EUMEDCONNECT3 project upgrades Algeria’s research and education network capacity

17 Octobre 2012

Algeria has recently upgraded the international connectivity available for its scientists and academicians to 622Mbps through its participation in EUMEDCONNECT3, the regional high-capacity Internet network serving the research and education (R&E) communities across Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Algeria is a long-term partner in the EC-funded EUMEDCONNECT project and has seen its research networking capacity increase by a factor of 15 - from an initial 45Mbps in 2004 to the current 622Mbps to meet researchers' growing demands for high-speed international connectivity.




CERIST (Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information), the organisation 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. Through its interconnection to EUMEDCONNECT3, ARN enables researchers, academics and students in the country to participate in world-class international research and educational activities. Co-founded by the European Union, EUMEDCONNECT3 connects universities and research centres in North Africa and the Middle East and enables them to collaborate with over 4,000 institutions across Europe through its interconnection to GÉANT, the pan-European R&E network.
Aouaouche El-Maouhab, ARN Manager at CERIST, underlines the importance of being part of EUMEDCONNECT: "Over the last decade the connectivity needs of academic and research institutions in Algeria have increased significantly, and so have their opportunities to collaborate with peers in Europe and other parts of the world. We therefore welcome the upgrade as it puts ARN in a position to fulfil those needs. Our participation in the EUMEDCONNECT project has given our universities valuable advanced network services. The plan is to continue increasing our network capacity and efficiency and to work closely with NRENs in Europe and the wider Arab world.".

ARN currently interconnects over 600,000 users at 120 research and academic institutions across the country, increases of 20% and 40% respectively since the start of the previous phase of EUMEDCONNECT in 2008. Algerian institutions are actively participating in a substantial number of EC-funded higher-education TEMPUS and FP7 research projects dealing with issues particularly relevant to Algeria and the Mediterranean as a whole. NEUROMED, for example, brings together neuroscientists from both shores of the Mediterranean to exchange best practice and to jointly build up centres of excellence. EUMEDCONNECT3 facilitates this capacity-building process by providing stable, high-capacity Internet connectivity between geographically dispersed scientists and by supporting the seamless exchange of huge, bandwidth-hungry medical files, such as MRI scans.
"Data exchange and communication is crucial to our activities", said Prof. Fares Boubakour from the University of Batna, Algerian partner of the FP7-ESTEEM project which aims to enhance transport safety in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
"EUMEDCONNECT3 helps us strengthen links with our partners in the Maghreb and in South Europe. It allows us to jointly collect, exchange and analyse traffic-related data, develop tracking devices for vessel-transport and ultimately formulate recommendations for improved transport safety on both shores of the Mediterranean."

Over the past decade, the number of Algerian Internet users has increased more than 20-fold, still the Internet penetration is relatively modest at 14% of the whole population. To increase the general ICT uptake, the Algerian government (Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research), jointly with CERIST, has recently launched a series of initiatives, including connecting high schools to ARN. Students are now able to benefit from general Internet services as well as engage in more bandwidth-hungry applications, such as videoconferencing and remote classroom participation.
Algeria is also a shareholder in ASREN, the Arab States Research and Education Network. Building on EUMEDCONNECT3, ASREN sets out to widen its geographical footprint by connecting other Arab national research and education networks (NRENs) across North Africa, the Middle East and the wider Arab region.
David West, Project Manager at DANTE, said: "This upgrade marks a great vote of confidence in EUMEDCONNECT by one of our longest serving partner countries. It shows the benefits of the programme for providing high-capacity, high-quality connectivity for 21st century scientific research in the region."

EUMEDCONNECT3 provides high-capacity Internet-based connectivity for researchers, academics and students across Northern Africa and the Middle East. With its direct links to GÉANT it is a gateway for the Mediterranean to participate in world-class research and education initiatives. EUMEDCONNECT3 is co-funded by the European Union and is now in its third phase which runs until 2014. It forms a network platform for the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) which has been formed to create a R&E network for the wider Arab region. EUMEDCONNECT3 is run by international research networking organisation DANTE, in collaboration with ASREN, the EU and local NRENs.
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DANTE is a non-profit organisation, coordinator of large-scale projects co-funded by the European Commission, and working in partnership with European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) to plan, build and operate advanced networks for research and education. Established in 1993, DANTE has built and operates GÉANT, which provides the data communications infrastructure essential to the success of many research projects in Europe. DANTE is involved in worldwide initiatives to interconnect countries in the other regions to one another and to GÉANT. DANTE currently manages projects focussed on the Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific, sub Saharan Africa and Central Asia regions through the EUMEDCONNECT, TEIN, AfricaConnect and CAREN projects respectively.
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About CERIST and ARN
CERIST is a research centre in ICT and scientific and technical information and was established in 1985. In 1994, CERIST introduced Internet technology in Algeria and launched the first national IP backbone network and was delegated the management of ccTLD (.dz). CERIST has also built and has been operating the academic and research network ARN in Algeria since 1994 and launched the national grid initiative DZ e-Science GRID in 2006. CERIST participates in various EC projects related to e-infrastructure, such as EUMEDCONNECT and EUMEDGRID.
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