Joining the international network community

After the 1986 launch of developing the network, the political changes of 1990-91 allowed Hungary to connect to the Internet and to join the major organisations of international cooperation, like the predecessors of TERENA among others. Next, in the mid-90s, the Hungarian NREN joined the Operational Unit of DANTE, as a founding member. Another crucial development followed in the late 1990s when the Hungarian data-communication market was liberalised – and this resulted in enormously fast development in the ICT service industry and in the NIIFI infrastructure as well (fast decreasing prices allowed rapid technical development of the infrastructure). At the turn of the millennium, NIIFI’s HBONE backbone infrastructure reached the Gbps speed while optical technology was introduced at the same time, by implementing also a redundant topology instead of the earlier star-like scheme. EU funds did provide considerable financial aid to support these developments.

Regional centres were established in the nodes – today almost 80 such node operates in the country-wide network. Then, in the late 2000s, considerable development (practically a complete reconstruction and also the implementation of numerous new elements in the infrastructure) was carried through in the area of HBONE, HPC, grid, VoIP, VC, thanks to a large national project based on EU Structural Funds. As a result, a completely renovated and -in many aspects- brand new e-Infrastructure has been serving since the early 2010s, by highest level services to meet the  various demands of our user community.

Regarding the service portfolio, the goal of NIIFI has always been to provide a “full” coverage of services, corresponding to other European NRENs. This means that on top of the basic network infrastructure services we provide L2 and L3 VPN, IPv4/IPv6 unicast and multicast, CERT, DNS, VideoConferencing, VoIP, federated AAI services, server hosting, webhosting, e-mail, etc., together with the mentioned cloud and data-infrastructure services.

Most of these functions and services were developed and introduced by exploiting the opportunities provided by managing several national projects and also participating at numerous international project activities, performed before Horizon2020 by EU FP5, FP6, and FP7 supported cooperation (GN1,GN2, GN3, 6NET, 6DISS, 6DEPLOY, 6DEPLOY2, EGEE1, EGEE2, EGEE3, PRACE-2IP, PRACE-3IP, KnowARC, EMI, SIM4RDM, e-InfraNet, SEEREN1, SEEREN2, SEEFIRE, HP-SEE, FEDERICA, VICES).

As we approach the middle of the Horizon2020 time-frame, the NIIF Institute, besides running several national development projects in Hungary, does intensely take part in a number of international (mostly EU Horizon2020) projects. These projects are part of the rich and wide international relations covering not only project partnerships but also networking relations with special emphasis on the GéANT network. Various elements of the international projects are organisational collaborations, where, on top of the contacts and diverse co-operations earlier with TERENA and DANTE, and since their merger with the GéANT Association, some other fora and bodies are also playing indispensable role in the collaborative activities, from e-IRG as the e-Infrastructure partner of ESFRI and advisor to the EC, to various project consortia, such as, in the mid-2010s, the ones related to GN4, PRACE-4IP, MAGIC, VI-SEEM, or BYTE.