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One could say that by being connected to the rest of the academic world through an NREN your isolation from research projects, high cost lab equipment, and world-class leading edge knowledge will disappear. If you are a physicist you can contemplate joining research teams using the Large Halidron Collider in CERN in Switzerland, an astronomer can manipulate in real time a telescope in Chile or access the data from radio telescopes, a medic can join in high definition seminars on advanced techniques in surgery or remote diagnostics, climate specialists can access and provide data to disaster management databases, an economist can access and contribute to economic modeling resources, and everyone can gain access to the thousands of on-line specialist journals.
Even without large international bandwidth NRENs can host mirror sites that keep local traffic local, a typical example being Digital Libraries which can download international journals and databases that need only be downloaded once to a country and then accessed at high speed on the country’s own high speed backbone. Another example of high bandwidth local use is the Country-wide Classroom project which is bringing IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) classes to cities in India without an IIT, and which runs on the currently being deployed National Knowledge Network, the $1.5 billion project of the Government of India.
How can you access these networks?
The first port of call for such an enquiry is to contact the Chief Technology Officer at your own institution and to enquire about the status of its connection to your NREN and of the speeds that you can expect on your office PC, your computer lab workstation, or your campus WiFi network. You can also look up the links to your own NREN, provided above, and see what services they provide and their plans for the future.
We invite comments, questions and suggestions on this exciting topic.
For more information of the growth of TEIN3, please see the feature story.
Click here to read the first part of the series.