On 21 June, universities and research centres in Catalonia met to celebrate the traditional annual meeting of the Anella Científica (Scientific Ring), the regional research and education network of Catalonia. Coinciding with its 25th anniversary, this edition shed light on current challenges and questions that might arise in the near future.The conference looked back on the first years of the Anella Científica, when the highest bandwidth for the connected institutions was 10 Mbps. After 25 years and four different technological renewals, the Anella now has several 10 Gbps connections, and it’s working on the fifth renewal that will increase this speed up to 100 Gbps.

Miquel Puig, CEO of CSUC, the consortium that manages the Anella Científica, emphasised the role of the Anella in strengthening the Catalan scientific system within the international scope. Along similar lines, the Secretary for Universities and Research in Catalonia, Arcadi Navarro, pointed out the “competitiveness of the Catalan research ecosystem thanks to state-of-the-art infrastructures like the Anella Científica”.

The meeting ended with an interesting and enriching round table with personalities like Alberto Pérez, Director of RedIRIS, and representatives from two universities and two research centres. They discussed what comes next: should research networks provide only connectivity? Or should they offer additional services as well? Different experts in this field agreed on highlighting the need for cloud and identity services, cybersecurity, virtualisation and open data once connectivity is fully guaranteed. The financing of these networks was another chapter of the round table, where speakers bet on a shared financing between Public Administrations and users.

The Anella Científica is a flexible and reliable infrastructure that connects more than 80 institutions involved in the world of R&D and innovation, with nearly 130 connected ports. It has two sites in Barcelona that provide redundancy to all the institutions. After 25 years of existence, the Anella Científica looks to the future, getting ready for its 5th technological renewal.

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