Proposal for Setting up of National Knowledge Network (NKN)
Decision: Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure has approved the establishment of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) at an outlay of Rs.5990 crore to be implemented by NIC over a period of 10 years.
1.1 One of the important recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) is to inter-connect all knowledge institutions through high speed data communication network. This would encourage sharing of knowledge, specialized resources and collaborative research.
1.2 The Government’s decision to set up such a National Knowledge Network was announced by the Finance Minister in the Budget speech of 2008-09. An initial amount of Rs.100 crore for FY 2008-09 was allocated to the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and IT for establishing the National Knowledge Network. A high level committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Dr. R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, to coordinate and monitor the establishment of the NKN.
2. Implementation strategy and targets:
2.1 The architecture of the National Knowledge Network will be scalable and the network will consist of an ultra-high speed core (multiples of 10 Gbps and upwards). The core shall be complemented with a distribution layer at appropriate speeds. The participating institutions can connect to the NKN at speeds of 1 Gbps or to the distribution layer through a last mile connectivity bandwidth.
2.2 The NKN will provide nation-wide ultra high speed backbone/data-network highway. Various other networks in the country can take advantage of this ultra high speed backbone, with national and international reach to create independent and closed user groups.
2.3 The NKN will have about 25 core Point of Presence (PoPs) and 600 secondary PoPs. It will connect around 1500 institutions. The Physical Infrastructure (setting up of core network) is expected to be completed in a span of 24 months.
3. Major Impact:
3.1 NKN will enable scientists, researchers and students from diverse spheres across the country to work together for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas. NKN will catalyse knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between stakeholders seamlessly – that too across the nation and globally. NKN is expected to encourage a larger section of research and educational institutions to create intellectual property. NKN would enable use of specialized applications, which allow sharing of high performance computing facilities, e-libraries, virtual classrooms and very large databases.
3.2 Health, Education, Grid Computing, Agriculture and e-Governance are the main applications identified for implementation and delivery on NKN. Applications such as countrywide classrooms will address the issue of faculty shortage and ensure quality education delivery across the country. The crux of the success of the Knowledge Network is related to the education related applications, databases and delivery of services to the users on demand.
4. Current status of initial phase
In the initial phase, a core Backbone consisting of 15 Points of Presence (PoPs) have been established with 2.5 Gbps capacity. Around 40 institutions of higher learning and advanced research have already been connected to the network and 6 virtual classrooms set up.