The bi-annual APAN 43 (Asia-Pacific Advanced Network) meeting took place in mid-February in New Delhi. Hosted by ERNet India and NKN (the two Indian research networks) this event brought together 350 scientists, network engineers, e-researchers and policy people from across the Asia Pac region, plus a smattering of attendees from other NRENs globally.
APAN meetings have been occurring since mid-1996 and bring together a number of structured working groups – Big Data in Agriculture, Disaster Mitigation, Identity and Access Management, IPv6 Working Group and a range of other topics of shared interest across the higher education institutions across the Asia Pacific region.
Nearly all the 24 members of APAN are connected to the TEIN (Trans-Eurasia Information Network). Funded in part by the EU the TEIN network is the aggregation of individual NRENs that has progressively expanded its geographical footprint since its launch in 2004.
The big news at this APAN was the launch of the latest iteration of the TEIN project. Re-banded as Asi@Connect and will be co-funded by the EU and APAN members the investment of over 30M Euros. Asi@Connect is designed to support the countries across the region to:
- develop and deploy new network services
- facilitate human capacity building and knowledge exchange
- extend the R&E footprint to connect additional Asia-Pacific countries
- promote and support networking between R&E communities focusing on applications with high societal impact which contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), e.g telemedicine, e-learning, natural disaster warning, food security etc.
- improve public internet access in least developed countries.
As may be expected, New Zealand is the most distant APAN member (further away from New Delhi than non-member attendees from London and New York). However with an increasing number of research collaborations occurring with Asia, APAN membership provides an opportunity for New Zealand scientists (and REANNZ itself) to build greater connections into this dynamic region, and through the actual TEIN network provides an additional direct gateway to over 50 million people in the Asian research and education community.
Official media release for the Asi@Connect launch:
13 February 2017, New Delhi, India: Asi@Connect project launched
Over 55 million researchers, academics and students across the Asia-Pacific, including India, are set to benefit from a new phase of dedicated research and education (R&E) networking - Asi@Connect, co-funded by the EU - which was formally inaugurated at the APAN43 (Asia Pacific Advanced Network 43) meeting in New Delhi, India to seamlessly extend and build on the successful Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) initiative.
Asi@Connect is the successor project to TEIN4, the most recent phase of the TEIN initiative. It currently supports 24 countries/economies by providing a regional high-capacity internet backbone for R&E collaborations within the Asia-Pacific and, its interconnection to the pan-European GÉANT network, and with other parts of the world.
The Asi@Connect contract was signed in December 2016 between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and the Korea-based regional networking organisation TEIN*CC, which has been managing TEIN4. With a substantial five-year EU co-funding commitment of € 20 mn. until 2021, Asi@Connect is designed to support the countries across the region to the core project objective of "digital connectivity" and has linkages to both India's flagship project "Digital India"and the EU's "Digital Single Market"
During the launch ceremony, which was hosted by the Indian Asi@Connect partner NKN (National Knowledge Network), delegations from the European Union, the Korean Government and the Indian Government welcomed the kick-off of Asi@Connect and encouraged the R&E network community to build on achievements to date and further strengthen cooperation between Asia and Europe.