Third Global R&E Network CEO Forum meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa

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The Global R&E Network CEO Forum held its third face-to-face meeting in Cape Town, South Africa on December 12th and 13th. The purpose of the meeting was to review and further develop key global initiatives designed to accelerate the implementation and adoption of innovative solutions to generate measurable value to the global R&E community.

Two new developments surfaced from this meeting.

The first was the formation of a “Knowledge Sharing R&E Network Group” to actively consider how established and emerging R&E Networks can effectively learn from and leverage on each other’s experience and competencies. This group will actively facilitate global network inclusion through GNA and knowledge sharing across regions and R&E Networks – for example, in health, social science, and education- and explore how local R&E Networks can benefit from utilizing the services of the global R&E Network community most effectively.

The second arose from a discussion with the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) South Africa about the significant networking requirements of this project. The Forum discussed how best to engage SKA and other big-science disciplines to forecast future demand on global R&E networks. This resulted in the creation of a “Big Science Support Study Group”.

The Forum also reviewed the status of the existing four key Challenge Areas.
Global Network Architecture (GNA)

The CEOs welcomed the architecture model that has been proposed by the GNA Technical group and that is summarized in the attached paper. The GNA Executive Action Team, established during the second face-to-face CEO Forum meeting, discussed their identified action items and will now work on an approved 6-12 month engagement plan to ensure that the international community involved in research and education networking is able to contribute to this important initiative.

Global Realtime Communications Exchange

The Forum saw the advances in this area as an important step forward to a Global Realtime Communications environment, using NRENUM.net and open signaling protocols as the basis. They agreed on an investigation into working with commercial providers and influencing them to adopt open standards and to making an interconnection between such providers and the Global Realtime Communications environment happen where appropriate. Also, use cases will continue to be developed between the group members in order to provide further progress to this work.

Global Services Delivery

It was agreed that it would be most fruitful to focus on developing a framework for R&E Network-to-R&E Network service delivery. Additionally, the importance of working coherently together was recognized in order to engage cloud providers with a single, coordinated message. It was, however, agreed that because of differences in regulations, procurement would be most effectively organized on a regional basis. Finally, it was agreed that the speed and timing of service delivery is important, as the initial results have shown.

Global Federated Identity Management

Connecting the CEO Forum participants’ identity federations to eduGAIN will be completed. The Forum also have endorsed the “Evolution” option defined in the attached paper as the preferred direction for strategic governance for eduGAIN and endorses eduGAIN’s ownership of the process to achieve this. Furthermore, the CEOs encourage the positioning of other federated services within the new governance structure. It was recognized that there needs to be a further drive to stimulate the development of global identity management via implementing use cases, including, amongst others, those from the Global Services Delivery group.

Finally, the Forum reviewed the work of the two existing Study Groups.

The Forum acknowledged the importance of the R&E Network community being open and secure. It endorsed the advice from the study group to increase existing collaboration through the promotion of security awareness, international standards, and best practices, and gave the group guidance to strive for a higher ambition in their work.


Examples of use cases with respect to mobility were considered, including a trial between five European countries to lower costs for mobile voice and data services for students and a proof of concept between two R&E Networks where users can roam between both countries on 4G with traffic and tariffs considered as local. The Forum also gave further direction for the mobility group on steps for lowering barriers for mobility.

The Global R&E CEO Forum is a group of CEOs from the national and regional research and education networks around the world. The CEOs confirmed that their aspiration is to stimulate, engender and accelerate key initiatives that are required to address the challenges faced by the international research and education communities, specifically with respect to data networking and associated services. It will continue to move forward with regular meetings via videoconference and plans to have its fourth face-to-face meeting in the first half of 2014 to ensure that progress continues to be made in the key areas identified

The Global R&E Network CEO Forum consists of the Chief Executive Officers of AARNet (Australia), CANARIE (Canada), CERNET (China), CUDI (Mexico), DANTE (Europe), DFN (Germany), Internet2 (USA), Janet (UK), NORDUnet (European Nordics), REANNZ (New Zealand), RedCLARA (Latin America), RENATER (France), RNP (Brazil), SURFnet (The Netherlands), and the UbuntuNet Alliance (Southern and Eastern Africa).


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