S’pore Network Becomes 1st Asian Partner For Internet2

The Singapore Advanced Research and Education
Network (SingAREN) became the
first research network in Asia to connect to the US Internet2 member
universities on both the vBNS and Abilene networks when Thursday it signed an MoU
with the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID).

At the same time, SingAREN also announced Project SPRINGi (Singapore’s IP
Ring for Next Generation Internet), a collaboration between SingAREN, local
universities, the local industry, and networking vendors in advanced
broadband network R&D.

SPRINGi will consist of an advanced Dynamic Packet Transport (DPT) based IP
network infrastructure pioneered by Cisco
Systems
, also commonly called
“IP-over-light”. SingAREN, the National
University of Singapore
(NUS),
Nanyang Technological University
(NTU), Kent Ridge Digital Labs
(KRDL), and
Singapore Telecom (SingTel) will
be connected in this infrastructure.

It is modeled after the Abilene network managed by UCAID in the US.

The Abilene project supports and encourages the development of advanced
applications, such as telemedicine, digital libraries, distance learning,
and virtual laboratories, by UCAID university members for deployment on
Internet2.

SPRINGi, the Singapore equivalent, will also support the local development
of broadband network technologies and broadband applications such as that
of the Abilene project.

To date, the participants of the SPRINGi project include NUS, NTU, KRDL,
Panasonic Singapore, and JVC Asia. These project participants will
develop
advanced IP services such as packet video and voice, IP quality-of-service
solutions, and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) devices. More
projects from other participants will be solicited in the future.

The total cost of phase one of SPRINGi amounts to S$1.9M (US$1.1M). The
National Science and Technology Board
(NSTB) is providing a broadband grant
of S$700K (US$412K). The five project participants have to share a cost of
S$650K (US$382K). The rest of the cost will be borne by Cisco Systems and
Singapore Telecom who will provide DPT technologies and optical fiber
respectively.

The link to the US research community provides information for local
project developments, said Ngoh Lek Heng, operations manager of SingAREN.
“We get information from the US on the pretext that we are already
collaborating with them. When they give us the information, we use that for
our project works.”

He said Abilene is a test-bed for Internet2. Similarly, SPRINGi is a
test-bed for SingaporeONE, a commercial network.

“SingaporeONE is a network that is already up and running. So in many ways
it does not allow research because [research] is high risk and potentially
could harm the network operation. The only way is to try technologies on
the SingAREN network. If they are found to be feasible, we would import
them to SingaporeONE,” said Ngoh.

Ngoh also said although Internet2 is meant to be a commercial network for
quality applications that the current Internet cannot support, Internet2 is
still in R&D.

“We [Singapore] want to play a key role in terms of shaping this future
network. Singapore wants to benefit from it just like anybody else,” he
said. Thus this result in the tie up with UCAID for Internet2 R&D.

Most development projects, including the development of next generation
Internet technologies and applications, have a duration of two years, he
said.

As for patents, SingAREN will own the technologies it create. However, if a
project participant come with a project proposal and create a technology,
they own the IPR.

SingAREN is just providing a public service to help the participants
achieve their goal, he said.

SingAREN is a national project funded by NSTB and Telecommunications
Authority of Singapore (TAS) to provide the local research community
high-speed connections to research networks in other countries.

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