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FAQs

TERNET stands for the “Tanzanian Education and Research Network”, a network (self-help 1 group) of high learning and research institution aiming at providing a platform for enabling sharing of education and research resource. TERNET was registered as a trustee on 11 April 2008, and on 18 April 2008; it became a member of UbuntuNet Alliance, a registered non-profit association of NRENs of Eastern and Southern Africa.

TERNET Membership is voluntary, members are those institutions under Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU), NACTE (National Council for Technical Education) and COSTECH
(Commission of Science and Technology).

As per the current constitution, TERNET has four organs:

  1. AGM - This is composed by all heads of member institutions including Vice chancellors, principals/rectors of colleges, directors of institutes or directorates
  2. Board of Trustees - hold and own in trust all the property of TERNET and ensure
    the preservation, maintenance, development and proper or intended charitable
    purposes and use of such property. It consists of Five member institutions: (i) one position each for Committee of Vice-chancellors and Principals in Tanzania; (ii) one position for heads of one of the public universities/university colleges thereof; (iii) one position for one of the research institutions; (iv) one position for head of one of the public technical colleges; and (v) one position for head of one of the private technical colleges.
  3. Executive Committee - Responsible to the Council for the implementation of the mission, goal, objectives and functions of TERNET and the functions, duties, decisions, resolutions and/or directives of the Council. It is composed of ten (10) deputies of Chief Executive Offices of the member institutions recommended by a search committee of the AGM and approved by the AGM.
  4.  Secretariat - is the executive organ of TERNET, led by the Executive Secretary.

Yes. National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) exist in most African Countries, as well as in most advanced countries worldwide. TERNET is the NREN of Tanzania.

This scientific community often uses leading-edge applications, requiring specific technological solutions and has demanding network requirements compared to both consumer and business average users. NRENs were born to fulll these needs, by developing innovative technologies, often forerunning their commercial uptake of several years.
As it happened with the creation of the Internet, NRENs are constantly developing new services and applications, afterwards adopted in other domains .

Many aspects make TERNET and the NRENs different from commercial networks, the most prominent being the technical profile for both infrastructure and services.
NRENs are highly specialized in meeting the researcher’s needs, including cases where there is a need for tailor-made solutions and for the adoption of still under development technologies. Aggregating these special user needs is the only way to permit exploiting such advanced solutions and technical excellence. Moreover, it also allows a better cost sharing and access to services for these communities.
Besides being physically interconnected worldwide, NRENs also closely collaborate with each other and when developing new technologies and services, NRENs define common specifications for them.

NRENs are generally non-profit organizations, they are not market-driven as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are. This is a fundamental aspect when there is the need to support the requirements of small but scientifically relevant user communities.
A second key feature is the availability and capacity to collaborate closely with users: thanks to this attitude, users can actively contribute to define and test new services, thus helping network engineers to find the best solution to meet their needs.

TERNET network and its services are dedicated to the Tanzanian Academic and Research community. Currently about 46 user sites, including Research Organizations, Universities and other Scientific and Educational Facilities of national and International relevance, overall more than 40 thousands end users are connected.

The TERNET network is a valuable tool for the whole research and education community. It facilitates all users’ daily activities and it is essential for specific research activites in a number of scientific domains.
A significant increase is envisaged in the adoption of online computational services and storage, e-learning platforms, services of bandwidth reservation, etc. The research and Education Networks are already providing these services and promoting their adoption to the whole user community.

Being part of the TERNET community enables users to play an active role in the network development and to test and adopt innovative technologies, even when the market is not mature for them.
The TERNET network intends to provide:
  • An effective support to international cooperation activites;
  • Advanced and customized data transmission solutions, with maximum value for money;
  • A Tanzania-wide network of trust, capable of simplifying digital authentication and authorization procedures and minimizing duplications of credentials, thus facilitating researchers’ and students' mobility and resource sharing;
  • Quick and transparent provision of links, especially when dealing with tailor-made solution in inter-domain environments;
  • A wide availability of public IP addresses indispensable for some applications and services.

TERNET provides to its user community both operational and application services; the former ones are closely connected to the management and evolution of the network, while the latter are oriented to end users.
Operational services include configuration and management of network equipment, management of network failures, prevention and response to security incidents, domain names registration, allocation of IP4 (soon IPv6) addresses, etc.
Further services in the pipeline include network and associated services such as Affordable Internet, Network Engineers Training, Co-location services, Direct Engineering Assistance (DEA), Security Certificates (SSL), Eduroam, Support and Consultation.
Information systems such as Learning Management System (LMS), Online Student Management System (OSIS), Staff eMail, E-Registry, Turnitin and SMART meeting system.
Upcoming services such as Video Conferencing, Cloud Services, Thesis and Dissertations depository with Plagiarism Check and Tech-Savvy Program.

Worldwide NRENs may take different legal forms.
Typically, the most popular model is the non-profit, independent legal entity (company, consortium, association) indirectly controlled by the research and education community. This form ensure to NRENs a certain independence from governments, thus making the management and decision making process quicker and less bureaucratic; meanwhile, this option helps reducing the NREN staff, thus contributing to contain the costs.There are three main funding Models, which are:
  1. Government funding, where the NREN is mostly funded by the government
  2. Donor funding, where the NREN is mostly funded by donors
  3. Self-funding where the NREN is funded by members through services procurement and membership fees.
The funding model significantly varies from country, being strictly dependent on the national context, but it always involves public money in a direct or indirect way. There is not a unique “recipe for success”, however it can be noticed that the direct intervention of Governments may be beneficial in some cases. Direct public funding is useful when the NREN is testing and implementing new technologies and services, as they may require an important initial investment in infrastructures/equipment: such an investment may indeed be beyond the financial capacities of the user communities, even when the new technology is cost-effective in the medium-long term. the same funding scheme is envisaged whenever a NREN is in a start-up phase, or it operates in a developing country, with limited dedicated funding for R&D.

The need for higher bandwidth and new technologies and applications are bringing NRENs towards a model based on the ownership of optical fibers and the direct control of lower network layers, with major implications in terms of management and technology.
Until a few years ago, the prevailing model was based on leased circuits owned by operators to whom the management of lower network layers was delegated.
On the other hand, a few advanced experiences demonstrate that Owning (or however acquiring their right of use in the longer-term) caters or more flexible and scalable solutions, as well as more cost-effective ones already in the short-medium term.
The ownership and direct control of the infrastructure can hence be regarded as a true paradigm shift.
In a technical perspective, this implies more flexibility and allow implementing, on the same physical infrastructure, diverse networks for different user groups: a feature not available on traditional IP-only networks whose architecture are typically passive and cannot be easily modeled on the users’ requirements.

To learn more about TERNET and the evolution of the TERNET network, please visit https://www.ternet.or.tz or send an email to: helpdesk@ternet.or.tz or ceo@ternet,or.tz.