India's NKN Breaks Boundaries

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj, Journalist | 11/22/2012 | 10 comments

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj
India is building a high-speed multi-gigabit pan-India network to link all major Indian universities, libraries, laboratories, hospitals, and agricultural institutions.

The $1.3 billion National Knowledge Network (NKN) among 1,500 institutions seeks to encourage collaboration and research on a global-scale. At present, 908 nodes have been connected. Researchers, academicians, and students from diverse backgrounds and geographies will ultimately leverage the network to their advantage. While NKN will eventually reach the US, connecting to research networks like Internet2, Canarie, Gloriad, and Nysernet, links to regional networks will be established first.

Global real-time research is already part of the network through the third generation Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN-3), a dedicated, high-speed regional research and education network in Asia and Europe. Tein-3 fosters robust research and education IP connectivity, linking Asia-Pacific researchers to each other and their counterparts in Europe. Direct, fast links to Europe's multi-gigabit Geant network make this possible. Seventeen Southeast Asian and Pacific Rim nations are connected on the Tein-3 network. Tein-3 has been used for:

  • Timely transmission of global meteorological data, which in turn enables faster, more accurate weather forecasting.
  • Remote lectures and interactive video-conferences for students across the region.
  • Specific analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in Geneva, is being carried out by scientists at the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. Two of the seven experiments, ALICE and CMS, related to heavy ion and particle physics are supported on NKN. The CMS experiment recently led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson on God particle by CERN.
  • The Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, has conducted protein crystallography studies accessing the Synchrotron at Grenoble, France. This has enabled studies on structure-function relationships in biological macromolecules and design of new drugs.

On the domestic front, the NKN envisages applications in the areas of agriculture, education, health, e-governance, and high performance grid computing. Several model application projects have been launched in these areas, including virtual classrooms, open-source drug discovery, Collab-CAD application for reactor component design, and weather modeling. Notable among these are:

  • The Indian Brain Imaging Network Grid or I-Brain created by scientists at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, to study brain scans and enable early detection of Alzheimer's disease.
  • A Meta University is taking shape on the strength of the NKN. Eligible students will be able to pursue multiple courses through this concept –- an extension of virtual classrooms -– which is collaborative and based on open-source learning materials.

India's national grid, Global Access to Resources Using Distributed Architecture (GARUDA), has been migrated onto the NKN. Garuda is a service-oriented architecture-based aggregation of computational nodes, mass storage and scientific instruments, spanning 17 cities and 45 institutions. Research has started in semantic grid services, integrated development environment, storage resource managers, network simulation, and grid file systems. Efforts are on to integrate technology components of Garuda with the EGEE under an EU-India Grid collaboration to allow users to access the resources and services across both the grids in a secure and seamless manner. At present, Garuda resources are also being accessed to screen drug targets for metabolic disorders from traditional plants and for seasonal prediction of Indian monsoons, aerospace engineering, and disaster management.

The NKN backbone starts from 2.5Gbps and progressively moves to 10Gbps connectivity between seven supercore (fully meshed) locations around India. The network is further spread out through 26 core locations with multiple 2.5/10Gbps partially meshed connections among supercore locations. The distribution layer connects the entire country to the core of the network using multiple links at speeds of 2.5/10Gbps. End users are connected at speeds of up to 1Gbps. The network architecture and governance structure allows users options to connect to the distribution layer as well.

The potential of the NKN is not lost on the private sector, which has been clamoring for access to the high bandwidth connectivity to reach out to rural areas and offer invaluable services in the areas of health and telemedicine.

Are you as a CIO in India interested in leveraging NKN? Do you think it should be opened up to the private sector? Leave your comments below.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Pedro Gonzales   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/27/2012 10:48:54 AM
having a infrastructure is just the begining
I think such activities are great in India and continue in the future.  But, I hope more of such infrastruture is used to support social services and education. As many of the commentators indicated, that the gap between the rich and poor need to be decrease due to the large number of poor people. I think technology can be used to that extend, provide technical training, telemedicine and many more services.
Sudha N Bharadwaj   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/26/2012 9:04:54 AM
Re: On another note about the security
@rdv, you are very right...hackers around the world are always looking for new challenges! Well, so far so good.
Sudha N Bharadwaj   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/26/2012 9:01:17 AM
Re: Inspiring

Your observations carry a sense of poignancy. The paradoxical situation in India does inspire self-introspection in humanity...I am of the personal opinion that not enough is being said and written about the disadvantaged sections of society. IT success stories make more pleasant reading, I guess. When people outside the country attempt to take a closer look at the harsh realities, they slip into stereo-typing ---snake-charmers, cattle on roads and so on, putting the "intellectuals" on the defensive. The need of the hour is to break it all down to tiny issues of development and make honest, if ruthless comparisons with other nations. The Economist did this recently in a refreshing manner:

As for helping the needy, the answer is in empowerment, education and exposure.
rdv   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/26/2012 4:17:50 AM
On another note about the security
Sudha, thanks for the post and letting us know about the NKN initiative.

GARUDA GRID getting migrated into NKN will help utilize the Gigabit speeds for the scientific and engineering computations... 

however the security threat have to be combated properly otherwise a single breach can collapse the entire network and that too the scientific data.
DBK   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/25/2012 1:57:57 PM
Re: Inspiring
@ the string of posts on this topic it is interesting how the world can still have a cast society where the rich get richer and the poor are artificially held to a certain level.  However in a different but similar way the same thing is happening domestically. The digital divide that is seperating the haves and the have nots.  Accelerating growth and accelerating the divide between the employee able and unemployable.  The educated and the under educated.  It is all very scary and if history has taught us anything this situation can lead to revolts.  And at a certain level we are seeing those revolts as the so called "Occupy" your city name here phenomenon.  the other question is who is funding those "Occupy movements, that answer may be very revealing.
KeithGrinsted   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/25/2012 3:13:56 AM
Re: Inspiring
Rich, good point!!

But it does seem to be greater extremes in India.

But your example of USA could be applied to pretty much any country struggling with the recession and austerity measures.

We are not perfect in UK.  One of the fastest growing enterprises in the charity sector are foodbanks!  These are springing up all  around the country - over 200 so far.  They provide food parcels to needy families that suddenly find themselves on hard times.

KeithGrinsted   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/25/2012 3:09:10 AM
Re: Inspiring
I guess the access bit is critical.  It will hopefully open up opportunity to some of those less fortunate who do themselves have some of the answers.

If the cleverest are only interested in pushing the boundaries and proving how clever they are they'll never look back at the problems behind them.

But if the socially entrepreneurial individuals amongst the needy can gain access to a bigger world they may actually begin to make a difference.

I just wish I knew how the world at large could help them more?

Technocrat   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/24/2012 3:34:09 PM
Re: Inspiring
 " I just hope that the cleverest minds in Indiia can also solve the poverty."

Excellent point Keith,  While I share your sentiment, history has shown that the cleverest of minds can do little to affect poverty, but it is a start,  "with access" means opportunity so in that sense the issue of poverty may be affected to some positive degree.
KeithGrinsted   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/24/2012 3:16:08 PM
Re: Inspiring
I think India is a staggering dichotomy!  How can a nation that has such poverty also have such technology.

I just hope that the cleverest minds in Indiia can also solve the poverty.

Technocrat   India's NKN Breaks Boundaries   11/24/2012 4:39:05 AM
Re: Inspiring
@Rich    I agree.  It is very impressive the steps India is taking with it's infrastructure, soon it will be an high speed example for the world.

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   5/13/2014   32 comments
Internet surveillance in India is turning really fierce. A Facebook transparency report reveals that the social network removed 4,765 pieces of content originating in India in the second ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/30/2014   50 comments
With the growing importance of enterprise data, big data, and the Internet of Things, the Indian CIO will be forced to wear the cap of the CDO as well. Though the Chief Digital Officer ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/25/2014   15 comments
The much-dreaded April 4 deadline for certification of imported electronic products in India has passed. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) had mandated that ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/18/2014   15 comments
India will soon offer reliable, affordable, and efficient cloud services for the private sector through a unique government-private sector joint effort. With an eye on helping the micro, ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/11/2014   15 comments
If you are a CIO hiring or planning to hire IT professionals for onsite projects in the US, you will have to wait to see if luck favors you this season. For the second year in a row, the ...
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.