The Development, Construction, and Management of the TWAREN Network
Having an advanced networking infrastructure has become a key indicator of a nation's international competitiveness. Networking has also become an indispensable tool in the global economy. In the 1990s, an era of great prosperity descended upon the US based, in part, on the National Science Foundation (NSF)-created NSFnet. IT generated one third of the US's GDP, a wealth that totaled US $1.3 trillion between 1993 and 1997. NSF's basic technology research contributed to the amazing success of the IT sector. It followed through with the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative by constructing the very-high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS) in 1996. The vBNS connected hundreds of institutions to facilitate research collaboration and information exchange.
In 1998, Taiwan's National Science Council (NSC) followed suit by tasking the NCHC with the construction of the Taiwan Research Network 2 (TANet2). At its formation, TANet2 connected to vBNS at 15 Mbps whereas vBNS was then operating at 155 Mbps. After vBNS was replaced by Abilene, the U.S.'s next generation 2.5 Gbps network, Taiwan’s TANet2 connected internationally at a snail's pace of 180 Mbps.
Compared to the gigabyte networks of the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea, Taiwan has fallen behind. The TWAREN Project will bring Taiwan up to par with the rest of the world. With vastly increased bandwidth and a greater number of connected institutions, this network will be the foundation for innovation and creation. The network's applications will not be limited to IT. Projects such as Grid will support research in long distance patient monitoring, ECO system monitoring, disaster prevention, emergency response systems, and eLearning. We will also use the Grid to cooperate with other nations on projects such as nanotechnology, system on chips (SoC), and biotechnology.