Connecting Infrastructures: improving fixed and wireless network connectivity

With the Connecting Infrastructures programme, SURF is ensuring that students, lecturers, researchers and employees have easy and reliable broadband network access to the best possible IT resources. To achieve this, we are running a range of innovation projects jointly with the institutions.

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What are the programme's aims?

In education and research, good network connectivity is essential. In this programme, SURF is working to improve fixed and wireless network connectivity. To do so, we are using pioneering techniques, with a focus on capacity, simplicity of access and flexibility. The new network architecture must deliver at least better security, privacy, scalability and integration.

What are we doing in this programme?

In the Connecting Infrastructures programme, we are working on various innovation projects with the aim of improving the fixed and wireless networks.

Fixed network innovation

In order to meet users' current and future requirements, we are working on a state-of-the-art, open, programmable network which offers a high degree of reliability and continuity. The new network is also more flexible: changes can be implemented more easily and faster, and it is easier to develop new functionality and services. In 2017, we are working on further developing the fixed network, specifically the implementation of a new optical layer. Through the Research on Networks programme, we collaborate with network researchers to research new network technologies. In addition, we are exploring the possibilities of network function virtualisation (NFV) with the institutions.

Wireless network innovation

We are working on a flexible and integrated wireless network infrastructure with which users can gain seamless, reliable and secure access to all the facilities offered by the fixed network. This includes a stable and reliable Wi-Fi network for institutions and a scalable, accessible Wi-Fi solution for city centres and campuses. In 2017, as part of this component, we are investigating  the possibilities of Wi-Fi calling and location-based services.

How do institutions benefit from the programme?

Since we are updating the fixed network infrastructure, institutions will have access in future to new network services, and users will be able to use services for their education and research in a more flexible way.

As for the wireless network, institutions will benefit from new applications such as the Internet of things, Wi-Fi calling, and the provider-independent E-SIM.

Which projects are part of this programme?

The open, programmable network

To meet demand for a reliable network, the network infrastructure must be optimised continuously. SURF works to achieve stable, reliable network connectivity with high capacity and intelligent techniques. This project implements the following activities:

The wireless network

The wireless network project aims to make high-quality, wireless connectivity available anytime and anywhere to ensure that the e-infrastructure can be used readily and easily everywhere on campus, including mobile devices. The project implements the following activities: 

What have we already achieved through this programme?

Here is a small selection of our achievements:

  • In Project SURFnet8, SURF is working to improve the SURFnet network. SURF issued tenders for the new optical layer and the new service layer of the SURFnet network. SURF selected ECI for the optical layer. Telindus is selected as provider for the SURFnet8 service layer.
  • The Research Data Zone innovation project was launched. The University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) and SURF are collaborating on a campus network infrastructure optimised for transmitting research data. The aim is to create a blueprint for a research data zone architecture so researchers can more easily collaborate on data-intensive research.
  • In 2016, we carried out a successful pilot with the E-SIM (embedded SIM), in collaboration with BTG: we have successfully remotely placed and activated a different profile on the SIM in Android devices.
  • It's not just people who are online, things are too. Together they are known as the Internet of things. In collaboration with institutions, SURF is examining how the Internet of things could be applied in education and research, and we held a hands-on SURFacademy 'Internet of things' seminar on 4 October 2016.

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