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The team behind the scenes – Network Implementation

GÉANT Topology Prior to GN4-3N

The five person network implementation team of Paul Young, Anura Hettiarachchi, Matt Dunn and Adam Semchuk and led by Mick Sharp are probably one of the least visible teams in the organisation – mainly because pre-lockdown they spent most of their time flying around Europe at short notice building and updating the GÉANT network. However, it is safe to say that, without this team, virtually nothing relating to the network would happen.

This team are in charge of any hardware updates and improvements to the existing GÉANT network and are also responsible for ensuring the network POP infrastructure is ready and capable of allowing for the equipment deployment into the new GN4-3 network.

Then of course in 2020 COVID struck and travelling ceased overnight. This meant the team had to totally restructure the way it worked while keeping both the existing network operating and planning for the new network. This requires the re-engineering of 37 Points-of-Presence and up to five new sites.

This mind-shift resulted in a complete change to the way of working. Equipment, now stored in Maastricht in advance of BREXIT, is shipped to the POP when required and subcontractors are used for installations. This of course threw up some interesting observations.  The engineers soon realised that they had a lot of embedded knowledge which they needed to document, structure and share with the sub-contractors.

Even with the changes due to COVID and BREXIT the team has managed to adjust rapidly, and these changes will continue even after COVID travel restrictions are eased. Using subcontractors and reducing travel will increase the scalability of the team as there will no longer be the need to spend hours travelling between sites.

GN4-3N – Implementing the next generation GÉANT network.

The team is working hard with GN4-3N project team (Paul Shelswell, Steve Bertram and Lara Waelte) on the implementation of GN4-3N and in particular ensuring that not only is the base infrastructure across all the PoP sites is in place but also that the Inventory Management System (IMS) is able to support the needs of network implementation and are working to a 2-3 month planning cycle for implementation across the network.

Paul’s team is also hard at work, not only on the PoP sites but all of the hundreds of kilometers of fiber routing and installations across Europe.  More about the GN4-3N project can be found at

Invisibility is the mark of success and the fact that most people are unaware of the work the network implementation team do shows how well they work behind the scenes keeping the network operating even during their imposed lock-down.

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