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Qatar National Research and Education Network (QNREN)

Qatar National Research and Education Network (QNREN) project was established as a separate legal entity (SLE) with the approval and supervision of the Ministry of ICT Qatar (MICT). The scope of QNREN is to create a national data network to support research and education institutions in the State of Qatar. The project was initiated by Qatar University following the large amount of data produced by the many research projects and innovative scientific studies being undertaken in the country as it became very necessary for the data to be shared between researchers in Qatar and outside.
The QNREN is built by using national dark fiber connectivity and international wavelength connectivity, of capacity of 100 Mbps with possibility of upgrade that can allow institutions to connect at minimum of 10 Gbps with the least distribution of their existing configurations. Internally, Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN) provides the physical connection (dark fiber) to each member and QNREN install provider edge (PE) switch for Ethernet and IP connectivity.

In compliance with the MICT regulation, International connectivity is done through QNBN by obtaining a 10Gbps wavelength connectivity to a major open light path exchange point in Amsterdam (NetherLight). The switches in the QNREN backbone supports high-speed Ethernet interfaces of 10Gbps, 40Gbps and 100Gbps.The standard downlink bandwidth of the PE switch in a participating institution is 10Gbps, but if required, the PE switch can be linked at higher bandwidth of 40Gbps or for an institution with lower needs, at 1Gbps.
All PE switches are operating in Layer-2. Layer-3 configurations including the BGP routing protocol are done on the routers in participating institutions, the QNREN’s core router and QNREN’s route servers. Other than connecting Qatari institutions to foreign research and education networks (RENs), the switches will also enable us to provide on-demand high-speed and low-latency connectivity among Qatari research and educational institutions, for example, when two Qatari universities need to have a direct connection with each other for a project, QNREN is able to provide switch ports for that purpose in both organizations without incurring additional cost.
The following diagram shows the connectivity architecture of QNREN:
At present, QNREN is internationally connected to:
  • SURFNET – National REN (NREN) of The Netherlands
  • NORDUNET – NREN of European Nordic States (Sweden, Norway, Finland)
  • GLORIAD – Global optical ring (provides transit to many international NRENs)
QNREN is in the process of finalizing peer connection with:
  • GEANT – Association of Europe’s countries NREN’s (MoU signed, negotiating peering)
  • Internet2 – NREN of the United States (in the process of signing an MoU)
  • CANARIE - Canadian NREN (negotiating peering)
QNREN is also planning to connect to other national RENs in the GCC region and first candidate for regional connectivity is Ankabut, the NREN of The United Arab Emirates.
For connectivity services support, QNREN implemented a number of operational functions such network monitoring, application monitoring, alerting systems, help desk, ticketing application and web servers. QNREN public website provides updates about the QNREN services and access to the help desk system. The web presence is at http://www.qnren.qa.
QNREN’s governance structure follows the existing model adopted by majority of NRENs worldwide and its users being exclusively non-commercial. The Ministry of ICT is the government body that supervises QNREN activities.
This insures that QNREN has the needed legal support. QNREN is managed by an Executive Board, which is responsible for the business operation and will have representatives from the organizations using QNREN services.
The Backbone Operator Group consists of the teams that are operating and supporting the network. In addition, Advisory Boards will be created for specific technical subjects.
More information: www.qnren.qa