Networks are all about connecting people, and it is a vital part of the NORDUnet vision to reach out across the globe to other NRENs, to work together and share knowledge and learn from each other, in order to serve the Nordic R&E users even better.
That is why NORDUnet engages heavily in the Global R&E Network CEO Forum, a group of executive leaders working together to stimulate and accelerate global implementation and adoption of new network solutions and services.
One part of this collaboration addresses the needs of the developed R&E networks. Another very important part is to help emerging NRENs build capacity and develop services, both nationally and internationally. Knowledge sharing with mature NRENs helps emerging NRENs build and operate a network in their own country and to create fast and economically viable connections across country borders to the global fabric of R&E networks.
As an example, the NORDUnet conference has created its Emerging NREN Sponsorship programme. Sponsors of the NORDUnet 2016 conference are given the opportunity to support emerging NRENs. The sponsorship gives a member of the technical staff at an emerging NREN, operating primarily in Africa and Asia, the opportunity to participate in the NORDUnet conference. The sponsorship covers travel expenses, accommodation and conference fee for one attendee. NORDUnet aims at creating ten Emerging NREN Sponsorships, giving technical staff from emerging NRENs a unique opportunity to meet peer-to-peer with like-minded people from Nordic NRENs.
While enabling staff from emerging NRENs to participate in e.g. the NORDUnet conference, NORDUnet also works to stimulate participation in regional conferences. NORDUnet tracks regional NREN conferences such as the UbuntuNet-Connect conference in Southern and Eastern Africa, the WACREN Conference in West Africa, and e-AGE in the Arab States region, and stimulates staff from developed NRENs to submit papers to these regional events and participate.
Also, NORDUnet participates in the development of training materials and “cookbooks” on how to run an NREN, both in regards to infrastructure and technology and in regards to management and financing.
Knowledge Sharing is not only about developed NRENs helping emerging NRENs. It may also be the opposite. As an example, bandwidth deprived countries have developed solutions using mobile technology in innovative ways, being an inspiration to others in a time when mobile technology is on the rise.
Also, drawing on the advantages of the NORDUnet setup of being a regional NREN representing five countries and thereby gaining greater influence on the global arena, an important part of NREN knowledge sharing is to help emerging NRENs establish regional collaboration.