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With most network issues occurring in the last mile – eduPERT helps users to help themselves
eduPERT is an open community created by GÉANT, the high-speed research and education network, to help scientists and researchers troubleshoot poor network performance themselves.
With research and education more and more reliant on high-speed networks to share and store data across campuses and even continents - poor network performance can drastically impinge output and drain resources. Yet issues such as slow connectivity and latency are often experienced and even considered an unavoidable annoyance.
Most network issues happen in the ‘last mile’
Nearly all degradations in network performance can be narrowed down to the end of chain, occurring within the university or laboratory and often on the laptop or computer itself.
When there is a problem, many users will contact their IT department or their National Research and Education Network (NREN) for troubleshooting. In the majority of cases, issues are traced back to the equipment or configuration at the user end.
GÉANT provides the reliable infrastructure and 99.999% availability that interconnects Europe’s NRENs (specialised internet service providers in each country), to support Europe’s research and education community.
Empowering users to help themselves
eduPERT is part of a commitment by GÉANT and the NRENs to help network users get the best performance from their connections.
By providing a federated PERT (performance enhancement and response team) and a portfolio of central services to aid in network investigations, researchers improve their end to end performance experience and their ability to monitor and troubleshoot the majority of issues themselves. As a federated community, every piece of knowledge is pooled, incrementally improving the GÉANT service offering as more people join.
Says Alessandra Scicchitano, eduPERT Task Leader: “We recently showed how one small optimisation on a user’s laptop increased network speed by 20%. This type of knowledge sharing goes a long way to dealing with niggling, everyday performance issues for scientists and researchers. Users are an essential part of network development and through active participation in eduPERT’s unique community they will not only benefit from improved user experience, but contribute to future networking innovation as a whole."
eduPERT is an open community
Anyone using a high-speed network can join eduPERT to share and grow knowledge of the networking environment. Monthly phone calls and summer workshops are available to universities, research campuses, laboratories and international projects, who are encouraged to sign up.
Gianfranco Sciacca, EGI resource centre manager at AEC-LHEP, University of Bern, said: “I found the eduPERT training at the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) Forum extremely pertinent and useful. In the future, it would be interesting to have a two-level training session: a 'beginner' level and a more 'advanced' level. The latter could address further issues on the pure network layer, like switching and routing technologies and performance, MTU settings etc."