NUANCE – April 2011

NUANCE speaks French enfin!

UbuntuNet’s first six members were countries where English, French, Portuguese and Arabic were the main international languages. Given the multi-lingual nature of our Alliance community, we have long wanted to make available Alliance resources in the languages most familiar to our community. Finally, the April 2011 issue of Nuance ushers in the first French edition to be published simultaneously with the English version. It is planned to translate back issues so that our French speaking audience can also delve back into our history – watch the Alliance website (  The translations are being done by Chéruzgo Nyirongo who is enjoying acquiring the technical vocabulary necessary – not to mention mastering the many acronyms!  Apart from being familiar with several languages, Chéruzgo also brings skills in digital graphic design which the Alliance will capitalise on.

Call for Papers: UbuntuNet-Connect 2011, Nairobi, Kenya, 23-25 November 2011

UbuntuNet Alliance is inviting all interested individuals who would like to present at the UbuntuNet-Connect 2011 Conference to submit their papers. The theme is ‘Access for Success’. The conference will be held from 23 – 25 November 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya, and hosted by the KENET, the Kenyan NREN. The papers should address the broad topic of research and education networking in Africa, under (but not limited to) the following sub-themes: Content networks; Applications (computing, conferencing, resource sharing, etc); Marketing, communication and dissemination; Regional and international collaboration; Infrastructure; Innovation; Policy and regulation; and NREN organizational issue (trust, operations, Sustainability).

Authors are invited to submit 500 word abstracts of their proposed papers or presentations, clearly indicating the key message to be shared, not later than 30th June 2011. Abstracts should be sent to: UbuntuNet Alliance On acceptance, the format for paper submission will be sent to the authors. Papers will be peer reviewed. For further details, 

TERNET goes live

Following in the footsteps of TENET (South Africa) and KENET (Kenya), TERNET of Tanzania has moved to enjoy the benefits of being a member of the global REN community by operationalising its capacity to the Alliance router in London. The STM-1 on SEACOM was activated early April 2011.

TERNET is pleased to have achieved this goal of connecting higher learning institutions in Tanzania to the REN infrastructure and providing international connectivity for them.  Currently, two institutions have connected to the TERNET NOC: the Open University of Tanzania and COSTECH (where the NOC is hosted). Another higher learning institution, the College of Business Education, has installed a link to the NOC and is in its final stages of getting connected. Seven more institutions are at advanced stages of getting connected to the NOC.

Their connectivity to the UbuntuNet Routing Hub in London will help both students and teachers to communicate and collaborate and access to educational and research resources like e-content and e-journals with fellow academic institutions elsewhere in the world.

TERNET is a network for Tanzanian higher learning and research institutions aiming at providing a network infrastructure that facilitates Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), support for e-libraries and electronic information access, research databases, and enhancement of e-learning capacity and is amongst the 13 member NRENs of the UbuntuNet Alliance.

UbuntuNet sets up dedicated light path to GÉANT

In a very exciting development, the Alliance, working with DANTE, has activated the upgrade in the interconnection to GÉANT that was approved by the GÉANT NREN Policy Committee towards the end of last year.  The 1Gbps interconnection that was set up in 2008 has been upgraded to 10Gbps, along with an additional 10Gbps point to point link for dedicated circuits.

The point to point link will be able to handle dedicated high capacity bandwidth demands like those required by the e-VLBI in South Africa.  The dedicated capacity is a first in Europe for any regional NREN.

Through GÉANT, members of the Alliance connected to the Alliance London router get direct access to all the NRENs of the world, enabling easy collaboration with academic and research institutions all over the world.  The Alliance appreciated the support of the NRENPC and DANTE in achieving this.

While we are excited, we look forward and will continue working towards the time when the points of interconnection of the Alliance members will be on the African continent rather than in Europe.

New Management Board for UbuntuNet Alliance

Addis Ababa’s Jupiter International Hotel, in the heart of this sprawling and vibrant capital of Ethiopia, was the centre of focus for UbuntuNet Alliance during the week 11 – 15th April 2011 as Directors, CEOs of NRENs and their Representative Members came together for the annual meeting of the Alliance, the  5th Council of Members. As a norm, the cluster of meetings included a 2-day workshop for the Ethiopian NREN, EthERNet; the NREN CEOs Forum; and the 19th Management Board Meeting. The events reached a climax on Friday, 15th April, 2011 when Representative Members from all the13 member NRENs came together at the 5th Council of Members Meeting. The 2-year term of office of the UbuntuNet Alliance Management Board expired, and a new Board was elected.  The following will now be responsible for policy level steering and oversight of the Alliance until April 2013:

  • Professor Zimani Kadzamira – Chairperson
  • Eng. Dr ‘Tusu’ Tusubira – CEO
  • Professor Iman Abuel Maaly Abdelrahman
  • Dr Lishan Adam
  • Dr Boubakar Barry
  • Professor Dibungi Kalenda
  • Professor Meoli Kashorda
  • Professor John Kondoro
  • Dr Duncan Martin

The Alliance warmly welcomes the new entrants into the Board, Dr Boubakar Barry, Dr Lishan Adam and Professor Dibungi Kalenda.  The Alliance also expresses appreciation to the retiring Directors who have selflessly served the Board during its formative years – Mr Steve Song, and founding Directors Ms Margaret Ngwira and Mr Albert Nsengiyumva.

TERENA clocks 25 years marked  by a challenging video competition

The Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association (TERENA) which offers a forum to collaborate innovate and share knowledge in order to foster the development of Internet technology, infrastructure and services to be used by the research and education community has clocked 25 years.

To celebrate this anniversary, TERENA has launched a video competition in which participants are being asked to give their views on how the Internet will change people’s lives in the next 25 years.

The competition is open to everyone and participants in the research and education community worldwide are requested to submit their answers in a short video using smartness, ingenuity and creativity as well as understanding of research and education networking. The work of winners to this competition will be featured on TERENA’s new YouTube channel, TERENATube, where viewers can vote on their favourite videos. An iPad will be awarded to the winning entry.

The competition ends on 18th May 2011. For more information on the competition visit The TERENA 25 year contest site, complete with rules and the contest video upload form. For Facebook users: brainstorm your ideas on TERENA’s Facebook site.

Technology Transfer Alliance to boost Capacity Buliding in ICT

A few Higher Education Institutions in Africa and Europe having interest in and experience from capacity building integrating development and learning for academic credit have come together in a cooperation framework called the Technology Transfer Alliance (TTA). The alliance is open to any higher education institution willing to offer problem-oriented, project-driven courses integrating development and learning for academic credit according to the model discussed below. Other public and private stakeholders in the activities of the alliance, such as government on all levels and industry, can be invited to projects via the TTA member institutions.

The scope of TTA is problem-solving of relevance to society and industry that requires design and deployment of ICT and Renewable Energy systems. Besides innovative technical solutions based on open access principles and open standards, including open source software and selected off-the-shelf hardware components, relevant policy and regulation issues, as well as economical, administrative and business-oriented aspects, can be considered.

The capacity building activities are designed to integrate development and learning, including:

  • Individual learning for academic credit
  • Organizational learning, possibly including certification of some sort.
  • Consortial learning about roles of different stakeholder groups

Examples of what TTA can offer its members include:

  • Facilitation and demonstration of south-south and south-north cross-border cooperation.
  • Create career opportunities and introduction to working life for students.
  • An advisory role and pooling of capacity between members.
  • Cooperation of curriculum development and establishment of research infrastructures.
  • Brokering of projects involving research and education activities in multi-stakeholder private-public partnerships with goals of relevance to society and to industrialisation of research results.

The pedagogical model is developed and proven at KTH during more than a decade ( TTA projects have dedicated principals, in or outside the academic environment in public or private sector. TTA projects are executed by teams of students, for academic credit, mostly master-level students, just before their thesis projects. The teams are supervised by university teachers and coached by more senior students, either master-level students or PhD students that already took the course. They also have access to external experts relevant to the expertise required in each individual project.

Besides the problem-oriented, project-driven model of advanced and controlled learning-by-doing, the pedagogical model includes peer-learning in carefully composed teams and vicarious learning from earlier teams. Deliverables from earlier teams that are available currently include open source software and lists of selected hardware for high performance, low-effect routers, video-conferencing systems, network and service management systems, etc. They also include designs using alternative power sources and power storage technologies, methods for selecting hardware, performance evaluation, etc.

Examples of methods to systematically involve key stakeholders in multi-stakeholder partnerships include the formation of “Living Labs”. Examples of past TTA projects include:

  • Development of open technical solutions and methods, such as affordable high-performance green routers, HD Video conferencing systems, network and service management systems, test and measurement systems, etc.
  •  Deployment of Internet Exchange Points in ten cities in Africa, Latin America and Asia, Campus networks at Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology and University of Malawi in Blantyre, NREN pilots such as Rwednet in Kigali and Eko-Konnect in Lagos, Rural broadband networks and services, such as the Serengeti Broadband Network in northern Tanzania used as a research infrastructure for e-health, e-learning and e-government (

New TTA projects under discussion include more campus networks, NREN pilots and Internet exchange points as well as an extension of the Serengeti Broadband Network in the Great Lakes region. Contact: Björn Pehrson

UbuntuNet Alliance welcomes Rose Chisowa, new Communications Intern

 After realizing the contribution that communication specialists play in modern institutions, UbuntuNet Alliance, when recruiting the new Intern, this time recruited an intern with a background in communications and dissemination. Rose Chisowa, a Journalism Graduate from the University of Malawi, was recruited to replace Mr. Memory Afonso, the outgoing intern who has been with the Lilongwe team for a year.

Rose says “It’s my desire to take UbuntuNet Alliance to another level by making sure that communication with the Alliance community is effectively done and that good relationship between the Alliance and the media is established as this will assist the organization in achieving increasing regional and global recognition”
She further adds that she will ensure UbuntuNet Alliance activities and events are planned in a way that it generates publicity and that its strategies are developed in a manner that it sparks media interest.

“I wish to fully understand the philosophies and products of UbuntuNet Alliance and explore and exploit the different communications media in promoting the Alliance”. We warmly welcome Rose to the team. She brings a valuable skills set and she will also add to that set in web- related areas so that her internship is mutually profitable.

Green again: UbuntuNet Alliance participates remotely in Internet2 Spring meeting

 Representatives from WACREN, AAU and UbuntuNet Alliance participated remotely on 20th April 2011 in the just ended Internet2 Spring Member Meeting which was held in Arlington Virginia on 18-20th April 2011 with the theme “The Path Forward, Envisioning Opportunities.” Key elements of the Path Forward include services above the network, e.g. Cloud Services; shared resources, advanced Network and Network services leaders, the US Unified Community Anchor Network (US UCAN).

Of special interest to Africa was a session on “African Regional Research Networks: Creating Intra-African and Global Connectivity and Linkages” which had remote presenters from Accra, Kampala and Lilongwe. Thanks go to World Bank Centers in the three countries for providing video conferencing facilities and Michael Foley of the World Bank who set it all up. The session was also netcast and available live for other viewers all over the world.

The session had four presentations: Dr Boubakar Barry of the Association of African Universities presented “African Research and Education Networking: Where do we stand?;” Tusu Tusubira, CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance presented “The Status of Continental and Global Infrastructure;” Tiwonge Msulira Banda of UbuntuNet Alliance presented “Applications for Global and Regional Collaboration:” and finally, Tom Fryer of DANTE presented “Regional R&E Networks: Strategic Alliances.” Presentations are available: here

Internet2 promotes the missions of its members by providing both leading-edge network capabilities and unique partnership opportunities that together facilitate the development, deployment and use of revolutionary Internet technologies.

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