Moldovan and Ukrainian R&E communities benefit from new spectrum link with GÉANT

Published 30 September 2021

Text by Laura Durnford

EaPConnectSpectrum-video-still_mapfaces
RESEARCHERS, STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS IN MOLDOVA AND UKRAINE WILL BENEFIT FROM THE NEW EAPCONNECT ‘SPECTRUM’ CONNECTIVITY WITH EU COUNTRIES

A new ‘spectrum’ high-capacity Internet link that is future-proofed to enable the digital future of Moldovan and Ukrainian research and education (R&E) communities was launched on 28 September 2021. This link achieves strategic goals for the EU-funded EaPConnect project, strengthens and extends the pan-European GÉANT R&E network, narrows Europe’s digital divide, and supports the European Union’s vision for digital transformation in the Eastern Partnership (EaP).

In the launch event, representatives of Moldovan library and Ukrainian particle physics communities described how R&E networks and the new ‘spectrum’ link empower their work, providing access to resources and advancing international research collaboration. The event was organised by EaPConnect as part of the EU4Digital third annual Steering Committee week (27 September to 1 October). In the morning session of 28th, on on “Eastern Partnership – Current policy agenda and post-2020 priorities”, an overview of EaPConnect highlights was also presented. 

«The new ‘spectrum’ link achieves much greater integration of Moldova and Ukraine into the GÉANT network. For GÉANT this is an important development in the pan-European network footprint and capabilities»

Andreas Dudler, GÉANT Board of Directors, Chair

About the network and its ‘spectrum’ capability

The new connectivity completes a Bucharest-Chisinau-Kiev-Poznan half ring and includes the first regional link between two Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The new Chisinau-Kiev and Kiev-Poznan sections have a 100 Gbps (Gigabits per second) capacity, which means a 6x increase for Ukraine and a 11x increase for Moldova, based on addition to their previously existing links. Because this new infrastructure can be used with cutting-edge ‘spectrum’ technology, which enables even greater data flow by transmitting it as multiple wavelengths of light, the new sections could handle around 400 Gbps or more simply by upgrading the transmission modules.

'SPECTRUM' TECHNOLOGY USES MULTIPLE WAVELENGTHS (COLOURS) OF LIGHT TO TRANSMIT DATA THROUGH AN INTERNET NETWORK
TOPOLOGY MAP OF THE EAPCONNECT NETWORK AS OF SEPTEMBER 2021

This ‘spectrum’ digital highway is provided locally through the national research and education networks RENAM (Moldova) and URAN (Ukraine) as partners in EaPConnect, which is funded within the EU4Digital initiative. Procured by partners and GÉANT with reduced costs in price/Gbps/Km/year for RENAM and URAN, the new link leaves more resources for supporting the Moldovan and Ukrainian R&E communities. Secured under a 15-year Indefeasible Rights of Use contract unprecedented in EaPConnect, the pricing and technology will remain stable beyond the lifetime of the project. This not only supports EaPConnect objectives to reduce the digital divide and connect EaP R&E sectors with GÉANT, it also contributes to the goal shared with GÉANT and EU4Digital to sustain long-term digital development and the benefits it brings society.

Milestones and ‘firsts’

The new digital highway marks some other significant milestones and first-time achievements for EaPConnect, its partners and their R&E communities, and for the GÉANT backbone network:

  • The link between Chisinau and Kiev provides a vital second route for research data to enter/leave Moldova for the first time – bringing the country in line with GÉANT best practices.
  • For the first time, research data flowing between EU countries could transit through Ukraine or Moldova, elevating the significance of these countries for the GÉANT community and network. 
  • As Ukraine is becoming a gateway for interconnection with Far Eastern and Asian carriers, connectivity via Kiev is of even greater strategic significance for the future. 
  • The development adds two new GÉANT network PoPs (Points of Presence) in Chisinau and Kiev and connects them with existing PoPs in Bucharest and Poznan: this creates additional backbone routes out of Poznan and Bucharest and extends the pan-European network.
  •  Integration of Moldova and Ukraine into the GÉANT infrastructure improves the reliability and redundancy of connectivity to/from those countries, reducing data flow risks and strengthening the network. 
  • The development brings Moldova and Ukraine in line with Europe’s most advanced research and education networks, and with improvements across the GÉANT network that are being undertaken in the GN4-3N project.
  • This new network is the first time that commercially procured spectrum-capable infrastructure is used in the GÉANT network.

VIDEO ABOUT NEW ‘SPECTRUM’ NETWORK

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The launch and the benefits

EaPConnect organised the event “Stronger neighbours, stronger global research & education partners: ‘Spectrum’ digital highways interconnect Moldova, Ukraine and European partners” to launch and celebrate the new connectivity. Around 70 guests from universities and research institutes, government ministries and research funding authorities, EC Delegations, the EU4Digital initiative and the EC’s DG NEAR took part in this online event.

Representing the Moldovan REM (Electronic Resources for Moldova) Library Consortium, which brings together 22 libraries including 14 university libraries, Mariana Harjevschi, General Director of the B.P. Hasdeu Municipal Library in Chisinau, showed the importance of the new connectivity in realising this community’s mission.

Ukrainian particle physics were represented by PhD Leonid Levchuk, Head of the Department of Experimental Studies in High Energy Particle and Nuclear Physics at the KIPT National Science Centre (NSC) – the only Ukrainian team that is processing data from CERN’s LHC. An important research direction of his department is participating in the large, multi-purpose Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment.

«This work could not be fulfilled without access to the pan-European GÉANT network infrastructure»

Leonid Levchuk, Head of the Department of Experimental Studies in High Energy Particle and Nuclear Physics, NSC KIPT

Other presentations from GÉANT, RENAM, URAN and project partners from other countries – PSNC (Poland), RoEduNet (Romania) and GARR (Italy) – provided insights into the impacts of integration into the GÉANT backbone network and the GÉANT community.

«The R&E needs for digital services are constantly growing and URAN’s network capacity should keep pace and even stay ahead. Because ‘spectrum’ channels can change capacity gradually, they will achieve this. Spectrum technology will not only allow our scientists to work with big data at sub-terabit speeds and access advanced European resources, it will help URAN improve its services and further integrate Ukrainian researchers and educators into the European R&E community. The new ‘spectrum’ channels will become reliable and fast blood stream for delivering new services»

Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi, URAN, Executive director 

Representatives from Ukrainian and Moldovan government ministries and from the EC’s DG NEAR – Directorate General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, which funds EaPConnect through the EU4Digital initiative – responded very positively to the launch of the new spectrum network and the value it brings for the digital future for Moldova, Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries.

«During joint implementation of EaPConnect, Eastern Partnership countries have developed strong links between researchers and education communities, ensuring high-quality data sharing, to become competitive and integrated in the global information society. Such cooperation not only supports Ukraine and EaP countries increasing their research and educational capacities, it ensures a big step towards integration in the European Research Area»

Vitrenko Andrii, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, First Deputy Minister

Images and video – GÉANT