GN4-3N is a highly collaborative project, involving all of Europe’s NRENs and benefiting from strong supplier relationships. Prior to the official start of the project in 2019, a number of regional workshops and market engagement activities took place which provided a strong foundation for the network design phase.
Decision-making and network design
The Network Infrastructure Advisory Committee (NIAC) was formed in April 2019 and is central to the project. Formed of ten NREN subject matter experts, its objectives are to build and sustain consensus during the infrastructure planning and implementation phases and to advise the Project Management Board on strategic policy, topological and technical issues and on financial consequences related to the procurement and implementation of IRUs, spectrum sharing and alternative solutions.
The GN4-3N project team has also defined and prepared a set of tools for use in managing the complex deployment of the new network, migration of services, and decommissioning of the existing line system equipment.
An important aspect in the success of the project is the creation of a new multi-stage Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) set up by the GÉANT procurement team to enable a high number of connectivity providers to be prequalified for the supply of terrestrial and subsea connectivity. Once accepted in the DPS these providers are then able to respond to published tenders for dark fibre, managed capacity and spectrum connectivity.
Procurement of the new Open Line System (OLS) included several stages including pre-qualification, outline proposal, face-to-face vendor dialogue sessions, Network Management System functionality webinars and final bid submission. The OLS procurement resulted in Framework Agreements being awarded to Infinera, Ciena, Nokia and ECI, with Infinera awarded the contract to build the new GN4-3N network.
The DPS system has also been used to procure connectivity covering short term terrestrial and subsea managed capacity for the current GÉANT network, dark fibre connectivity for the new GN4-3N network and terrestrial connectivity for EaPConnect.
More text to come