Kiev Pilot IP Network


Y.V Demchenko


Ukraine is now experiencing difficult times of decline. Lack of political reform holds back economical revival, vague legislation discourages foreign investment, decrease of production sustains a low level of activities in research and education. However today it is possible to travel almost without restrictions and to communicate with people around the world without personal consequences. Since travel is expensive and unaffordable to many the drive for unimpeded communications is increasing by the day. Different networking initiatives spring up, some targeted at the evolving commercial sector, some at the educational and research constituencies.

The International Science Foundation Telecommunications Program is currently building a network in Kiev, the Capital of Ukraine, which will serve science, research, education and other non- for-profit communities. The project will also provide international access, user support and training.


  1. Current state of IP Networking in Ukraine
  2. IP Network in Kiev as a joint effort
  3. Kiev pilot IP network

1. Current state of IP Networking in Ukraine

In order to understand the current state of networking in Ukraine one has to keep in mind several factors which affected and still continue to influence developments in this area.

In the former Soviet period of rigid centralization penetration of new ideas and trends into the country was rooted through Moscow and many new developments started there. Wide area computer networking in the SU was started by several groups which gradually converged to one big service providing monopoly (RelCom) which stretched out and covered the vast spaces of the country (Ukraine being no exception) with UUCP dial- up services.

Academic and Research networking development began after the breakup of the Soviet Union in Moscow which was a location by far the most advanced and progressive.

State recognition of the need of academic and research networking is still scarce even in Russia and practically non existent in Ukraine. Communication links to Ukraine set up by RelCom were gradually cut off due to financial difficulties of RelCom nodes in Ukraine, until only several leased lines remained, connecting the country to the outside world. About a year ago a 9.6 Kbps line was put into operation, connecting the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine to the Polish Academic and Research network NASK. The seed money for this first non- commercial network in Ukraine was provided by the International Renaissance Foundation. Some time ago the link to NASK was upgraded to a 64Kbps satellite link. This has creates an island of relatively high speed connectivity at the satellite station site. Unfortunately this connectivity can not be spread due to limitations imposed by the available communication lines in the country. For example, the link to Kiev, the capital of the country, is running at a speed of 9.6Kbps and it is impossible to raise this speed. The current map of IP connections in Ukraine consists mainly of low-speed leased lines connecting the main cities of the country and owned by commercial service providers.

A large part of the country is connected via low- speed analogue leased lines (19.2Kbps being the maximum speed everywhere but for only a few exceptions). Several fiber-optic lines are being installed now and will be operable in the near future. This does not mean that it will be possible to use them for the network due to the high cost of services of the Ministry of Communications.

Little support was provided by the state for the development of the infrastructure. Several projects, funded by the State Committee for Science and Technology were uncoordinated with one another and mainly resulted in the setting up of local area networks in the implementing institutions. There still is no organization in the country which on a state level coordinates these activities.

2. IP Network in Kiev as a joint effort

Three networking projects are being realized now in Kiev in close cooperation. The Kiev Pilot Network project of ISF, the project of the UNDP, called " Strengthening of Information and Communications Infrastructure for Democratic Reform ", and a project conducted on the basis of an agreement of the National Space Agency of Ukraine with NASA . It should be noted that all these initiatives are mostly being funded by international agencies, the State participation being limited to the role of a passive observer. These three projects are closely coordinated with each other and compliment one another. The UNDP project has set up an Internet node at the location of the UN office in Kiev, currently uses a 9.6 Kbps leased line to Lviv- Warsaw for external connectivity and mainly provides non-commercial users in Kiev with dial-up UUCP services. The number of users has been constantly growing. The project of the National Space Agency includes the installation of a satellite link to NSI, which will be used by all non- commercial networks in the country. The kernel of the network - the backbone is being built by the International Science Foundation Telecommunications Program.

3. Kiev Pilot IP Network.

The objective of the Kiev Pilot IP Network project is to set up a star-structured backbone in Kiev (the Capital of Ukraine) connecting nodes in four major clusters of scientific institutions in the city at a speed up to 2 Mbps and to link the above backbone to the Global Internet.

The anticipated result of the project is the creation of a TCP/IP backbone in Kiev with four nodes which will link these nodes to each other and to the Global Internet, will demonstrate the possibilities of on-line communications and will give the possibility to scientific institutions in the clusters around the node to connect to this node and achieve worldwide connectivity. Another result of the project is raising the awareness of the scientific and general communities in the possibilities of networking, provision of training to end-users and telecommunication specialists. Once the backbone is operational existing networks and networks of organizations will be welcomed to participate in the project. Simultaneously with setting up of the local infrastructure international access to Internet is being provided.

Further development of the infrastructure will lead to a wider spread of the TCP/IP network and will incorporate the major existing networks in Kiev. This will give low-cost access to Internet resources not only to the scientific community but to medical establishments, libraries, high schools, industrial research institutions, etc. Dial-up access will be available for end-users. Other networks belonging to different organizations will have an incentive to integrate, interconnect and develop. Another important component in the realization of the project is the research program to be run on the network. It is targeted at the introduction of new networking technologies and will serve as a source for the development of the network both in the sense of viability, and support of its status (professional staffing, technology). The research program will also help to pertain the non-commercial status of the network in future and will serve as an incentive for the government to provide funding for the needs of the network. The experimental part of research programs will be distributed among regional centers (which also play an important role in network policy definition), leaving the backbone to be policy-free and providing necessary means to support the backbone.

At the first stage in order to accelerate the construction of the pilot network in Kiev the project is being realized by joint efforts of ISF and UN office in Kiev. ISF is installing the transport infrastructure the UN office in Kiev will provide international access via a satellite link. At the second stage the satellite link to the Global Internet will be upgraded and will serve to provide access to the Internet via satellite for other big scientific centers of Ukraine, such as Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Odessa, Crimea, etc. Possibilities of setting up a backup international link are being investigated.

3.1 Network Structure

The concept underlying the distribution of the backbone nodes in Kiev is the provision of connectivity to clusters of compact location of scientific and educational organizations in the city. Access will be provided to one organization in each cluster (region) so that the Regional Distribution Centers (nodes) in clusters will constitute/form the Network Backbone structure. Then connectivity inside clusters for neighboring organizations will be provided by interested organizations themselves. The analysis of the distribution of scientific and educational organizations in Kiev shows five major clusters including Central Cluster in Downtown. Organizations hosting the regional distribution centers (nodes) will provide: Other resources (databases, user-training) will also be provided by some of them. Different organizations in the clusters have expressed an interest in hosting the nodes.

The four clusters and Regional Distribution Centers (RDCs), are as follows:

  1. The Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in the Polytechnic Institute Cluster
  2. RDC in Teremky Cluster
  3. RDC in Science Avenue Cluster
  4. AcademTown Cluster
The infrastructure of the Kiev backbone also includes the Central Cluster which consists of a number of organizations in the down-town area. All RDCs are connected to the Main Distribution Center by Radio Relay links using Duplex Microwave radio stations at the speed of 2 Mbps. The main technical requirement of RDC placing is direct view from the Main Distribution Center RaDistr (located at the highest point in Kiev). International links to the backbone will be provided by satellite channels and terrestrial lines used as backups.

The main components of the backbone are:

All clusters are in direct sight form the RaDistr point. Connectivity to organizations/users inside clusters will be provided via leased lines and dial-up through the nearest PTTs. Leased lines and equipment for connecting to the nodes inside the clusters will be provided by the organizations themselves.

The backbone will have three international links: to NASK/Warsaw via Lviv (operating now at a speed of 9.6 Kbps with a satellite link from Lviv to NASK running at a speed of 64 Kbps); a LL to the ISF Backbone in Moscow running at 19.2 Kbps and a planned satellite link which will be provided in cooperation with international organizations. All nodes have common basic equipment and software configurations:

RaDistr is equipped with Cisco 4000 routers for routing high speed traffic on the backbone.

3.2. Network Redundancy scheme

The network redundancy scheme is provided by combinations of backbone Radio links and back-up LL links. Redundancy policy has to cover the nodes of the structure and assumes reconfigurable links between them. The main tasks are to provide a robust link between RDC nodes and to keep continuous connection to Internet. In all cases different routers and nodes are used for backing up interconnections thus providing uninterrupted operation of the network.

One main Internet access link and several back- up links will be used for redundant Internet connection:

These links will support the stable operation of the network. Also it is assumed that the nodes will have backup/spare equipment (and other facilities) for redundancy in the future.

3.3 Installation

The initial installation of routers and other equipment (configuring, software installation, debugging, testing etc.) is undertaken by a team of local specialists. At the same time the hosting institutions are providing specialists on their payroll to work together with the set-up teams and gain experience. These specialists will be the maintenance staff of the nodes after the system is in operation.

After the infrastructure becomes operational other existing networks in Kiev will be offered the opportunity to connect to the backbone on pre- negotiated conditions - e.g. provision of services to scientific institutions free of charge or at very low rates. This will provide for the newly created network a large number of users which have some experience using e-mail.

The completion of the backbone is due in the end of 1995 beginning of 1996.

Author Information:

Viacheslav " Slava" V. Shkarupin

Director of the Telecommunications Program of the International Science Foundation, Member of the Executive Committee of the Telecommunications Program of ISF, Ukrainian member of the EC Copernicus TeleServ and ESATT projects Steering Group. Graduated and received a Ph.D. from the Kiev Polytechnic Institute in Instrumentation and Measurement. Served as an expert on the Copernicus Networking section evaluation Board.

Yuri V. Demchenko

Director of Computer Communications Center at Kiev Polytechnic Institute (till December 31, 1995), Associate Professor of the above Institute.