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15 May 2012
NRENum.net service goes global, recognised as viable alternative to e164.arpa for academia
ENUM for academia: it's not about free calls, it's about new services Illustration: (c) SWITCH

NRENum.net, the number mapping service for academia that facilitates VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and videoconferencing dialling, has become a global service. Within the past month, National Research and Education Network (NREN) organisations from Latin America and Australia have joined European participants in the service, taking the total number to 16 countries from three continents.

NRENum.net is also now recognised as a viable solution for seamless dialling interconnection between multiple technologies whether or not the standard system, the “Golden ENUM Tree”, using ENUM (E.164 Number Mapping) technology, is available.

Global reach

All members of the NRENum.net service met for the first time in a videoconference on 9 May 2012, when they approved changes to the service policy. This policy now explicitly states that NRENum.net is a viable ENUM service in its own right and provides a complementary alternative to the Golden Tree (e164.arpa), which faces political and financial challenges to its uptake in some countries.

NRENum.net participants acknowledge the usefulness of the service, which gives them a scalable solution for creating unified, interoperable, IP-based communication platforms. Bill Efthimiou, Unified Communications Engineer at the Australian NREN, AARNet, says it was “highly beneficial to join NRENum.net” to help scale the organsiation’s call routing and extend its reach into Europe. "Many of our members have interests in many parts of the world, not to mention the level of cross border research groups between institutions, both nationally and internationally: ENUM is an elegant and scalable method of making this reach possible."

Global collaboration

Provision of the NRENum.net service is a voluntary effort by the participating research networks. The service's recent progress has been achieved with excellent technical support from NIIF, the Hungarian NREN, which hosts and operates the primary (Tier-0) top-level DNS (Domain Name System). However, participants are discussing potential options to ensure the longer-term sustainability of the service. They are also discussing technical improvements to NRENum.net regarding number discovery (ENUM Crawler) and service statistics, the handling of virtual numbers, and security.

The new participants in NRENum.net are RNP (Brazil), INNOVA|RED (Argentina), and AARnet (Australia). Other participants are: AMRES (Serbia), ARNES (Slovenia), Belnet (Belgium), CARNet (Croatia), FCCN (Portugal), GARR (Italy), GRNET (Greece), LITNET (Lithuania), NIIF (Hungary), RedIRIS (Spain), SigmaNet (Latvia), SURFnet (Netherlands) and SWITCH (Switzerland). TERENA ensures the coordination of NRENum.net and provides secretariat support to the service. Other NRENs from the TERENA community in Europe, the RedCLARA community in Latin America and the APAN community in the Asia-Pacific region are considering joining the NRENum.net service in the near future.

Further Information

NRENum.net uses special DNS (Domain Name System) record types to translate a telephone number into a URI (Uniform Resource Identitfier) or IP (Internet Protocol) address that can be used in Internet communications.

NRENum.net is a global ENUM service for academia. It is recognised as a valid and complementary alternative to the Golden ENUM (e164.arpa) Tree and provides countries with the possibility to publish ENUM data. The NRENum.net tree can be queried publicly by anyone but only registered NRENs can populate the tree as their national registry.

NRENum.net website.