Common NREN Information Model
Procedure and F.A.Q. for the 2014 Questionnaire

If you have any questions not addressed in these FAQ, please send an email to Bert van Pinxteren and Johanna Saladas at the TERENA Secretariat.

These F.A.Q. are intended to answer some of the more common questions that have been asked by staff completing previous questionnaires. We have attempted to make the questionnaire as self-explanatory and inituitive as possible, however in some instances additional help may be needed.

What about this new interface?

The new interface has been developed in order to allow better reporting possibilities and to also give participating NRENs better access to the data. Note that the new interface is not yet completely bug-free! If you notice things, please let us know.

One known bug is that sometimes when changing your answer to a checkbox question something goes wrong. Simply reloading the page will bring the page looking back to normal again.

Another known bug has to do with the reporting. The bar graphs sometimes show values that are off, mostly because of problems with the decimal separator. In addition, sometimes NRENs that did not answer are shown in the report anyway. These problems will be fixed in the near future.

The new interface shows compendium data going back to 2008. The intention is to transfer data from earlier years into the new interface as well, but this will take longer. In the meantime, the old interface will still be available.


NRENs that have completed the 2013 questionanaire will find that some of their data from last year is already shown in the relevant fields. If there is no change, just leave the data as it is, alternatively update with fresh data as appropriate.

This year, there is a new model with a new process, which involves the following steps:
  • Request access to the Compendium, using federated login.
  • After logging in, you will be taken to a page where you can select your NREN. The request is then reviewed manually by one of the Compendium administrators. If approved, you will receive an e-mail message.
  • The e-mail message will tell you that you have been approved and for which NREN. It contains a direct link to the Compendium. Once logged in, you will be able to respond to the 2014 survey and you will be able to do several other things. After the first time, logging in again will automatically take you to your NREN.
  • Note that it is possible that more than one person from the same NREN gets the possibility to answer survey questions.

As in last year's questionnaire, some of the sub-questions are conditional upon your answers to the main questions. You will only see the sub-questions relevant to your answer to the main question.

If you prefer to work with a printed questionnaire, a .doc version of the document can be DOWNLOADED soon and printed.

Notes on completion of the questionnaire

1. Which base date?

Unless otherwise specified, please provide us with the data as of the 31st of January, 2014 (or as close to that as possible).

2. What are ISCED levels?

ISCED Is the UNESCO scheme for International Standard Classification of Education:

In contrast to previous years, and in conformity with developments in UNESCO, we are asking you to use the ISCED 2011 classification system, as opposed to the the ISCED 1997 scheme that was used previously. Note that not all countries may have mapped their education systems to the new ISCED levels yet.

  • Level 8 - Doctoral or equivalent level (= the old level 6);
  • Level 7 - Master's or equivalent level (was part of the old level 5);
  • Level 6 - Bachelor's or equivalent level (was part of the old level 5);
  • Level 5 - Short-cycle tertiary education (was part of the old level 5);
  • Level 4 - Post-secondary non-tertiary education. This can include, for example, short vocational training programmes (= old level 4);
  • Levels 2 and 3: Secondary education (level 2 can also stand for the second level of basic education);
  • Level 1: Primary or basic education;
  • Level 0: Pre-primary eductation.

In theory, your Ministry of Education sends information to UNESCO about the edcuational sector in your country on a regular basis. Therefore, they should be able to tell you what types of institutions in your country fall in which category. They should also know how many institutions of each category there are. More information is available from the UNESCO ISCED website.

More information is available on the ISCED classification can be obtained from the UNESCO website or by downloading the document (in English).

3. What do we mean by the term 'network' in Questionnaire Section B?

We would like to receive information about the entire network that is managed by your organisation, excluding links outside your national territory.

4. Questions on External Connections - B.16

Note that we are interested in the capacity for production purposes, not in any additional links that may be there for the purpose of giving resilience. Some of your capacity to Europe may be used for transiting to intercontinental services; please do NOT subtract for that.

5. Questions on the types of traffic

Some unclarity may arise because the NREN itself is a source and destination of traffic.

An NREN's ftp servers, data servers, multi-media repositories, Akamai servers etc. are all connected to the NREN network just like clients. For the purposes of the Compendium traffic data, they can be considered as clients. So the 'Customer connections cloud' on the left-hand side of the diagram includes customer sites and the NREN traffic generators and sinks.

Some of the traffic from customers and the NREN servers goes to other customers; not all of it goes to 'all external networks and peerings'. This traffic appears on the NREN network, and then goes back to the clients and the NREN servers, along with traffic from external networks and peerings.

Thus, T1 traffic is greater than T3 traffic, since some of the T1 traffic stays within the NREN community and does not go to external networks.
T4 is external traffic that goes to the customers, but it combines with the inter-client traffic to form T2.

This leads to the following relationships:

T4 + (T1 - T3) = T2


T4 + T1 = T2 + T3

6. Question B.26 Congestion

We would like to get your best estimate of congestion levels. For example, if the MRTG trace of an access line is at the line bandwidth for long periods, or if the router interface shows lots of packet drops, then there's congestion in the access network. That one is obvious. But how do you know if the bottleneck (if there is one) is in the campus LAN?

You may need to look inside the campus network, or at least at the ethernet port of their edge router. If a big university cannot use more than ~4Mbps of an E3 or STM-1 access line, they may be limited by a 10Mbps ethernet somewhere in their LAN.

We think NRENs are the organisations that are best qualified to assess the state of their network, particularly on the existence and location of bottlenecks. This could come either from constant monitoring or by using tools like clink or pingplotter.

Funding and Staffing

For the sake of comparability, we are interested in budget and staff information about what we consider to be 'NREN activities'. Staff would include directly employed staff and (an estimate of) staff effort outsourced to other organisation. For those NRENs that are part of a larger organisation, it would also be good to have an estimate of how much effort of the larger body is indirectly at work for the NREN, for example in finance and HR.