Islamabad: HEC launches advanced research network

Higher Education Commission (HEC) has launched the advanced Pakistan Education & Research Network (PERN), which has been connected to other global Research & Education Networks (RENs) viz. the Internet2 of USA, Asia-Pacific Advanced Network of continents of Asia and Australia, and GEANT2 network of National RENs of European countries, says a press release.

This link is a result of joint efforts of HEC and National Science Foundation of USA that equally co-funded a dedicated link from PERN to Internet2.

PERN has a total R&E link capacity of 155Mbps and is now leading in South Asia, being three times bigger than the linking capacity of India’s Education & Research Network (ERNet), which is connected to global R&E network over a 45Mbps link.

Through this connectivity, academicians and researchers would be directly connected to other peer RENs, resulting in lesser delays and low latency with add-on features of security and high performance for specialised and time sensitive activities like simulations on distributed resources, telemedicine and video conferencing, remote instrumentations, etc.

Moreover, universities/institutes now have access to large contents and research resources available with the constituent academic and research institutions in RENs in advanced countries. These include free online educational multimedia-on-demand, online library resources, access to supercomputing and grid nodes, collaborative tools, digital heritage, test bed for the future internet design, advanced network services’ test bed for IPv6, multicast implementation, layer 2 virtual private networks (VPNs), etc.

The purpose of this network connection is to support Pakistan’s science and technology collaborations with technologically advanced countries. The network connections will greatly assist the scientific collaborations being defined between the developed countries and Pakistan by allowing more direct, high-speed access and communication among S&T investigators and worldwide S&T resources.

Two of the many examples are the high-speed access to the Bio-Mirror and other genomics based archive data hosted by Indiana University, which is critical for genome research and will be facilitated by this high-performance connection.

Similarly, this connection will allow more rapid access to data originating from the NSF funded Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) project to assist the efforts of the Earth Sciences and Seismology WG.

The project of PERN was initiated in 2002 as an Educational Intranet by Chairman HEC Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman. Since then, the Network has evolved significantly and provides valuable services like high speed Internet, audio/video conferencing, and access to digital library resources like journals, books and research thesis in digitalised format.

In 2004, HEC upgraded the network with core connectivity of 50Mbps and 155Mbps Internet bandwidth. Today, a total of 86 universities/institutes/campuses are connected to PERN with a distribution of Internet bandwidth of over 500Mbps, whereas universities are getting bandwidth ranging from 4Mbps to 24Mbps.

Source: The News, 24/8/2008

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