Global Network Architecture

A group of Research & Education networks and Global R&E Exchange Operators collaborate in The Global Network Architecture initiative, to further strengthen the global e-infrastructure and prepare it for future requirements. The initiative develops under the auspices of the Global R&E Network CEO Forum.

The GNA vision is based on collaboration:

By joining forces the R&E networks can be bigger players in relevant markets - e.g. the intercontinental transmission market - than today where spending is less coordinated. Hence, the R&E networks can be much more ambitious and create a more far reaching result, yielding a sustainable high-performance global interconnect for Research & Education.

An important piece of the vision is that the R&E Networks that now subscribe to the GNA strategy agree to bring their procurements in line with the overall architecture, as much as possible. Firstly, this makes it possible to bring pieces of the infrastructure together early on. Secondly, it allows the R&E networks and their funders collectively to understand and contribute to a bigger picture.

Currently the GNA initiative contains two Working Groups, one focusing on policy and strategy and the other focusing on architecture, topology and technology.

In January 2017 the GNA reached an important milestone in its work, when its Technical Working Group released a blueprint for the intercontinental R&E network interconnects, based on the latest technologies and promising developments, with a ten-year horizon: The Global Network Architecture Reference v1.0

The global network architecture model is a powerful intercontinental transmission substrate, consisting of:

  • Global R&E Exchange Points (“GXPs”),
  • High-bandwidth transmission pipes (running between GXPs).

The GXPs in this architecture model have two major functions:

  1. Attachment points for the high-bandwidth circuits of the substrate,
  2. Connection points for the regional and national R&E networks that are part of and make use of the GNA infrastructure

The model furthermore details the GNA substrate as a bearer for overlays that deliver the network services on top of the GNA.

Further information on GNA can be found at the GNA community website.

For more information on the GNA work, please contact the co-chairs of the GNA Technical Group: Dale Finkelson (Internet2) and Erik-Jan Bos (NORDUnet).

Part of today’s global interconnect for R&E is already GNA v1.0 compliant.