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Major Boost for ​​EU-Algerian Science Collaborations through First AfricaConnect2 Connection

International connectivity available to Algeria’s scientists, academics and students has recently been upgraded from 622Mbps to 2.5Gbps by networking organization GÉANT and its regional partner the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN).  The fourfold capacity increase is an early result of AfricaConnect2, the EU-funded pan-African connectivity project which supports the establishment of research and education (R&E) internet networks across Africa. 

​“Algeria has been connected continuously to Europe since 2004 - the longest of any partner country in the regional networking projects GÉANT manages”, commented Steve Cotter, CEO GÉANT. “The capacity boost​ clearly refle​​​​cts the long-term commitment to facilitating collaborations between Algeria and the global R&E community.”

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CERIST (Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information), the organization that manages Algeria’s national R&E network, ARN, has been at the forefront of meeting the networking needs of its growing user base since its inception in 1994. 

Aouaouche El-Maouhab, ARN Manager at CERIST, underlines the importance of being part of the AfricaConnect2 project and, by extension, of the global R&E community: “Over the last decade the connectivity needs of academic and research institutions in Algeria have increased significantly. As a result, we have seen our international networking capacity increase by a factor of 50 – from an initial circuit of 45Mbps in 2004 to the current 2.5Gbps. Within AfricaConnect2 and in conjunction with ASREN and our partners in Europe our focus is now on providing value-added services on top of connectivity such as eduroam and eduGAIN.”​

ARN currently interconnects over 800,000 users at 124 research and academic institutions across Algeria. Through its interconnection to the pan-European GÉANT network, ARN enables researchers, academics and students in the country to participate in world-class international research and educational activities in areas such as high-energy physics and earth observation. 

“The connect​ivity boost opens up exciting possibilities for Algerian scientists to participate in the Large Hadron Collider experiments”, commented Prof. Abdelhafid Aouragh, Director General at the General Directorate for Scientific Research and Technological Development (DGRSDT) in Algeria. “We are in the process of setting up a Tier 2 and Tier 3 cluster of computational centers connected to the ARN network, which will be part of the CERN infrastructure and will allow our physicists to contribute to specific analysis tasks within the ATLAS programe”.

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Prof. Mohamed Hamoudi at USTHB in Algiers also welcomed the benefits of the link upgrade for the Algerian earth observation user community: “Our work focuses on high-resolution regional gravity field modelling, combining images from GOCE and GRACE satellites with terrestrial data. This involves a considerable numerical workload, good international con

nectivity is a must! We can now fully exploit the power of distributed computing for accurate rather than approximate analysis,” he concluded. 

Algeria joined the AfricaConnect2 project in June 2015 as part of the North African regional project cluster, alongside Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, with ASREN acting as GÉANT’s regional AfricaConnect2 partner in North Africa.  

Yousef Torman, co-Managing Director of ASREN​ commented:  “We welcome the Algerian connectivity upgrade as important step in our mission to connect Arab national research and education networks (NRENs) across North Africa, the Middle East and the wider Arab region and are expecting further AfricaConnect2 connectivity announcements ahead.” 

 

 

​​About AfricaConnect2

AfricaConnect2 is an EU-funded pan-African connectivity project that aims to support the development and consolidation of high-capacity regional internet networks for R&E across Africa and their interconnection with the pan-European GÉANT network, creating a continental gateway for collaborative research and education across and beyond Africa. AfricaConnect2 adopts a modular approach adjusted to the geographical, cultural and organisational context of the African regions and their different stages of NREN development, as well as their sources of funding and long-term prospects. AfricaConnect2 therefore comprises three geographical areas (or "clusters") that involve their respective regional networking organisations in the delivery of the project. Algeria is part of the North African project cluster alongside Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Previously, the North African countries participated in the EU-funded EUMEDCONNECT project which between 2004 and 2015 provided high-capacity connectivity and interconnection to the GÉANT network for the R&E communities across the southern shore of the Mediterranean. EUMEDCONNECT continues to serve the countries in the eastern Mediterranean (Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine). 

The total budget for AfricaConnect2 is €26.6m for a period of 3.5 years (due to finish by the end of 2018), with €20m contributed by the European Commission's Directorate-General International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). The remaining funds (€6.6m) are being provided by the African partners on the basis of a cost-sharing model. ​

 

​Abou​t GÉANT

GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.

GÉANT has 41 member countries and is owned by its core NREN membership, and also has Associate members including commercial organisations and multi-national research infrastructures and projects. GÉANT was formed on 7 October 2014, when TERENA and DANTE joined forces and adopted the GÉANT name from the GÉANT Project (co-funded by the European Commission and currently in phase GN4-1), which continues to be a major area of the organisation's work.

GÉANT manages research and education (R&E) networking projects serving Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries. In addition, it supports R&E networking organisations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific and coordinates Europe-China collaboration. 

For more information visit www.geant.org​

 

​About A​RN

ARN is the Algerian national research and education network (NREN). ARN is built on a backbone with 10 PoPs operated by the ARN NOC. ARN has been interconnected with the pan-European GÉANT network since, with the link being upgraded to 2.5 Gbps in February 2016.  The current ARN backbone, which has been available since the first quarter of 2011, is an IP/MPLS network with Giga Ethernet on the backbone. All institutions are connected with fibre at capacities ranging from 100Mbps to 10Mbps (42 universities are at 100Mps). The ARN backbone is an IPv6 network and will be extended with IPv6 services at the edge. In addition to connectivity and grid services (via the DZ e-Science GRID infrastructure), ARN manages ccTLD .dz and provides dns, email, web and application hosting services as well as support to all research and education institutions connected to its backbone. More information can be found at www.arn.dz​

 

​About ASR​​EN

ASREN, the Arab States Research and Education Network, is a non-profit international organisation, registered in Germany, and operates under the umbrella of the League of Arab States. ASREN is the association of the Arab region National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), as well as their strategic partners that aim to implement, manage and extend sustainable Pan-Arab e-Infrastructures dedicated for the research and education communities and to boost scientific research and cooperation in member countries through the provision of world-class e-Infrastructures and e-services. The goal is to connect Arab institutions among themselves and to the globe through high-speed data-communications networks; boost pan-Arab collaborative research and education projects and activities; and contribute to promote scientific research, innovation and education across the Arab region. For more information see http://asrenorg.net​​