[Help] Last update at http://inet.nttam.com : Mon Aug 7 21:39:27 1995

Abstract -- The Communication Infrastructure and the Internet Services as a Base Regional Track
R8: Middle East/North Africa

[Previous] [Table [Next]
[Paper [Paper

The Communication Infrastructure and the Internet Services as a Base

Kamel, Tarek ( tkamel@ritsec.com.eg)
Baki, Nashwa Abdel ( nashwa@frcu.eun.eg)



This paper gives an overview about the communication and networking infrastructure as a base for a Regional Information Highway. It reflects the presentations and discussions held during the workshop "The Regional Information Highway" in Cairo in November 1994. The paper starts with an overview about the data communication infrastructure and describes the Internet services in the region.

It highlights the experiences and lessons learnt in the different countries and concludes with some technical future plans and recommendations for a strucutred regional information highway.

Extended Abstract

This data communication infrastructure is very heterogeneous in the Arab Region. To present this infrastructure in an overview we will divide the Arab region in subregion and take one or two representative countries from each subregion.

The North African Region will be represented by Marocco and Tunisia, while the central Arab region has Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The Gulf area will be represented by U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia. These countries can be considered ready for Information highway activities.

The dial-up data communication connectivity is available with satisfactory performance in all the above mentioned countries. The infrastructure in this aspect varies from most up to date technology in UAE with complete digital facilities to less developed facilities in the rest of the countries. The PSTN is highly used for data communication in some countries while in other countries a PDN is also available. The PDN has the best data communication services with ISDN, frame relay and X.25 services. Other countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Marocco, Saudi Arabia and Syria do also have X.25 networks with variable speeds from 9.6kb/sec to 64 kb/sec. They do all have international access with digitial submarine and satellite channels with speeds up to E1 to Europe and the states. The conlusion is that the data communication infrastrucuture has suitable facilities to start national information highways in the different countries. There is a need like in Egypt, Syria and Jordan that the data communication facilities should cover a wider range of their territories. The intercountry data communication infrastructure needs to be upgraded as well. SEMEWE-2 optical fibre cable is already a good support in that direction to link the Central Arab Region with the Gulf Area. More efforts should be done for higher speed connectivity between the Central Arab region and North Africa.

For the infostructure this paragraph highlights the main information services in the above mentioned countries. A special focus will be put on the Internet services. Egypt is providing a number of value added information services in the area of S&T, Education, Trade as well as Internet services. The full Internet services with email, gopher, and WWW servers are available in the academic, governmental and commercial sector in Egypt in the Egyptian Universities Network and IDSC/RITSEC. Tunisia has also full Internet services in the academic sector with gopher and WWW servers via RNRT. Kuwait, Algeria and Marocco have also operational Internet domains with email services. Common problems which faced the different countries in the region while introducing the Internet services can be summarized as follows:

The following points summarize the future plans and recommendations to achieve a regional information highway: An initiative called RITnet has been taken by Egypt to act a central hub and gateway in the region for the different countries. Egypt has a geographical central location and well established service and well expereinced technical staff. Ritnet provides some gopher and WWW servers as well as a user group for members in the area of IT. It is accessible via dial-up, X.25 for different IT professionals in the region to get hooked to the Internet until they have established operational domains. It provides the IT community with a vehicle to acces and exchange information. The technical support is from Egypt and Tunisia.