP is not a research network, it is offering extraordinary effort in making interconnectivity work. Experiences gained in this process will be shared with the networking community in establishing such a site in the future and improving on this model. STAR TAP will install and develop tools and technology in enhancing this network connectivity. It will work with all connected parties to integrate new technologies and services such as IPv6 and RSVP.

Organizations responsible for managing and implementing STAR TAP are:

  • Electronic Visualization Laboratory
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Ameritech Advanced Data Services

with commercial partner Teleglobe that is volunteering time and technology to STAR TAP.

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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.

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Updated: 1998-09-

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