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24 May 2006
A Record Breaking TNC 2006

Well over 500 delegates attended the TERENA Networking Conference 2006 held in Catania, Sicily from 15 – 18 May - a record in the 22 year history of TNC. TERENA Networking Conferences are prominent annual events, offering an opportunity to present and discuss technical and strategic aspects of the provision of networks and services to the research and education community, and the corresponding research and development activities. Bringing together leading figures from the research networking community in Europe and worldwide, the events provide a unique opportunity to learn about the latest developments and plans.

The conference was held at Le Ciminiere, an unusual and attractive conference and convention centre converted from a sulphur factory in Catania, the second largest city on the island. The venue provided all the technical facilities expected and more, while still encouraging a relaxed, semi-outdoor atmosphere both onsite and at some spectacular venues for the social events. Sicilian hospitality, wonderful food and beautiful weather contributed to the success of the event.

The conference programme was composed of up to five parallel tracks of talks by invited speakers, complemented by presentations of selected papers. Each day, there was a plenary session in which prominent experts delivered keynote presentations introducing topics that were discussed further in parallel sessions. Highlights of the programme can be found in the TERENA feature, “The Internet is a Place”.

The poster presentations numbered thirty-five this year and were very accessible in the corridor leading to the main lobby and included posters on 'Options for Dark Fibre-based Research & Education Network Infrastructure', 'StarPlane', 'Development of a Remote Participation Environment in Fusion Research' and 'EUChinaGRID – Interconnection and Interoperability of Grids between Europe and China'.

TERENA Task Force Meetings, TF-LCPM, TF-EMC2, TF-PR, TF-Mobility were held before the conference on Sunday and TF-VVC met on Thursday afternoon. Also on Sunday two major workshops running in parallel to the TERENA task force meetings took place. A Control Plane Workshop and Tutorial on Service-oriented Optical Networks reported research on control and signalling architectures in order to share the collective experiences gained by major research projects and activities around the globe and explore common outcomes and synergies. The tutorial was led by Gigi Karmous Edwards (MCNC) and Admela Jukan (Georgia Institute of Technology) and was sponsored by Juniper Networks. An IP Telephony Workshop, led by Erik Dobbelsteijn of SURFnet gave an overview of relevant VoIP and videoconferencing technologies, from an application point-of-view. The workshop included hands-on time spent using and setting up videoconferences with equipment from different vendors.

The TERENA Technical Advisory Council met on Monday morning to review the current focus of the TERENA Technical Programme and review the defined special interest areas: lower layer technologies, security, middleware, mobility, voice and video collaboration and Grid along with campus and end-to-end issues, which impact all of them. They dealt with the question of NREN support for videoconferencing services, improving email by authoritative whitelists and with issues involved in connecting schools.

Tuesday evening saw four Birds-of-a–Feather meetings (BoFs). The Extreme Networks BoF was on the role of the network to defend against security attacks. TF-LCPM held a BoF on the Exchange of Ideas for New Services (or killing the "not invented here” syndrome) and included discussions on the new requirements from the users and addressed ways to improve the exchange ideas to promote co-development of new services. The Nortel BoF on Phototonic Networks was led by Jan Willem Elion and provided an overview of the state of photonic network technology, highlighting network architectures. A BoF on VoIP raised issues related to the SIP protocol and discussed the role of NRENs in the developments in communication based on SIP.

In addition, the TERENA General Assembly held their 25th meeting on Thursday after the conference and there was a EUMEDCONNECT Project Meeting and the annual Juniper Networks R&E Summit as well as a Tutorial on Passive Network Monitoring organised by the LOBSTER Project. The Cisco Workshop has become a much-anticipated annual event after TNC.

The TERENA community offered PGP Key signing each day at the coffee breaks, organised by Andrew Cormack (UKERNA) and Freek Dijkstra (University of Amsterdam) and this proved to be a popular service.

 Selected papers from the conference will be published in September by Emerald Publishing is a special edition of ‘Campus Information Systems'.

An archive of the videostream of the conference presentations will be available from the TNC 2006 website at: www.terena.nl/events/tnc2006/programme/

The programme was planned by a committee of European and international experts and was ably led by Ingrid Melve of UNINETT.

The TERENA Networking Conference 2006 was organised by TERENA, the Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association, and hosted by Consortium GARR, the national research and education network of Italy and the Catania section of INFN, the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics. Local support was provided by Shougun Travel.

Consortium GARR provided technical support with a huge team of experts to stream the sessions live and to provide excellent wireless Internet connectivity throughout the extensive area of Le Ciminiere, and easy accreditation despite the extra challenges presented by Italian law.

TERENA is grateful to the following organisations, which have provided generous sponsorship for the conference: Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, CIENA, IBM, ADVA, COLT, Extreme Networks, cybertrust, Level3, Symantec, Glimmerglass, Nortel, Internet Security Systems and GARR Consortium.

Many contributions of photos submitted by participants paint a vivid picture of the conference. Please visit: http://www.terena.nl/events/tnc2006/gallery/