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From: "Abdulaziz H. Al-Zoman"
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steven Huter)
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 1996 09:54:24 +0300 (GMT)
Good day Steven,
Computer Networks in Saudi Arabia
country status report
Dr. Abdulaziz H. Al-Zoman
One of the main goals of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
(KACST) is to assist science and educational communities in Saudi Arabia
by funding projects and providing tools that aid scientific researches.
GULFNET (BITNET-based network) has been a valuable tool for academic
users since its establishment in 1985. KACST played a major role in the
establishment of GULFNET. It acts as the main node and provides funds
for the international communication link to BITNET.
Current Computer Networks:
GULFNET is a computer network which links the academic and research
institutes in the Arabian Gulf States. There are currently twelve members
primarily in Saudi Arabia. The main objective of GULFNET is to provide an
electronic information exchange medium for the research community in the
region. Its membership is open to non-commercial organizations. In addition
to email, GULFNET enables users to access services available at KACST such
as the National Bibliographical Databases. Also, users in most GULFNET
nodes are able to access library services at some nodes such as King Saud
University (KSU), King Fahad University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
and King Abdulaziz University (KAAU).
In 1987, GULFNET was linked to BITNET by connecting KACST to George
Washington University in the USA. This gave greater value to GULFNET by
making useful BITNET services available to the users of GULFNET. These
services include list servers that provide means for creating forums for
discussion and information sharing in a given topic. In addition, since
BITNET has many gateways to other major computer networks such as Internet,
users can exchange email messages with millions of other users world-wide.
As many sites are switching from BITNET to Internet, GULFNET nodes are
motivated to follow the same stream. However, because of many reasons
including the lack of a proper communications infrastructure and the
shortage of skills in Internet technology in the region, its expected
that GULFNET will remain BITNET-based in the near future. If BITNET
ceases, GULFNET can survive by connecting to Internet through a gateway
to provide email services.
Future Computer Networks:
To take advantage of vast resources of Internet, KACST with other academic
institutions in Saudi Arabia are taking the lead to introduce Internet to
the local community through an Internet pilot project. SaudiNet is the
proposed name of the on-going IP network in Saudi Arabia.
The main goal of the project is to provide the basis for SaudiNet by
identifying the local technical requirements and other resources needed
for a local internet. In addition, it aims at establishing a local
infrastructure, and then linking its infrastructure to Internet. The
experience gained in this project will guide the overall planning,
design, and implementation of SaudiNet.
In the pilot project, three sites will be linked: KACST, KSU, and
KFUPM. Then, these sites will be linked to the Internet by linking
KACST to King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC)
which has been connected to the Internet since 1994. KFSHRC has a T1
(1.544 Mbps) satellite link provided as part of the Saudi American
University Project for tele-medicine with a 128 Kbps allocated for
the Internet connection.
Since the local PTT does not provide high speed lines beyond 9.6
Kbps, KACST has installed T1 microwave links between the pilot
projectbs sites in Riyadh.
KACST campus network:
There is a number of departmental (10BaseT) LANs interconnected using
fiber optic cables. There is a plane to install a backbone connecting
these LANs. Currently, MS Windows for Work Group 3.1, Win 95, Novell 3.1,
and TCP/IP applications are used.
o National telecommunication infrastructure that will support data
exchange at very high speed (T1~T3).
o Multiple international links (with speed at least T1) to countries
that are connected to Internet.
o Equipment to provide or host some national-wide Internet services,
e.g., DNS, USENET, Archive servers, Web servers.
o Security tools, e.g., firewalls.
o Expertise in
- TCP/IP networking.
- UNIX administration.
- Security systems.
o Users awareness generally in computer networking and particularly
Available Equipment at KACST:
. DEC alpha 3000
. Sun Ultra 1
. Microwave modems + DSU/CSUs
. CISCO routers
-- Abdulaziz Al-Zoman
PS: Currently we are working in moving email traffic from Bitnet connection
to Internet for all GULFNET nodes. Therfore, the load of the network is
changing frequently. Later, I will send you some load statistics.
Abdulaziz H. Al-Zoman,
_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ NCN, KACST, P.O.Box 6086
_/ _/ _/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/ Riyadh 11442, Saudi Arabia
_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/ Tel: +966-1-481-3208,
_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ Fax: +966-1-481-3254,
........................................ email: email@example.com