About the Network Startup Resource Center

Early History

NSRC was Started by Randy Bush and John Klensin in late 1980s establishing some of the first email systems (FidoNet and/or UUCP) in many countries. In 1992 NSRC was funded by the National Science Foundation (award #: NCR-9616597 to provide technical assistance to organizations setting up new computer networks to connect scientists engaged in international research and education. During our initial years NSRC was affiliated with a United Nations University project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and assisted with fueling the internationalization of the Internet backbone at the time – the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET). The NSRC group moved its home base of operations to the University of Oregon in 1996.

Our Motivation and Objectives

NSRC helps to establish and improve operational Internet ecosystems, both physical (network connectivity) and human (technical capacity), which are necessary for continued Internet growth and utilization to flourish. Our goal is to connect people.

Key Results

For nearly thirty years, the NSRC has helped develop Internet infrastructure and network operations communities in 130+ countries, assisted thousands of universities, facilitated the deployment of dozens of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in all world regions, and provided technical guidance to dozens of ccTLD registries for stable, secure DNS operations in cooperation with ICANN.

In addition to technical training via network operator groups, national research and education network communities, and shared infrastructure such as Internet Exchange Points, the NSRC emphasizes Direct Engineering Assistance (DEA) to improve operational infrastructure, resulting in better and faster networks.

NSRC achieves this through targeted capacity building activities and partnerships with universities, RENs, NGOs, Internet Service Providers, industry, government and supranational agencies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Latin America-Caribbean, and North America.

The NSRC Model

Throughout our organization's history, NSRC has focused on technical training and human resource development activities as well as direct engineering assistance (DEA) to build operational infrastructure. We firmly believe in participatory development that is request-driven via international partners as well as the desire that local hands cultivate local expertise to scale workforce impacts. These activities and philosophies help to catalyze and assists networking within least connected regions of the world.

Who We Are

NSRC has 6 University of Oregon employees who make up the core team, but we work with many other talented network engineers including:

25+ Contractors
Located in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Germany, New Zealand, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine and United Kingdom

Instructors in-training
All regions of the world

Dozens of long-time Volunteers
Located at universities, ISPs, IETF and within industry.

University of Oregon (UO) Network Services
Numerous UO personnel contribute to NSRC activities

RouteViews BGP Monitoring Platform
UO Network Services and NSRC joint support

Challenges we Encounter

Infrastructure and regulatory issues:

  • Lack of affordable bandwidth and competition for service providers
  • Lack of stability/downtime on the local network
  • Challenges with navigating Internet administrative processes
  • Network security issues
  • Reliable power and infrastructure issues
  • Lack of terrestrial fiber
  • High costs of telecommunications and networking equipment, exacerbated by high rates of importation duty, taxes and value-added tax (VAT) assessed to import hardware
  • Difficult regulatory environments and regulatory barriers
  • Poorly structured campus networks

Human, financial and issues of cooperation:

  • Lack of critical mass of well-trained network engineers
  • Staff retention once engineers are trained
  • Viable business models in rural areas
  • Excessive dependence on external funding sources
  • Lack of sustainable funding models for operational expenses and lack of well-structured R&E governance models
  • Lack of national and/or regional cooperation
  • Many countries need stronger national leadership to drive open access Internet policies and policies supporting R&E

International Infrastructure Contributions

  • NSRC played a key role in helping establish the first Internet connections and ccTLD delegations in Peru, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Egypt, Guinea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Kenya, Morocco, Liberia, Senegal, Tanzania, Cambodia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Togo and others.
  • For nearly thirty years, the NSRC has helped develop Internet infrastructure and network operations communities across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, and the Middle East, facilitated the deployment of dozens of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in all world regions, and provided technical guidance to dozens of ccTLD registries for stable, secure DNS operations in cooperation with ICANN.
  • The science-enabling activities have assisted with the formation of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in 50+ countries as well as 15 Regional RENs in Africa, Eurasia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, and the Middle East. From 1992 through 2020, the NSRC facilitated the distribution and deployment of 750+ tons of network equipment and technical reference books to universities, hospitals, libraries, research facilities and Internet eXchange Points in 130 countries around the world.

Enabling International Research and Education (R&E) Cooperation

Over the years NRC has helped to enable and build R&E networks and communities by using techniques such as:

  • Helping to created shared cyberinfrastructure to enable scientific collaborations between U.S. scientists and international institutions
  • Addressing and solving problems in the field with local partners
  • Cultivates a culture of network operators helping each other
  • Technical training with Universities, NRENs and regional NOGs
  • Direct engineering assistance to physically improve networks
  • Network security and performance monitoring workshops and direct engineering assistance activities
  • Helping to build and train on wireless infrastructure to improve both faculty and student access
  • Assistance with creation of Internet eXchange Points
  • Helping to leverages government, industry, and private investments
  • Providing equipment donations improve core infrastructure and IP services

Long Term Impacts

Through hands-on, lab-based curricula and a train-the-trainers approach, NSRC has provided technical skills and knowledge transfer to 55+ thousand network engineers operating thousands of networks in all regions of the world, thereby enhancing the global Internet ecosystem.

NSRC alumni are prominently positioned in many countries around the world and include some of the original Internet pioneers trained by the NSRC, who now serve in highly influential roles, such as the Minister of Science and Technology, the Regulator of the national telecommunications agency, the Minister of Information/Communications and parliamentary positions in numerous countries. The NSRC maintains good working relationships with all of them for both technical and national policy discussions.