Technical

TERENA Technical Advisory Council

Lund Meeting- June 1999


AGENDA

  1. Introduction and Objectives by VP Technical Programme
  2. Report on Task Forces and Pilot Project Status by TERENA CTO
  3. Prepared 10 minute presentations on Important Technical Issues for the following countries :
  4. Collaborations between TERENA, IBM and Cisco
  5. Short Presentation by Martin Belcher on CHIP Project
  6. Open Discussion on these issues and the technical areas identified at the October 1998 Technical Assembly
  7. Identification of Actions for TERENA / TTC / TFs

MEETING REPORT

1. Introduction

The meeting was opened by Brian Gilmore, TERENA VP Technical Programme who set the scene for the meeting. He stated that the objectives for the meeting were: Rather than a round table of unprepared national updates this meeting there would be short prepared presentations focussing on a few specific issues from five NRNs. If this is successful, it will repeated at the next TAC with a different group of NRNs.

2. Task Forces and Pilot Projects

John Dyer gave a report on the active TERENA Task Forces. TF-TANT is busy working on the QUANTUM Test Programme. TF-CACHE is addressing operational issues of cache hierarchy management and some of its members are working on pilot projects. TF-CHIC is working on the development of a proposal for a large scale indexing pilot for European research pages. All of the Task Forces are meeting in June 1999.

The three pilot projects currently underway were described:

Two further projects are planned to start later in 1999: Information on the two recently completed projects was given: The CTO reminded the TAC of the Special Interest Areas identified by the Dresden Technical Assembly in 1998 and said that the TAC should consider if these were still relevant. The current list is: It was pointed out that the US has numerous initiatives under the Internet2 banner and we should keep aware of them. It is unlikely that any joint projects will materialise, but cross-membership of TERENA and I2 Task Forces & Working Groups is possible in order to encourage efficiency and interworking of solutions.

3. National Presentations

3.1 Poland (Stanislaw Starzak & Cezary Mazurek, POL-34/155)

There was a brief account of the development of the POL 34/155 network since 1997. POL 34/155 have recently been talking with the local power provider about obtaining long distance broadband links. The plan for Poland is to operate an academic optical network by the year 2002. Poland recognises the importance of working with TERENA members and other European agencies on these developments and wants to become more active in the TERENA Technical Programme. The planned optical network development programme will be complete by 2005 and includes an element of application and service development in the later stages.

To facilitate the development, POL 34/155 has Working Groups in areas such as: MBone, 6Bone, QoS, Network Management, Telematics Services and Standard Services. It is anticipated that major service areas for the optical network will include: Distance Learning and Digital Libraries with Multimedia content. To support these applications Differential Classes of Network Service will be needed.

POL 34/155 will be working with CORBA middleware, RDF metadata and LDAP directory technology to develop new services.

Slides from Poland

3.2 Croatia (Nevenko Bartolincic & Miroslav Milinovic, CARNet)

Croatia has been suffering from slow development of wide area links due to the lack of will of service providers to provide broadband solutions. This has driven CARNet to look for alternative solutions with the power provider and use of the drainage system that has a comprehensive duct network. In cities such as Zagreb progress has been more rapid with 622Mbps links already deployed. CARNet is satisfied with ATM from a technological point of view but find it expensive and is looking at gigabit ethernet as an alternative. For the local loop xDSL technology looks very promising, but the telecom operators are not much interested in providing this as a commercial service.

CARNet is involved in the management of the Croatian Information Space with developments in both indexing and caching. CARNet operate a national cache infrastructure, search engine and portal service. It is likely that their directory service will migrate from WHOIS++ to LDAP in the near future.

Information on the CARNet Users Conference (CUC'99) taking place in Zagreb on September 28-30, 1999 was given. The theme of the conference is Internet Learning including topics such as: Internet Education, Distance Learning, User Support and Training the Trainers. The conference is open to all and the language used will be English.

Slides from Croatia

3.3 Germany (Peter Kaufmann, DFN)

There was a presentation on the G-WIN and regional testbed developments in Germany. Testbeds have been installed since 1997 to examine issues such as the use of high-speed ATM, Fibre channel, IP switching and developments in fibre optic technology such as WDM. On the Munich/Berlin/Erlangen testbed, three WDM wavelengths have been used to provide three 2.4 Gbps paths. Two are used to support stable application paths and the third is used for network technology testing. Initially this used HiPPI, but inherent problems in the protocol led to poor performance so IP/SDH is being installed as an alternative using Cisco routers.

Approximately 10 institutions are involved in the high speed application programme experimenting with technologies such as high quality video streaming which is being used in the medical field. Other applications include supercomputer simulation of Black Holes and molecular dynamics. In addition, television and movie post production, cutting and animation is also supported. DFN has around 50 or 60 advanced projects in all.

Slides from Germany

3.4 Italy (Claudio Allocchio, INFN-GARR)

GARR provides a full range of network services to its users including: Web caching, News, Mail, Network Information Retrieval and a Library Service known as IBDD. Technical Activity is co-ordinated by GARR Working Groups which pro-actively involve the GARR membership. This avoid duplication of effort and establishes a network of individuals working in common areas.

GARR has project proposals to work in areas such as: QoS, Multicast Services, IPv6 migration, Virtual Museums, Distance Learning Support, Virtual Laboratories and on GARR-it2. Claudio stressed the importance of the TERENA membership working together to co-ordinate activities and propose pan-European projects.

Slides from Italy

3.5 Finland (Klaus Lindberg, FUNET/CSC)

FUNET presented four major of technical development which they identified as important for the development of their network. They have a test network that provides a testbed for new equipment and protocols. This is being used to test DiffServ solutions using a mixture if test and real traffic. Experience on the testbed gives them operational exposure to new techniques before it is migrated to the production network. FUNET have been working on accounting software developed from the tcpdump programme. The software which runs on a Linux based Pentium collects and presents data in real-time and is currently working well at speeds up to 80Mbps. There are plans to enhance the system to run at speeds up to 622Mbps.

FUNET also has an authentication project being undertaken in collaboration with the Government based on an electronic identification card issued to Finnish citizens. Links to commercial cards are under discussion. The goal is to have a single card that can provide uniform authentication within the Finnish University community.

Video Conferencing and Streaming is currently supported using H.261, MPEG1 and MPEG2. It is planned to migrate the conferencing to use H.263 in the future along with a reliable Linux based implementation. Multicast is supported on the FUNET network using PIM, MSDP/MBGP and DVMRP.

Slides from Finland

4. Potential Commercial Collaborations

4.1 IBM (Bert Dekkers, IBM Internet Division)

Bert Dekkers role is with the IBM Internet2 Project Office looking at world-wide developments of the NGS, I2, NGI. The IBM I2 application centre in Chicago has been set up to motivate the industry to speed up development in the applications and middleware areas. IBM see Europe as an important source of expertise which in some technical areas it leads the world.

IBM have in the recent past been working very closely with SURFnet and the Telematics Institute in the Netherlands in areas such as video delivery and caching with a view to supporting collaborative styles of working. One possible target is to look at pervasive computing on platforms other than a traditional PC.

IBM wants to work with academia and other commercial partners in Europe and sees TERENA as an ideal vehicle to achieve this. IBM are currently in discussions with TERENA and some of its members to put together a project on replication and caching.

4.2 Cisco (Bob Aitken, Cisco Advanced Internet Division)

Bob Aitken explained that Cisco is not interested in European replication of the work already being undertaken by the Internet2 partners. Cisco is interested in looking at new areas of development with potential product horizons a few years out. In particular Cisco is interested in ubiquitous computing which will include the need for: middleware, persistent presence, mobility and virtual reality. Cisco have asked TERENA and its membership to develop ideas in these areas.

5. Presentation by Martin Belcher on CHIP Project

Martin Belcher of ILRT at Bristol University, UK gave a verbal report on the CHIP pilot. He presented a case for CHIP to move into full service. Although the project has demonstrated the principle of making a central repository of information on Internet related projects it has not yet attained a critical mass of content. There were significant worries about the viability of achieving this as a centrally-funded activity. The three alternatives for the project were discussed.

These are:

Martin expressed the benefits of a funded cataloguing effort as: Although many of the NRN's express support for use of the service, few are willing to make the effort of providing input data. The discussion touched on the area of data entry with the suggestion that NRNs might be given on-line access to the database to make entries, but this was ruled out on the basis of loss of Quality Assurance of the data. David Chadwick suggested that since most funding bodies already made this sort of information available as a matter of course, maybe this could be used as a data source.

In discussions no conclusive decision was reached and the project is to be referred to the TTC for a decision.

6. Open Discussions

Poland expressed a wish to be more actively involved in the TERENA Technical Programme and sees it as a way or learning from others experience. Collaboration for them is a crucial point.

It was agreed that LDAP was becoming a more important technology for supporting directory services and many countries are moving from WHOIS++ and QUIPU (pure X.500) based systems. Some thought was also given as to whether or not TERENA should explore generic access of DANTE's NameFlow for the TERENA membership, but there was not a overwhelming interest in this.

Authentication was raised as a potential area of interest by Ton Verschuren of SURFnet. Although ICE-CAR has been undertaking excellent work in this area encouraging the development of CAs, it is limited in its coverage and does not have a critical mass of users. Since ICE-CAR will continue in its role until the end of the year 2000, it was agreed that TERENA should wait until then before pursuing a role.

7. Common Themes Emerging from the Meeting

8. Any Other Business

John Dyer mentioned that on Wednesday 9 June there would be a Streaming Media BoF organised by Kevin Meynell of TERENA. It is open to all.

Peter Valkenburg mentioned that TERENA was organising a meeting of potential partners to examine the possibility of starting a pan-European indexing initiative to provide high quality access into on-line European Research Information.


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