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AutoBAHN: an innovative communication network

The European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) took a major step in pushing the internet to new levels when they recently launched user-requested high-speed circuit.

The “Bandwidth-on-Demand” concept effectively gives users the means to request network capacity in relation to their needs. The model is a dedicated end-to-end 1 Gigabit Ethernet circuit between two end-user workstations.

The circuit currently links Ireland and Greece.  The key actors involved are the Greece-based NREN GRNET, the Irish NREN HEAnet and the pan-European network G√ČANT2.

The interconnected workstations offer a data transmission speed 1 000 times faster than a commercial 1 Mbps ASDL line for the transmission of high-resolution video. The architecture, called AutoBAHN (Automated Bandwidth Allocation across Heterogeneous Networks), was modified to meet the needs of the multi-domain, multi-technology pan-European Research and Education community.

Authorised users can define the destination of their data, transmission speed and quality, making the model different from the general principles of the Internet, where the user must be connected through their workstation to any other far end point across the globe and cannot  control capacity and quality.

While the telecoms industry has provided a number of services for quite some time, AutoBAHN is unique in that it targets end-user control and simple-to-use web-based user interfaces.

Actors currently developing AutoBAHN include CARnet (Croatia), CESNET (Czech Republic), GARR (Italy), FCCN (Portugal) and SURFnet (the Netherlands).

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