Information & Communication Technology plays a vital role in all aspects of an individual’s life as well as in the growth of a nation as a whole. Be it E-Commerce, E-Governance, Online Employment Exchange, Weather Forecasting, E-News Paper etc. ICT is ruling it all. One of the emerging applications is NATIONAL KNOWLEDGE NETWORK (NKN), a government of India initiative, announced in the financial year 2008-2009 with an initial amount of Rs.100 crore with an endeavor of bringing all the stakeholders in higher education and research & development in India by facilitating Knowledge sharing and E-learning through country wide class rooms (CWCR), collaborative research and Data/Information sharing with an ultra high speed.
The initial setup with 2.5Gbps transfer rate and 15 Point of Presence (PoP) has been established in major cities of the nation that are presently connecting 60-70 institutes of higher education and advance research. Also 6 Virtual classrooms have also been setup.
The participating institutes needs to have a speed of 1Gbps to connect to the network. The NKN will provide nationwide ultra high speed data network among 1500 organizations for which 25 Point of Presence (primary) and 6000 secondary PoPs will be used to catalyze the seamless knowledge sharing across the country. This complete physical Infrastructure (i.e. Core Network) is expected to setup in a total estimated time of 24 months.
NKN will provide a network over a wide geographical coverage with Ultra high speed which will be highly scalable and reachable network which is more reliable and secure over existing one. All the participating organizations will ensure Quality of service in education and research through shared resources but the network will be completely dedicated and owned by the concerned parties.
The NKN will be highly beneficial in various fields such as Health & Tele-Medicine by peer to peer (P2P) Technology, Grid computing and Agriculture using shared resources, reachable network and high-end web services, E-Classrooms (CWCR) by real time interaction using multicast streaming to ensure quality education and dealing with faculty shortage issues over the country, and Education, Research & Development by resource and knowledge sharing, collaborative researches, online Databases and computational resources access, virtual labs, voice interaction and peer group interaction.
Though NKN was designed with a thought of making it a national knowledge highway in the country but the implementation could face the many constraints like geographical structure of the country which is very large, federal and complex that can cause several compatibility issues in the physical infrastructure setup of NKN due to distances and administrative differences in different organizations. Existing networks in the institutes are complex and multiple networks too exist that can result in making IP Numbering complex. Also, the current networking scenario in India indicates that a number of networking initiatives have been taken like ERNET for education, NICNET for governmental information and INFLIBNET for information & library network etc. But, they are restricted to their specific application domain while NKN, on the other hand is expected to cover various and wider aspects of ICT application in India.
So, with an total estimated budget of Rs.5990 crore, and many experienced people involved, it can be ensured that NKN will surely emerge as a backbone for knowledge sharing in India.