Cisco Helps NATO Create Virtual Silk Highway for Academic and Scientific Communities in Caucasus and Central Asia
Cisco donates Networking Technology and Expertise to Enable Collaborative Research
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, June 14, 2002 - Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced that it is donating equipment to help a NATO Science Programme project deliver cost effective, fast Internet connectivity to the research community in the Caucasus and Central Asia. This 'Silk Highway' project will enable local scientific and academic communities to collaborate with their peers all over the world. The total cost of the project is over $3 million.
Just as the ancient Silk Road provided an important route for trade and therefore for the transfer of knowledge from East to West, the Silk project aims to close the gap between information rich and information poor nations. The countries to benefit will be Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. Since it is unlikely these countries will be able to install high bandwidth Internet connections in the near future, the project will deploy state-of the-art satellite technology to significantly enhance the bandwidth available to the institutions from between 64Kbps and 384 Kbps to 3 Mbps by 2004.
The equipment supplied by Cisco, comprising routers, content engines and switches, will establish earth station nodes in each country to connect each local research community with its satellite link. Combined with satellite dishes, this equipment will provide high bandwidth Internet connectivity and access to the World's research networks and thinking. Eight small, in-country dishes will be linked to a larger dish in Hamburg, Germany, which will form the hub. Hosted by the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), this will be connected to the pan-European Gigabit research network GEANT via the German network, the Deutsches ForschungsNetz.
"Enabling talented and educated people in the region to access the world's research will help them fulfil their true potential." said Walter Kaffenberger, the project director at the NATO Science Programme. "We have benefited greatly from Cisco's expertise in Internet connectivity, in particular from the help we received in designing and supplying the local stations."
Jane Butler, head of strategic technology research and collaboration at Cisco Systems EMEA added: "We've been working with the world's leading research and academic institutions for many years and have a strong commitment to enabling the development of academic and scientific research. We're delighted to be able to empower the people of these countries to take a much more active, collaborative role in the Western European research community."
Each local node will be fitted with a CISCO 7204 router, CE-560 content engine and Catalyst switch, providing maximum scalability and network efficiency. This equipment will guarantee a level of bandwidth for each country network and will allow them to exploit unused bandwidth from other countries. In addition, the content engines allow downloaded content to be cached locally, making it available to other network users without using the satellite connection, further enhancing the network's efficiency and ability to make effective use of available bandwidth.
The Silk Highway project is expected to go live in the Autumn of 2002. Work undertaken so far has prompted additional, related projects which are likely to help each country improve infrastructure between the institutions and the nodes.
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