By joining forces the R&E Networks can be bigger players in relevant markets — such as the intercontinental transmission market — than today where spending is less directed. Hence, the R&E Networks can be much more ambitious and create a more far reaching result, yielding a sustainable high-performance global interconnect for research and education. By joining forces, the leading R&E Networks have the potential to bring this global R&E network infrastructure within reach.
An important piece of the vision is that the R&E Networks that now subscribe to the GNA strategy agree to bring their procurements in line with the overall architecture, as much as possible. First, this makes it possible to bring pieces of the infrastructure together early on. Second, it allows the NRENs –and their funders– collectively to understand and contribute to a bigger picture.
The GNA embraces open standards, such as those ratified by the IETF, the OGF, the IEEE, and other globally recognized standards bodies, as much as possible. Also, the GNA adheres to the resource management policies for IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, autonomous system numbers, domain names, etc., and collaborates with the authorities of these resources.
The move to this Global Network Architecture, once adopted and embraced, will of course not happen immediately. We expect that we will see the first instances of the outlined architectural elements emerge in the areas where critical ingredients such as bandwidth are more affordable and available. We expect other regions to follow, when feasible, and to leverage the results and experiences of the first implementations.
The starting point for the technical working group driving the GNA initiative was the document prepared for a meeting of Global R&E Network CEO Forum titled “Global R&E Network Architecture Program” authored by Prof. Jianping Wu (CERNET) and H. David Lambert (Internet2), dated April 30, 2013.
In this white paper, the authors presented the rationale for R&E Networks collaborating on the intercontinental R&E network infrastructure and argued that by collaborating the R&E Networks can move themselves into a much stronger position for realizing a next generation global network infrastructure for research and education.
The GNA challenge kicked off with a face-to-face meeting in Maastricht, The Netherlands in June 2013 and a subsequent series of video conferences, further sharpened and detailed this starting point, resulting in a high-level description of a Global Network Architecture for research and education.
Since then, the GNA Technical WG has had a number of face to face meetings in which 20 – 30 people from R&E Networks and Exchange Points from all over the world participate. The aim of this Working Group is to deliver a ambitious and all-inclusive blueprint for a global network interconnect for Research and Education.