LabTel researcher assists in the implementation of an academic network in Cape Verde
Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering (DEE) and researcher at the Ufes Telecommunications Laboratory (LabTel), Moisés Ribeiro, was part of the team that demonstrated an innovative proposal to make academic network infrastructure viable in third world countries through virtualized infrastructure . The project was motivated by the case of Cape Verde. The country is on the route of the submarine cable Ellalink, which connects South America to Europe, but it did not qualify for the fibers of this cable destined for academia (BELLA Project) because it does not have its own academic network.
The pilot project of a virtualized academic network started in 2022 and the results will be presented in March of this year. The proposal, which aims to reduce the initial cost of infrastructure, was named the Teaching and Research Network as a Service (RENaas) and promises to help the country’s scientific and technological development, linking research from different universities and institutions around the world.
The project was an initiative of researchers from Labtel and the National Education and Research Network (RNP) together with Trinity College Dublin, which successfully submitted the research to the Géant Innovation Program, the European federation of academic networks.
About the project
RENaaS brings an innovative proposal proposing to create a virtual network superimposed on an existing physical structure. With this, it will be possible to offer the resources of a national research network at a reduced cost. The work is based on a project being developed by Startup Vixphy called SAWI (Savvy Access through Worldwide Internet), as an enabler of “Virtual Access Providers” to the internet. RENaaS also benefits from other Géant projects such as RARE/freeRtr.
This type of platform proposed by RENaaS is full of advantages, allowing the interaction between programmable virtual elements and the physical structure, through machine learning techniques. “The physical structure will always be necessary (hardware). The virtual network takes advantage of the basics provided by the physical network, incorporating functionalities via software”, explains Ribeiro.
The infrastructure already in place will allow for rapid deployment of connectivity and responses to congestion and outages. As it is cloud-based, it will also be favorable in providing relevant services to institutions, such as eduroam, the famous wireless network developed for the international education and research community.
“We use this connectivity to divert traffic to the cloud. There we set up the equipment and make interconnections between other clouds by setting up our own completely virtual network”, completed Ribeiro.
With the work completed at the end of 2022, Géant presents the results of this and nine other projects in a workshop scheduled for the next 13th.
The academic network is an essential tool for the technical-scientific development of a country, being its own internet network that does not interconnect with public or commercial ones.
“It’s a network basically made up of computers and its purpose is to link universities and academic centers to develop research and transmit information directly from one to the other”, explains Marcelo Segatto, coordinator and researcher at LabTel.
The professor states that academic networks are important in expanding the university’s internationalization process. “More than expanding, this dynamic suggests the survival of research. There is no research laboratory in the world that does not work in a collaborative network scheme”, he concluded.
Internationalization is fundamental for the research area. LabTel, for example, has two researchers from Cape Verde, who arrived to study postgraduate studies at Ufes and remain professors at the Laboratory until today.
LabTel currently has around 10 international researchers. The institution also has partnerships with several countries, namely: Germany, Canada, Colombia, Cape Verde, China, Cyprus, England, Portugal and others.
The project received support from the Research Support Foundation of the State of Espírito Santo (Fapes), Géant, the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp) and the National Council.