NRENs of Central Asia
A National Research and Education Network, or NREN, is essentially an Internet service provider but one with the sole focus on providing service and support to the academic or educational and research communities alone. Each geographical area in the world has dedicated NRENs. For instance, Africa has UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Educational Networking. One of the NRENs in Asia Pacific region is APAN, or Asia Pacific Advanced Network.
NRENs were established in Central Asia in 2001. There are quite a few leading NRENs in Central Asia, which deliver support to the academic community of specific countries. They aim at delivering bandwidth that is not just high speed, but affordable as well. They also function as information superhighways, electronic storage or e-storage for educational and research purposes and for enabling the communities to carry out supercomputing functions. It is therefore worthwhile to examine what each individual country is doing in creating these networks.
The establishment of NRENs in Central Asia was part of the Silk Project, a network funded by NATO . Called the Virtual Silk Highway, this project brings together a few countries in Central Asia and delivers state-of-the-art fibre and satellite technology for their research and educational communities. Afghanistan is yet to have a well-established NREN. However, it is part of a programme called SERENE (http://serene.learn.ac.lk/about) or South-South Exchange of Research and Education Network Experience. This forum aims at helping Afghanistan and other countries develop an NREN for itself.
The Armenian NREN is known as the ASNET-AM, or Academic Scientific Research Computer Network of Armenia. . It was created in 1994 with the aim of combining academic, research and educational organisations in the country. It also aims at developing and sustaining a database of information in fields like science and technology (Link).
AzRENA (http://www.azrena.org/) is the NREN for Azerbaijan and it stands for Azerbaijan Research and Educational Networking Association. Its primary goal is to provide the high speed Internet connectivity needed to build a network of institutions in the research, education, libraries and academic fields. It was created in 2000 when leading universities and institutes came together under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education. It also aims at providing support and systems for distance education and for experts in the field of IT for education and research.
GRENA or Georgian Research and Educational Networking Association came into being in 1999 (http://grena.ge/eng/main) and has developed programmes in association with the universities of NATO Science Programme. It also aims at creating and sustaining computer network infrastructure that will serve various research and educational institutions in Georgia. It also runs programmes, like the Cisco Regional Networking Academy and CERT or Computer Emergency Response Team.
The Kazakhstan Research and Education Networking Association or KazRENA (Link)
is an entity that came into being in the year 2001. It aims at
unifying the research and education activities of the country and is
a participant in the CAREN or the Central Asian Research and
Education Network project. It is probably one of the biggest NERNs
in the whole of Central Asia and also provides access to
pan-European multi-gigabit education network or GEANT.
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