Updated: May 2003 NATO Publications


The Virtual Silk Highway Project

1. Introduction

  1. Introduction
  2. The problem defined
 3. Project Overview
 4. Working together for results
 5. Project Expansion
 6. The NATO Science Programme
 7. One Minute Interview
Editorial Note
  Important publisher and editorial information about this document
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In today's high-technology world, the Internet has become a fundamental communication tool. Not only does it link people together across the globe, but it also provides access to a wealth of information, as well as valuable educational resources that would otherwise be unreachable. Indeed, the Internet has evolved to become an indispensable tool for research, teaching and learning.

While many people in Western Europe and North America enjoy easy and dependable access to the Internet, others around the world are restricted by inadequate technology and financial shortcomings. By designing and undertaking a revolutionary new project initiated by its Advisory Panel on Computer Networking, NATO's Science Committee has found a way to provide the scientific and academic communities of several NATO Partner countries with reliable and affordable Internet access. The Virtual Silk Highway Project (known as the "SILK Project") involves installing a satellite-based network that will provide Internet access to scientists and researchers in eight countries of the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. Not only does the project have direct practical benefits for those concerned, giving them access to the global information network, but it also serves to enhance the principle of partnership which is inherently linked to NATO's strategic concept and contributes to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.

The SILK Network configuration consists of satellite dishes and network equipment in each of the eight participating countries, a central distribution point (hub) with a dish and network equipment in Western Europe, a contract with a satellite vendor and Internet access. A common satellite beam will connect the academic and educational communities of the eight countries to the Internet.

Did you know?

The Virtual Silk Highway Project has been named after the legendary trade route linking Asia and Europe - the Great Silk Road - which was developed during the first centuries AD. In addition to trade, the Great Silk Road facilitated the exchange of information and knowledge between major regions of the world.


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