NORDUnet Conference

The NORDUnet conference series - past and upcoming

The global NREN venue in the North

- The NORDUnet conference gathers the community for the 30th time

The 2018 NORDUnet conference, taking place in Elsinore Denmark on 18-20 September 2018, is the 30th of its kind. It has come a long way from the early days to what it is today, changing, evolving, and growing since the beginning.

The NORDUnet conference started as a meeting place for Nordic network technology experts and has over the years developed into a key event for R&E communities also outside the Nordics, attracting people from all over the world. NREN technology experts still make up the core constituency of the conference, however, followed closely by a wide range of other NREN staff, together with campus oriented participants.

Two good reasons to attend

Björn Nilsson, who may well be the most regular attending the NORDUnet conferences, said in 2016 about the conference:

- You return home with so much new knowledge, both from presentations and workshops and from meeting your colleagues from other research institutions and countries. I remember when we were first introduced to eduroam. We just thought: ”No, does this really exist...?”, and we went home and did it!

When asked, what makes him attend the conference year after year, Björn is very clear:

- One reason is obviously the sessions, and the other is all what goes on in-between. You learn from the presentations and the speakers during sessions, and you continue learning during the breaks between sessions, and at the social events. Here you get the chance to connect or reconnect with all the other participants.

Changing format
Initially the conference was an annual event which grew more complex and hence the frequency changed to every 18 months before it found its current format, taking place with a two-year interval. Today’s format of two and a half days, plenaries, side meetings, BoFs, lightning talks, etc. is somewhat far from the original one-day event. The density of the programme has increased as well, going from one conference track to three parallel tracks.

One thing has remained stable: The venue of the NORDUnet conference alternates between the five Nordic countries, and it is always hosted by the local NREN supported by NORDUnet.

Looking back

Tällberg, Sweden, saw the first conference in 1980. It was also the one and only NORDUnet conference using Scandinavian languages. The following year, in Copenhagen, the conference language was English, mostly due to the participation of the American networking specialist Carl Sunshine. From then on the conference language has been English and the broad international view of the Nordic-based conference has attracted still more international participants.  

The 1988 conference in Reykjavik presented “the NORDUnet plug”. This Nordic answer to “the protocol war” made the NORDUnet network the first international wide-level network to support several communication protocols, making it possible to interconnect NORDUnet to several different networks. Hence, the following year saw the official opening of the NORDUnet network; the first large-scale IP network in Europe.   

Noteworty conferences
Tromsø (1998) seems to have excelled in attracting participants with an impressive 300 turnout, only to be outnumbered by the combined NORDUnet – TERENA conference in Lund, Sweden (1999). This was when one of the challenges discussed was the World Wide Web, as described in one of the session abstracts: “For some time, World Wide Web (WWW) browsers have gained a new role in the network, which extends beyond their original scope......”

Huge turnout is not necessarily the ultimate success criteria. When in 2005, Svalbard was the designated venue many participants had an extraordinary add-on to all the technical news with the beautiful settings offered by Longyearbyen and surroundings.

To actually be able to run the conference can also be counted as a success. With noticeable volcanic activity at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and the resulting ash plume the conference in 2011 was somewhat at stake, but the ashes disappeared and the conference went well.

Elsinore, or Helsingør as the Danes have it, is ready to welcome you for another noteworthy conference, the 30th of its kind,- this September.

Learn more about the programme and registration at