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Cutting-Edge Infrastructure to Serve Education, Science

Representatives of MATAV and Cisco Systems officially inaugurated the national backbone network that now provides high-speed Internet access for the Budapest headquarters of the Hungarian National Research Education Network (Hungarian NREN). It will also support seven universities, which operate as regional network centers, and several other research and educational institutions. The new network will help ensure reliable access to the GEANT2 computer network (the pan-European research network supported by the European Union) for nearly 600,000 users of the Hungarian NREN in almost 700 institutions.

The newly launched service is capable of transmitting data, voice and video traffic at a speed of up to 10 Gbps. Hungary is the first country in Central Eastern Europe to have a nationwide 10 Gbps network.

"We are pleased that, with the successful implementation of this project, we were able to strengthen Hungary's relationship with the major research and development centers of Europe, and offer an opportunity to the internationally recognized Hungarian research community to participate in global research projects. Following Hungarian NREN tradition, our intention is to offer equal opportunities in terms of computer networking resources to all institutions, independent of whether they are based in Budapest or elsewhere in the country. The current DWDM infrastructure broadens opportunities to communicate and access information nationwide, which is of extreme importance for Hungary both with regard to achieving eEurope targets as well as connecting to the European Research Region," said Miklos Nagy, director of the Hungarian NREN.

The newly inaugurated backbone represents a further development of the 2.5 Gpbs network, implemented in 2001. The project was regarded as a milestone in the region even then. In the past three years, the Hungarian NREN has launched several new services for the academic community, e.g. Voice over IP, video conferencing, Grid computing and a national directory, as a result of which traffic has multiplied. By 2004, the time came to expand the network. To solve the task, MATAV selected Cisco's ONS 15454 MSTP platform, which represents the latest in multiservice optical platforms.

This next generation optical platform allows expansion to 10 Gbps connections within the existing DWDM platform, helping enable the introduction of several new protocols and services, e.g. SAN (ESCON, FICON, Fiber Channel), Digital Video (SDI, ASI HDTV), along with High Speed Ethernet (FE, GE, 10GE) and TDM based services (from 155 Mb/s to 10 Gb/s). DWDM is an optical transport platform. This facilitates the more efficient use of existing and newly installed optical cable networks, and helps enable the introduction of new services. Based on the existing infrastructure, this technology scales the capacity of optical networks to new levels.

Cisco Systems, as the system vendor, has taken up a significant role supporting both MATAV as the service provider, and the Hungarian NREN as the owner of the research and education network, resulting in a truly end-to-end Cisco network.

Cisco has a strong track record of working with the leading National Education and Research Networks across Europe, including DFN in Germany, UKERNA in the UK, CESNET in the Czech Republic, SUNET in Sweden, GRNET in Greece and HEAnet in Ireland.

"Building a knowledge economy and integrating Hungarian intellectual power into international projects is of crucial importance for the country. Since its foundation 10 years ago, Cisco Systems Hungary has paid special attention to the development of the IT infrastructure for the education and R&D sectors in Hungary. It is our pleasure to make this 10 Gbps network of national significance available for both education and research. This development can be compared to widening a four-lane highway to a 16-lane super-highway," added Robert Budafoki, managing director of Cisco Systems Hungary.

"MATAV's DWDM network plays a significant role within the academic networks from several aspects: it helps ensure high-speed connection between the nodes of the Hungarian NREN's high capacity IP backbone, while it also enables Hungary and the whole Eastern European region to connect to GEANT, the high-speed academic network covering all Europe. We are very pleased that the expansion to 10 Gbps reinforces Hungary's position and role in network-based cooperation within the field of research and education. The newly implemented DWDM network also enables MATAV to operate several nationwide backbone networks on the same optical infrastructure," emphasized Attila Koos, R&D director of MATAV.

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