TERENA Technical Advisory Council

Lisbon Meeting - May 2000


1. Welcome and apologies
2. Round of introductions of those present
3. Review of the progress of the Technical Programme
4. Feedback from the TAC on the progress of the Technical Programme and Advise on new initiatives
5. Advise on the future direction of the Technical Programme and Review of the Special Interest Areas
6. Exchange of information about networking activities
7. Any Other Business and Close


1. Welcome and apologies

2. Round of introductions of those present

TERENA’s Vice-President Technical Programme, Kees Neggers, chaired the meeting. Twenty TERENA member organisations were represented. Apologies had been received from IPM (Iran), UKERNA (United Kingdom) and DANTE.

The following persons attended the meeting:

    ACOnet (AT) Wilfried Wöber
    CESNET (CZ) Jan Gruntorád
    RENATER (FR) David Crochemore
    DFN (DE) Peter Kaufmann
    HUNGARNET (HU) Lajos Bálint
    HEAnet (IE) Mike Norris and Michael Walsh
    GARR (IT) Marina Buzzi
    LITNET (LT) Vytautas Reklaitis
    SURFnet (NL) Klaas Wierenga
    UNINETT (NO) Trond Skjesol
    POL-34 (PL) Stanislaw Starzak
    ARNES (SI): Avgust Jauk
    RedIRIS (ES) Diego Lopez and Celestino Tomas
    SWITCH (CH) Thomas Brunner and Ernst Heiri
    ULAKBIM (TR) Tugrul Yilmaz and Erdogan Yilmaz
    NORDUnet  Peter Villemoes
    CERN Olivier Martin and David Williams
    Cisco Bob Aiken
    IBM David Martin
    ESA Stefano Zatti
    TTC members Peter Valkenburg
    Task Force leaders Egon Verharen 
    TERENA staff Kostas Anagnostakis, Valentino Cavalli, Yuri Demchenko and Karel Vietsch
    TERENA Executive Kees Neggers and Brian Gilmore
3. Review of the progress of the Technical Programme

Brian Gilmore (on the collaboration between CSIRTs) and Karel Vietsch (on the other items) presented a status report on the TERENA Technical Programme. The slides used by Karel Vietsch can be found at .

Karel Vietsch started the presentations by reminding the meeting of the official tasks of the TAC. They are to review the progress of the Technical Programme; to advise on the future direction of the Technical Programme; to propose new initiatives; to exchange information about networking activities; to propose new TTC members; and once every two years to review the Special Interest Areas. The current SIAs were defined in October 1998; they are: Web caching / indexing / searching; Videoconferencing and related applications; QoS, differentiated service, RSVP, measurement etc.; Security infrastructure (certification, signatures etc.); High-speed networking (Gigabit Ethernet, IP over SONET, ATM).

The current activities in the Technical Programme can be divided in Task Forces, Projects (Major Projects, Minor Projects and External Projects) and new initiatives (that may or may not lead to new Task Forces or Projects).

Lower Layers and QoS etc.

On 22 November 1999, TERENA organised in conjunction with MCI Worldcom a Wavelengths Workshop in the TERENA offices in Amsterdam, which was attended by 20 people. After several introductory presentations the discussion focussed on the requirements for wide-area Gigabit experimentation. A full report on the workshop can be found at .

TERENA participates as an Assistant Contractor in the TEQUILA project, an FP5 project that started in January 2000 and is planned to run until June 2002. The project aims to produce a set of service definition and traffic engineering tools to obtain quantitative end-to-end QoS guarantees. TERENA has a minor role in the project, mostly in maintaining the project Web site ( ) and organising workshops in 2001 and 2002.

"User-level network performance monitoring programme" is a minor project to measure goodput, i.e. actual useful data transfer to/from the user’s application. The project started in December 1999 and will run until June 2000. It is executed by Cees de Laat and Hans Blom of Utrecht University. More information can be found at and at .

The largest activity in the Lower Layer area is TF-TANT. TF-TANT succeeded TERENA Task Force TF-TEN in November 1998 and is a joint activity with DANTE. It carries out the QUANTUM Test Programme and other lower-layer testing. TF-TANT has a very large participation and is very successful. Topics covered include MPLS; Differentiated Services; RSVP to ATM mapping; ATM signalling; Policy Control; IP over ATM; Flow Measurement and Analysis; Multicast (IP and ATM); IP version 6.

According to the Terms of Reference of TF-TANT that were agreed in 1998, TF-TANT would finish on 31 May 2000 and could be extended only by approval of the TTC. Since the QUANTUM project has been extended to October 2000, the TTC has agreed to extend the lifetime of TF-TANT to October 2000 as well. Nevertheless the time has come to prepare for new activities after October 2000, and the TTC had discussed this issue in its most recent meeting. It is clear that there is a need for further lower-layer testing and experimentation after the lifetime of TF-TANT, and there is also a great interest with the experts to undertake such work. New work will need to cover many areas, and the TTC could foresee activities in DiffServ (which includes Policy Control), IP version 6, Monitoring, MPLS (incl. traffic engineering, VPNs etc.) and High-speed photonic networking. As a first step the TTC members involved (Olav Kvittem and Dimitrios Kalogeras) will approach the key experts to make plans for activities after October. These preliminary plans will then be discussed in the next TF-TANT meeting in Dublin in July and on the mailing list, with a view to having some concrete plans ready by September. The organisation of these new activities was an item for discussion in this meeting of the TAC (see agenda item 4 below).

Videoconferencing and streaming

Litton Network Access Systems has donated two CAMVision-2 7615 MPEG-2 video encoder/decoders to TERENA. These can be borrowed free-of-charge by TERENA member organisations, to do videoconferencing or demonstrations.

Howard Davies (DANTE) has made the suggestion for a possible new joint technical activity between experts in the TERENA community on Scalable Videoconferencing. This idea will be discussed further in TF-STREAM.

TF-STREAM is a new Task Force that had its kick-off meeting on 10 December 1999. TF-STREAM has an initial mandate of one year, coinciding with the calendar year 2000. More information can be found at and at .

Caching and network storage

The "FTP Mirror Tracker" enables transparent, user-controlled redirection to the nearest FTP mirror sites that are exact replicas of the original source. It is the product of a Minor Project carried out by Alexei Novikov (Moscow) and Martin Hamilton (Loughborough). The Project Report was published in April 2000. More information can be found at and .

The project "Extended Cache Statistics" was carried out by Jens Vöckler (Hanover). It has produced a software suite for analysis of data extracted from Web cache log files. The Project Report was published in April 2000. More information can be found at and .

TF-CACHE was established in 1996. Thanks to TF-CACHE and various projects, TERENA has built up an excellent world-wide reputation and track record in the area of Web caching. Web caching is now well developed and is increasingly becoming a commercial activity. Hence there is a need to look again at the scope of the work of TF-CACHE. This issue was discussed in detail in the meeting of TF-CACHE in Lisbon on 21 May 2000. That meeting had distinguished a number of trends: in important parts of Europe research networks are no longer suffering from congestion, so there is less need for caching; there is nowadays a strong development in industry which provides ready solutions, thereby diminishing the need for our community to develop caching solutions itself; caching moves to the content providers, who are becoming responsible for information provision, rather than it being a problem owned by the users or the networks. All this diminishes the need for a TF-CACHE. The future big jump will be in streaming. However the experts currently involved in TF-CACHE are still much focused on static objects. Therefore it was concluded that TF-CACHE could be dissolved now, with the storage of streaming media to be taken up initially in TF-STREAM and later possibly in a new group. However the tf-cache mailing list will continue to exist and also TERENA will organise a BoF on caching at each of its annual conferences.

Indexing and searching

Karel Vietsch introduced the TERENA Portal Concept, which had been launched by John Dyer in the TERENA General Assembly meeting in October. It combines the expertise of TERENA’s community in indexing/searching, caching/storage and streaming. A project plan was produced by John Dyer in February, and is currently being discussed with potential partners.

Security and Directories: Middleware

The DIRECT project is a Minor Project, conceived in collaboration with DANTE, aimed to help migration to LDAP. The project is carried out by SURFnet, DANTE and TERENA staff, and will finish in June 2000. More information can be found at .

An LDAP BoF meeting took place in the TERENA offices on 12 May 2000. This meeting discussed the progress of the DIRECT project. It also discussed integration of X.509 PKIs and LDAP. DFN’s directory centre gave a presentation on this subject. It was recognised that different national research networks have different strategies for supplying their customers with PKI solutions. A next meeting will look into specific proposals for CA policies across national research networks and for naming and storage of certificate entries. Global Directory Index System was a third topic in the BoF, which was introduced by three presentations. It was agreed that a pilot system using the DESIRE distributed indexing system and the GIDS server of Catalogix should be set up. DANTE will provide a storage facility for the index objects for the purpose of the pilot. The meeting felt that a TERENA activity in the form of a TERENA Task Force on LDAP Deployment was appropriate. Draft Terms of Reference will be drawn up. Meetings could be adjacent to NameFlow meetings. The next meeting will be towards the end of September 2000.

The first European Middleware Workshop will take place in Leiden on 19-20 June 2000. It is organised by TERENA and the Telematics Institute in collaboration with the Internet2 Middleware Initiative and SURFnet. The workshop will focus on middleware needed for networked multimedia applications. Participation is limited to 40 persons.

Brian Gilmore gave a short presentation on the collaboration between CSIRTs in Europe. After the end of the SIRCE pilot, three very successful meetings of CSIRTs had been organised by TERENA: in Amsterdam on 24 September 1999, again in Amsterdam on 21 January 2000, and in Vienna on 11-12 May 2000. Representatives of some 20 CSIRTs of national research networks had participated in these meetings as well as some commercial CSIRTs. The Vienna meeting had been combined with a one-day seminar on current practice in CSIRTs and on incident taxonomy. This cert-coord group would now continue as a TERENA Task Force, chaired by Gorazd Bozic (ARNES). Deliverables of the new Task Force include: regular meetings (2-3 times per year) with adjacent seminars, a ‘Trusted Introducer’ service to be subcontracted to M&I/Stelvio, an Incident Description and Registration Framework, Security contact entry in the RIPE database, a Clearinghouse for Incident Handling Tools, Training of new (staff of) CSIRTs, CSIRTs contact information, liaison with FIRST.

Other items

A Minor Project on "E-mail decision making" had started in March 2000. It is carried out by Jacob Palme and his collaborators in Stockholm. For more information see .

The "2000 Edition" of the Guide to Network Resource Tools was published as a book in October 1999. Work is on progress for a new revised version, which will be published on the Web towards the end of 2000, and possibly afterwards also as a book.

Virtual and Persistent Presence is an interesting area of Internet development that may be of great importance to the TERENA community. On Wednesday afternoon 24 May 2000 a BoF would be held on this subject at the TERENA Networking Conference 2000.

In summary Karel Vietsch stated that there was a strong increase of activities in the TERENA Technical Programme. This was especially the case for collaborative (as opposed to subcontracted) actions. New areas were coming in to the Technical Programme, and there were shifts in existing areas. TERENA staff were working very hard, especially because of the current staff shortages, but found the support from the TERENA community very rewarding.

4. Feedback from the TAC on the progress of the Technical Programme and Advise on new initiatives

The discussion first focused on the TERENA Portal Concept. Wilfried Wöber underlined the value of the plan but warned not to enter into competition with commercial undertakings. Keeping this in mind, a number of TAC members expressed support for the Portal plan and encouraged TERENA to develop the ideas further.

The second topic of discussion was the continuation of lower-layer testing and experimentation activities after the lifetime of TF-TANT. Jan Gruntorád felt that TF-TANT was very successful, although the group had become too large now. Among the technical experts involved there was at this moment uncertainty about the future. Jan Gruntorád urged TERENA to take the lead now, not to wait for whatever related activities might be organised in the context of Géant, but structure the future activity and find leaders of new, smaller groups. Several participants supported this view. Mike Norris added that TF-TANT had reported that some of the work it wanted to do could not be done thus far. Wilfried Wöber emphasised TERENA’s responsibility for the activity; TERENA should take action to organise activities after TF-TANT, ensuring continuity. In his view the two main functions of TF-TANT had been in collaboration between experts from different countries and in dissemination of information; both should be continued.

Karel Vietsch replied that TERENA was prepared to take its responsibility but that it would not be right for TERENA staff members to prescribe the content and organisation of the future activities. Plans for new testing and experimentation would have to be originated in a bottom-up way by the experts themselves who are currently in TF-TANT. TERENA’s first step would be to encourage them – starting with the experiment leaders and the Task Force chairman – to draft such plans and discuss them with the other TF-TANT members in the period up to October. Organisational structures were best decided upon once the content of the new activities and the interest to participate in them had become clear.

5. Advise on the future direction of the Technical Programme and Review of the Special Interest Areas

The meeting had been reminded of the current Special Interest Areas at the beginning of agenda item 3. The Terms of Reference of the Technical Programme say that once every two years the TAC shall review the SIAs. The TTC had discussed the current SIAs in its meeting of 27 April 2000. The TTC felt that in general no big changes were needed to the current list of SIAs, but that some broadening, respectively focusing might be in order. The TTC suggested to redefine the SIAs as follows: a) Lower Layers, b) Videoconferencing and Streaming, c) Caching, Indexing and Searching, d) Middleware, e) QoS (including DiffServ).

A first topic of discussion was Mobile Networking. It was generally felt that this was an area that TERENA should get involved in some time in the future. Klaas Wierenga thought that the area warranted a separate SIA, or at least a get-together of its own. Bob Aiken pointed out that not all interesting things in Mobile Networking come under the heading of Middleware. After some discussion it was concluded that Mobile Networking should be added as a SIA, but that TERENA activity in this field need not start right away but only later.

Answering a question from Karel Vietsch, David Williams gave as his opinion that Grid Networking did not need a separate SIA at this time since many of the interesting aspects were covered by Middleware.

Olivier Martin thought it important to specify the "Lower Layers" SIA; this should include IPv6, lambda networking, MPLS, VPNs etc. Also, "caching" should be changed to "content delivery".

In answer to a question from Wilfried Wöber it was pointed out that activities in the area of security would come under Middleware.

The meeting reached consensus on the following new list of SIAs:

6. Exchange of information about networking activities

In a quick tour-de-table meeting participants each mentioned one or two of the most interesting new developments in their organisation:

Bob Aiken mentioned Cisco’s University Research Programme, which would be the topic of a BoF session at the TERENA Networking Conference 2000.

Peter Villemoes mentioned NORDUNet’s initiative towards wavelengths.

Tugrul Yilmaz mentioned plans from ULAKBIM to increase its international connectivity to 40 Mbps.

Jan Gruntorád spoke about the Gigabit project in the Czech Republic, introducing 2.5 Gbps between a number of cities. As a consequence, LANs and MANs might now become the new bottlenecks.

Vytautas Reklaitis said that LITNET was mostly interested in content delivery, QoS and improving its external connectivity.

Celestino Tomas mentioned contracts in Spain with the content industry. The funding body will set up a Spanish Academic Portal, based on the user communities.

Wilfried Wöber said that ACOnet was confronted with a difficult financial situation and that no big leaps forward were to be expected.

Lajos Bálint told that HUNGARNET had succeeded in increasing its capacity by almost two orders of magnitude with a practically constant budget. Keeping a Schoolnet project separately from the information infrastructure development program of the academic and research community in Hungary proved to be far from optimum and a more integrated approach has now been inititated.

David Crochemore mentioned the national bandwidth increase in RENATER2. US connectivity would soon go from 155 Mbps to 622 Mbps. Special areas of interest to RENATER were multicast, IPv6 connectivity, connecting museums and libraries, and Le CERT RENATER, which would get an increase in staff.

Peter Kaufmann told that in Germany the Gigabit Wissenschaftsnetz would become operational in two weeks time. Much effort would be put in the Grid initiative, distributed computing etc. He envisaged that these German initiatives could later develop into an area of pan-European collaboration.

Egon Verharen asked for a contact person from every country for TF-STREAM.

Klaas Wierenga gave a short introduction to the Gigaport project in the Netherlands.

Stanislaw Starzak gave a presentation on POL-34/155 and in particular on the PIONEER project, which will introduce a Polish Optical Internet in 2001-2005, a multi-lambda network.

Avgust Jauk mentioned ARNES’ activity to build a network on dark fibre.

Thomas Brunner mentioned two interesting developments in Switzerland: a DWDM pilot in Geneva with several lambdas, and PKI on Swiss campuses.

Stefano Zatti gave a short general presentation on ESA and in particular on its networking activities. QoS and security are main areas of interest.

David Martin mentioned two of IBM’s many activities: the CLEVER project in Almaden (which could be of interest to the TERENA Portal) and videoconferencing activities in collaboration with Internet2.

Olivier Martin told that CERN was increasing its network capacity. A main concern was to bring the LAN up to speed while maintaining security. A proposal for a Datagrid project had been submitted to the CEC. Videoconferencing (H.323, MPEG1/MPEG2) was also an important application area.

As to HEAnet’s activities, Mike Norris mentioned in particular videoconferencing and video-on-demand. Connectivity to the commercial Internet, Internet2 and TEN-155 would be upgraded.

Marina Buzzi described GARR’s latest topology. Videoconferencing and QoS were special items of interest.

Brian Gilmore mentioned that UKERNA was in the process of upgrading the national backbone to 2.4 Gbps. UKERNA would now also cater for colleges for Further Education. He mentioned JISC’s initiatives on content. Middleware will become an important activity.

7. Any Other Business and Close

David Williams asked which national research networks were seriously working on IPv6. The answer was affirmative for the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Czech Republic, although almost all organisations represented had some activity in the IPv6 area.

In answer to a second question from David Williams it turned out that almost all networks represented were deploying multicast.

The chairman closed the meeting, thanking the participants for their contributions to the lively discussions.

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