The day when students, researchers and scientists from almost every knowledge-related institution in the country and beyond can seamlessly interact and share precious information might not be that far, what with the National Knowledge Network (NKN), a Central government-run state-of-art multi-gigabyte pan-India network project, aiming to spread its wings.

The Rs.5,990 crore-project, which is just five to six months old in Kerala, aims at networking 1,500-plus institutions across the country, sans private colours, and for the State, the statistics for the first phase are 61 institutions, out of which 33 have already joined the bandwagon. A workshop on May 9 and 10 at the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Pappanamcode, will aim at pulling in the rest and more, according to a communiqué from State Informatics Officer K.S. Raman.

N. Ranjith, Technical Director, National Informatics Centre (NIC) State Centre told The Hindu that the 33 institutions that were connected now included research institutions and higher education centres including the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Indian Institute of Science and Education Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram. These were being given connectivity via providers like the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Railtel and the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCL).

C-DAC, he said was using the NKN to connect to other C-DAC centres across the country via a separate virtual network, while the IISER had utilised the network for a virtual classroom, where professors from various centres could take classrooms without network issues for students in other centres and institutions.

The second phase of the project, Mr. Ranjith said, would focus on taking forward the Human Resources Ministry’s aim of connecting every engineering college in the country via BSNL. That sort of connectivity would be made easier and even a notch higher in standards with NKN.

“Collaboration between knowledge institutions will be made easier,” he said, indicating that the impact of such seamless connectivity would not limit itself to mere connectivity.

NKN consists of an ultra high-speed core, starting with multiple 2.5/10 gigabytes per second (gbps) and progressively moving towards 40/100 gbps connectivity between seven super core locations pan-India.

The network is further spread out through 26 core locations with multiples of 2.5/10 gbps partially meshed connectivity with the super core locations. The distribution layer connects the entire country to the core of the network using multiple links at speeds of 2.5/10 gbps, while the end-users are connected up to a speed of 1 gbps.

NKN also provides international connectivity to its users for global collaborative research. Presently, it is connected to the Trans Eurasia Information Network (TEIN3), while similar connectivity to the Global Ring Network for Advanced Application Development (GLORIAD) network is in the pipeline.

The workshop will illustrate methodology for integration of NKN with the internal networks as well as discuss other network-related topics through a series of technical sessions, which will help the institutions in using NKN services in a more effective and enhanced manner, the organisers said.

Details are available over telephone 0471-2729894 / 2724529.