Eighth CEENet Workshop in Network Technology – Engineering the Virtual Silk Highway, August, 19-29, 2002, Budapest, Hungary

The dynamic and innovative nature of the CEENet Education Programme with respect to the organization and the execution of the workshops in the areas of technology, management and policy was broaden and reinforced again during the “NATO ANW – Eighth CEENet Workshop on Network Technology” held in Budapest from August 19 to August 29, 2002, colored for the first time with hands-on exercises using a real Virtual Silk Highway set-up and an extensive programme on VSAT technology.

Request for the Workshop

The workshop was a response to the request from Central Asian and Caucasus NRENs, which were in urgent need to train their technicians, in view of  the foreseen delivery of the Silk set-ups in the near (2002 and 2003) future. ANW application has been sent before the Jan 15th deadline, and the timely decisions of the NATO Science Committee and Networking Panel, as well as splendid support of the local host (CEU CC) made all preparations very easy. 

Number of Participants
Workshop has been planned for 32 participants: 3 candidates from each of 8 countries, involved in Silk project, have been invited. For the last 8 places candidates from other CEE countries, with clear interest in VSAT technology have been invited. Not all NRENs from Silk countries were able to nominate 3 candidates, also in the very last moment, 2 candidates from Turkmenistan could not leave their country. Thus additional students from countries, which do not need Hungarian visa, have been invited. Altogether, due to a very efficient visa support organized by CEU Conference Centre, 33 students from 18 countries participated in the workshop. For those technicians from Silk countries, whose command of English was not enough to follow the lectures, a translation to Russian language has been provided.It is clear that the combined efforts of the organizers, the lecturers, the sponsors, and more important, the interest and the diligence of the students, produced rather exceptional results and fulfillment of all the objectives set prior to the Workshop.

Set-up of the VSAT Antenna
Prior to the workshop, the NATO Co-director Dr Jacek Gajewski, visited DESY-Hamburg, to take part in the VSAT vendor training and arranging the details of hardware delivery to Budapest and the software installation.
The hardware has been shipped by a truck. Unfortunately the equipment couldn’t be sent to Hungary as an ATA-Carnet demonstration equipment, since it already was on a temporary residence in Germany (bound for
Central Asia/Caucasus). Nevertheless, the custom clearance in Hungary has been done effectively within 4 hours with the help of professional custom agent. In parallel a (successful) application has been issued to obtain
the operation license from Hungarian Radio-Frequency authority. During the next 2 days two antennas have been mechanically set-up, and later within one day the two-way VSAT communication has been established by a team of CEENet lecturers. Valuable comments from this installation process have been distributed and will be used in subsequent installations in Silk countries.

Books Donation for Students
The education environment, due to generous donation of equipment by CISCO, and the previous preparations by the organizers, the staff of CEU CC, and the core lecturers was more then adequate and the operations were most of the time flawless. Due to the another donation provided by O’Reilly and CISCO Press in books, estimated value of about 35 000 USD, all of the participants and their respective organizations and institutions were
presented with much needed literature and software, often rather difficult to obtain in their developing countries.