UO-based NSRC cultivates Moroccan connections

Steve Huter
Steve Huter

The University of Oregon-based Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) is continuing to cultivate its relationships with universities and education networks in Morocco, which grew out of a training and engineering trip to the northwest African country last spring.

The NSRC has been asked by the Moroccan Research and Education Network (MARWAN) director to provide engineering assistance to additional Moroccan universities and to organize a joint training session – this one on advanced routing, peering and building Internet Exchange Points (IXP).

A UO-NSRC team went to Morocco last March to provide engineering assistance to the campus network team at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fès, Morocco. The team installed a new core router to improve the network architecture and Internet services, and new wireless network links to improve connections on the campus.

The team also participated in a training program jointly organized with Morocco's Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique (CNRST) and conducted at the Faculté des Sciences Semlalia in Marrakech. A group of 35 network engineers from 13 Moroccan universities took part in the training.

Google paid for the travel expenses of the UO-NSRC team to Morocco and the National Science Foundation provided funding for the training workshop in Marrakech. The work is intended to strengthen network-based collaboration with U.S. university partners.

More recently, NSRC has provided a donation of network switches to the University Ibn Zohr of Agadir, Morocco, to upgrade campus network infrastructure. The equipment was provided to NSRC by Google, to assist with improving Internet access and infrastructure.

The NSRC, which is housed in the UO's Knight Library, is a non-profit group that has worked since the late 1980s to help develop and deploy networking technology for many Internet access projects in the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East. The NSRC works with network engineers and operators in local regions around the world to develop and maintain Internet infrastructure in their countries.

The UO center's goal is to make it easier for local scientists, engineers, educators and students to collaborate via the Internet with their international colleagues.

The NSRC was formalized with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1992 to provide technical assistance to U.S. scientists working with universities and research institutes in developing areas, and currently receives core funding from the NSF as a member of its International Research Network Connections (IRNC) program. Google is one of NSRC's major funders, and more than two dozen public and private organizations provide additional contributions to support its Internet development work.

Over the past 20 years, the NSRC has worked in more than 100 countries to help build their portions of the Internet.