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Abstract -- Networking Efforts in the Maghreb Region Regional Track
R8: Middle East/North Africa

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Networking Efforts in the Maghreb Region

Sellami, Khaled ( sellami@irsit.rnrt.tn)


Information technologies and data networks are playing an essential role in the phenomenal development of our temporal cultural and social environment. Data access and exchange, information servers and databases, computer processing and automation became the basis of our daily occupations.

Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are three countries situated in the Maghreb region on the Northern part of Africa. These three countries are very close geographically to Europe which accelerated their technological progress.

Each of these countries was aware of the importance of data transmission and quickly established a national packet Switched networks (X25). The Telephone infrastructure is also well developed in all each of them, and most telecommunication equipment is up to date offering a variety of basic and value added services.

Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco gave high importance to academic and research networks since their appearance. Each of these countries is developing its own national research network and other national information networks offering services that vary from E-mail and file exchange to database and information servers access.

Tunisia, established an EARN-BITNET node (TNEARN) in1989 through the national X25 network and became the first EARN node on an X25 network. The node was installed at the "Institute Regional des Sciences Informatique et des Telecommunications" (IRSIT). In 1991, the Tunisian Internet top level domain .TN was established and IRSIT became the first node in Africa and the Arab world on the Internet network through a 19.2 kb/s leased line between Tunis and Paris. Tunisia also established its own research network connecting different research centers and universities. The network is now functioning and is connecting hundreds of users to the Internet network. Another network is being established jointly by the Tunisian government and the united Nations development program called Sustainable development Network (SDN). This network will connect users from the NGOs and the private sector and will be a part of the global UNDP SDN network.

Algeria established its Internet top level domain .DZ in 1994. It is now connected to the Internet network through a 9.6kb/s leased line with Pisa in Italy and is offering internet services to some fifty researchers and professors. Algeria is developing its own national research network.

Morocco established its internet top level domain .MA in 1994, and are connected to the Internet through a phone line with Fnet in Paris, France. Morocco is developing its national communication network called "CHAMA" ( Moroccan Network) and is studying different scenarios on how to set it up and how to connect it with the Internet through a leased line.

All three countries played major role in efforts to setup regional networks such as RINAF, RINAS and RAITNET.