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Home  > e-Science  > News  > FCCN Presents Recent Developments of the RCTS

FCCN Presents Recent Developments of the RCTS

 - 24/08/2009

Logotype of Next Generation networks (RNG), Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) The Foundation for National Scientific Computing (FCCN) presents July 28, 2009 the latest developments of the National Research and Education Network, the Science Technology and Society Network (RCTS), which were developed with funding and guidance of the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) and also supported by funds from the Knowledge Society Operational Program (POSC). The presentation, in the facilities of FCCN located at the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering (LNEC), Avenida do Brasil, Lisbon, is attended by the Minister of Science Technology and Higher Education, José Mariano Gago.

The FCCN network serves scientific and higher education institutions since the early 1990s, by connecting these institutions to the European research and education network, and it acquired a particular momentum from 1997 onwards. It pioneered providing broadband connections to a very large system of institutions.

The development of RCTS in the last four years resulted in it being now supported by more than 1,000 km of optical fiber cable owned by FCCN itself that provides direct connections to about 80% of the national research and higher education system, with very high quality of service at reduced costs and constituting one of the best research and education networks in the European Union.

Following the installation of about 400 Km in optical fiber cable from Lisbon to Braga in 2005, the fiber backbone was extended to more than the double (over 600 km), first in 2007 in the route Porto-Viana do Castle-Valença, and then in 2008 in the route Setúbal-Lisbon-Évora-Lisbon-Caia Border with Spain, both extensions conceived to ensure connections to the Spanish research and education network by a redundant ring owned by the National Research and Education networks of both countries, and from Spain to the European research and education network.

The international connectivity of the RCTS more had more than an eightfold increase since July 2005, when it was 1.2 gigabits per second (Gbps), to reach 2.5 Gbps in July 2006 and 10 Gbps in 2008. This communications platform is very advanced both by the operating speed of the network but also because it already works with both IPv4 and IPv6, and supports a wide range of highly advanced services over broadband provided to research and higher education institutions, from high definition video services, high - definition, scientific bibliographic resources and intensive computing.

These advanced services over broadband make RCTS the 1st Next Generation Network operating in the country and, based on progress of the last two years, allow a prominent international position among the research and education networks of European Member States.

The applications and services presented by FCCN include:

  1. Immersive video-conference room;
  2. National Grid Computing Node with more than 1,100 CPU CORES and 600 Terabytes (TB) of disk memory installed in a new data center of 400 m2;
  3. Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP);
  4. Zappiens – Repository of high definition videos of scientific, educational or cultural interest;
  5. VoIP – Voice over IP services for all public scientific and higher education institutions, including about 35,000 telephone terminals and providing zero cost voice communication between all these institutions and very high savings in external communication costs as a result of aggregated sourcing at the national level;
  6. Services of high definition video conferencing and video-broadcast over the Internet to the scientific and higher education community;
  7. Web Archive, providing the archive of complete snap shots of the web domains under the Country Code Top Level Domain .pt, presently done every two months.

The Grid Computing node installed at FCCN, in partnership with the Associate Laboratory LIP - Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics, has contributed to the Portuguese National Grid Initiative (INGRID), conceived by the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) and launched in April 2006, which plays an important role in the Iberian Grid infrastructure with the creation in 2007 of a joint infrastructure IBERGRID, and also in the European Grid Initiative (EGI) where the Policy Council is chaired by a Portuguese.

It should be noted that the Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP) was built on the basis of a concept designed by the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) in 2008 in order to integrate all the existing institutional repositories with one entry point and a search engine nationwide. This technology platform also allows, at no cost cost, the housing at FCCN of open access scientific repositories of any scientific or higher education institution in the country. This project, developed in collaboration with a team from the University of Minho in the second half of 2008, has extended the number of institutions with repositories of this type (now 15, a year ago 5 and only 1 in July 2005) and has increased the number of documents available (now 25,000, a year ago 8,000 and only 1,000 in July 2005). Portugal is now at the forefront of the European movement of open access scientific repositories.

It is also worth noting that the high dimension of the national scientific and public higher education system makes the VoIP services offered by FCCN the largest network of voice over IP in the country.

The recent developments that are now presented expand the range of advanced services that position this Next Generation Network at the forefront of the European research and education networks, namely: the b-on: Online Knowledge Library, planned in 1999 and initiated in 2004, providing people of research and higher education institutions at national scale with access to full text scientific papers and where in 2008 there were 5.2 million downloads, that is two and a half times more than in 2004; e-U: Virtual Campus, incorporating all public institutions of higher education and interested private institutions in an integrated national virtual campus accessible by a wireless system with integrated authentication of users nationwide, which began to be installed at the end of 2004, had its major expansion from the 2nd half of 2005 onwards, and has been a world pioneer the world the at the level of a whole country; IT security, supported by the CERT.PT, the first computer security incidents response team in Portugal that was accredited internationally, and the only one between September 2002 and July 2007 when the CSIRT.FEUP of the Engineering School of the University of Porto initiated operation, followed in July 2008 by the CERT.IPN of the Information Systems Laboratory of Instituto Pedro Nunes.

The development of the RCTS and the related advanced services are accomplishing the vision of ensuring in Portugal support networks and advanced broadband services to researchers, professors and students of Portuguese higher education at the highest levels worldwide.


The Foundation for National Scientific Computing (FCCN) manages, since the early 90's, the national research and education network, the the Science Technology and Society Network (RCTS). This very high speed network, funded by the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), with partial support of the Knowledge Society Operational Program (POSC), connects all higher education institutions, State Laboratories and other scientific institutions and supports a vast array of advanced services available to those institutions. FCCN is also responsible for the registry of domains and subdomains of. Pt, and the national Internet Exchange Point GigaPIX that links the major national ISP.

The General Council of FCCN consists of the President of the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), the President of the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), the President of the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering (LNEC), and a representative of the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities (CRUP).

The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) is the Portuguese public agency with the mission of coordinating information society policies and mobilizing it by dissemination, qualification and research activities. As part of its mission, the UMIC guides, supports and regularly monitors the activities of FCCN, within both the General Council and in regular every-day interaction with the Executive Committee of FCCN.

Last updated ( 09/08/2011 )