Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to commonly asked questions about DANTE. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for please contact us.
What is DANTE?
DANTE has been delivering pan-European research networks since 1993. It is the only organisation of its kind and was created by Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) for the specific purpose of providing pan-European research networks on their behalf. It has a track record of success – four generations of pan-European research networks. It has repeatedly been the managing partner in projects receiving co-funding from the European Commission. Its staff collectively have unparalleled knowledge and experience of European research networking.
What is an NREN?
NRENs are National Research and Education Networks. An NREN is responsible, on a national basis, for the provision of data communications networks and services to the research and education community of its country. The NREN network typically connects other networks at regional or metropolitan level.
What does DANTE do?
DANTE is an organisation whose primary mission is to plan, build and manage pan-European research networks on behalf of Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). It performs a coordinating and managerial role, in the form of a secretariat. The name DANTE derives from the acronym "Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe". As its name suggests, the objective is to build communication networks using the most advanced technology and operating at the highest speeds on a pan-European basis.
DANTE is also involved in other activities related to European research networking, such as feasibility studies and international research networking. Its staff also carry out some research activity in the area of networking, at the leading edge of Internet development.
DANTE’s current main activity is the operation and management of GÉANT, the pan-European multi-gigabit research and education network.
DANTE is not a product or service, but a privately owned, not-for-profit organisation.
Why is DANTE important?
Research networking activity is seen as having an important contribution to make towards maintaining European competitiveness and supporting economic development. European research networking helps provide the ability for all researchers, wherever in Europe they work, to participate in collaborative research projects and contribute to the best of their abilities. Through the vital support it provides to research and education in Europe, enabling researchers and academics to work at the forefront of their fields, research networking helps Europe's economy to remain globally competitive.
The involvement of organisations from so many countries in pan-European research networking is also a very good example of the sort of European cooperation that is fundamental to the objectives of the European Union itself.
The work in which DANTE and its partners are involved is at the forefront of the development of the Internet. As well as their operational responsibilities, some staff at DANTE perform research activities involving new Internet technologies and services. These new technologies and services are usually implemented on research networks well ahead of commercial networks, making cutting edge technology available to Europe’s research community.
How is DANTE funded?
The majority of DANTE’s income derives from its involvement in the projects it manages. The GÉANT project is the biggest such project currently, and DANTE receives income from the subscriptions paid to it by the NREN partners in the GÉANT project. These subscriptions are agreed by NRENs as part of the structure of pan-European research networking. Some other income comes directly from the European Commission due to DANTE’s management of other network projects. DANTE is, however, a not-for-profit organisation; the public financing it receives is not used to generate profit, but to provide Research and Development funding for activities which would not take place under the influence of market forces alone.
What do staff at DANTE do?
DANTE has around 70 staff who collectively have considerable knowledge and experience in the various technical and commercial disciplines required to meet the exacting demands of providing international networks. The main functional activites of the company may be summarised as follows:
- Commercial and Financial Management
- Network Engineering and Planning
- International Relations, Communications and Business Development
Commercial and Financial Management includes contract negotiation and management, project and financial management.
The Network Engineering and Planning team is responsible for the engineering of all network related issues and for the introduction of new services. Initially, new services undergo a pilot phase, after which they are handed over to the Operations group. Its members have proven expertise in various fields such as IPv6, Multicast, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Quality of Service (QoS).
The Operations group has responsibility for the installation, good operation and performance of network services provided, or managed, by DANTE. This includes the provision of support for large international projects and Grids. Its members are also in charge of the traffic-reporting activities of DANTE, as well as of such services as statistics collection and the deployment of new services, such as IPv6.
The International Relations, Communications and Business Development teams handle DANTE’s external relationships and communications, and account management of our NREN customers.
What’s the difference between DANTE and GÉANT?
GÉANT is the multi-gigabit pan-European research network. It is also the name of the project that has developed the network. The partners in the GÉANT project are European Research and Education Networks (NRENs), DANTE and TERENA. DANTE is the coordinating partner and manages the project on behalf of the other partners. DANTE is a not-for-profit organisation whose shareholders are NRENs from across Europe.
What is Research Networking and why is it important?
Research networking is the provision of data communications networks for the use of the research and academic community. The networks are used to transfer data and to support experiments and applications, which are crucial to academic research. Without high-speed research networks, many research projects at the forefront of their fields would be simply unable to exist.
Research networking activity is seen as having an important contribution to make towards maintaining European competitiveness and supporting economic development. The involvement of organisations from so many countries in pan-European research networking is a very good example of the sort of European cooperation which is fundamental to the objectives of the European Union itself. The current pan-European research network backbone, GÉANT, in fact precedes the expansion of the European Union by already including all of the current accession countries – and several others - within its reach.
European research networking also assists cohesion – the notion of narrowing the economic development differential between countries – by helping provide the ability for all researchers, wherever in Europe they work, to participate in collaborative research projects and contribute to the best of their abilities.
Research networks have two primary objectives. They exist as an infrastructure support to researchers. In addition, they have a research role in their own right, implementing new services in advance of the general marketplace for telecommunications. They are ideally placed to do this as their users are generally computer and communications literate and are prepared to experiment with new technology. DANTE is an active participant in the development of new networking services to support European research.