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Future Network Research 

The aim of the Future Network team's research is to investigate technologies and techniques that will enable GÉANT and the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) to leverage their network assets to deliver a compelling array of innovative services to the research and education community and ensure a superior user experience. The challenges include finding practical ways to stitch together services from and across multiple domains while keeping quality of service levels high, and to provision services quickly while keeping operational costs low. These challenges have implications for Layer 1, Layer 2 and Layer 3 network architectures, control planes, management systems, and so on, as well as their administrative and organisational setup. Virtualisation and federation are key enablers for addressing these aims, challenges and implications and for delivering a next-generation network capable of supporting a multi-domain, multi-layer, multi vendor and multi-technology environment.

The work of the Future Network team falls into four main areas, and involves participants from 13 NRENs, organised into four Tasks and led by Tony Breach of NORDUnet.


Future Network (JRA1) research areas

Carrier Class Transport Network Technologies
Investigating the ways in which a set of representative technologies realise the concepts and deliver the functionalities that define a transport technology as Carrier Class and how they support GÉANT service objectives.

Photonic Switching and Experimental Photonic Facilities
Investigating state-of-the-art and emerging optical networking technologies to determine how GÉANT and the NRENs can develop their networks to meet future demands.

Federated Network Architectures
Investigating and setting up a demonstration case relating to network federation, i.e. sharing resources among multiple independent networks.

Current and Potential Uses of Virtualisation
Comparing infrastructure virtualisation technologies and frameworks, analysing NRENs’ requirements for using infrastructure virtualisation technologies, defining virtualisation services within the context of GÉANT, and proposing an approach for their implementation within GÉANT and associated NREN infrastructures.


The research results are to be used:

  • As a reference for the GN3 community when designing their next-generation networks and services.
  • To influence the R&D and technical roadmaps of equipment suppliers.
  • As articles, papers and presentations in recognised publications and at high-profile conferences to contribute to the ongoing, wider research effort.