Belnet, a history related to technological development

From the “supercomputers” at the end of the 1980s to our current high-tech services, our history is in line with the continued growth or our team, our services offered and our network capabilities!

A history of more than 25 years

Belnet was founded in 1993 as a research program within the Belgian Science Policy, already over 25 years ago. Since then, Belnet has worked to develop knowledge and network structures in Belgium for the needs of Belgian higher education and research.

In 2009, a law broadened Belnet’s field of competence to the entire Belgian public administration. 

From January 1, 2000, Belnet acquired the status of separately managed state service within the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office. This specific structure gives it greater autonomy and flexibility to cope with the incessant evolution of the telecommunication and internet fields.

New partnerships

  • Belnet launches a new, higher-performance anti-DDoS solution 
  • Belnet renews collaboration agreements with Flemish government and Walloon Region for 15 years 
  • In collaboration with Telenet Business, Belnet facilitates the WAN connectivity for all federal government departments in a phased manner
  • Belnet celebrates its 30th anniversary

Launch of two new security services

  • Thanks to the new architecture of the ScienceMAN network, Federal Scientific Institutions (FSIs) can count on improved availability
  • Belnet launches Advanced DNS Security, a solution providing proactive and effective protection against the latest malware and phishing attacks
  • Belnet takes a leading role in the EOSC Focus project
  • Belnet hosts eduVPN, a secure and cost-effective VPN solution for the research and education community

An even stronger partnership with the Belnet community

  • Belnet concludes a large-scale framework agreement for network equipment that will be used by more than 30 customers.
  • The renewed Belnet Portal offers our customers an optimal user experience.
  • Belnet launches two new security services: Belnet Intelligent DNS and Belnet Threat Intelligence.
  • Belnet renews its infrastructure to improve the availability and resilience of its services.

Global health crisis underlines the importance of NRENs

  • In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Belnet takes specific measures for its critical customers and supports its community with tools such as Belnet Jitsi (online learning).
  • BNIX celebrates its 25th anniversary. Due to the large-scale homeworking, the platform registers a record traffic with peaks up to 600 Gbit/s.
  • Launch of Belnet FedSender and Belnet Advanced Mail Security.
  • Belnet participates in building the infrastructure for a European blockchain project.
  • With the appointment of a CISO Belnet shifts to a higher gear in the area of information security.
  • Belnet is appointed as mandated organization of the EOSC Association.

New offices, new way of working

  • Belnet is moving offices to the WTC III building, near the Brussels North Station. The new workplace is fully equipped according to the principles of the new way of working, a flexible and mobile way of working.
  • Launch of Belnet Cloud Connect – MS Azure, which offers customers a direct and private access to the MS Azure platform.

Belnet celebrates its 25th anniversary

  • Belnet celebrates its 25 years of existence with a special edition of the Belnet Networking Conference.
  • Belnet takes the necessary measures to be GDPR compliant by 25 May.
  • Launch of a new version of our service FileSender.

On its 25th anniversary, Belnet has 75 employees and more than 200 connected organisations – altogether serving more than 800,000 end users. 

Success after success

  • Belnet becomes Service Owner of FedMAN. As FedMAN service manager, Belnet is the sole point of contact for FedMAN service, both operationally and strategically.
  • Launch of Belnet DDoS Mitigation and guestroam services for govroam and eduroam users.
  • The WANFIN project, launched in 2015 of FPS Finance is successfully completed.

A new internal organisation, and much more

Belnet has a new organisational structure and a new organisational chart.

A complaint management system, in line with federal government directives, is set up.

With renewal of the IP network, customers have an even more reliable, fast and flexible infrastructure.

Belnet launches the ScienceMAN3 network which links Federal Scientific Establishments.

Many new services and projects

This year 2015 was marked by 5 major events:

  • Launch of the Belnet Cloud Computing service and renewal of the Digital Certificates Service.
  • Start-up of the WANFIN project: setting up and operation of the WAN network for FPS Finance by Belnet.
  • BNIX celebrates its 20th year.
  • Launch of my.belnet.be, the portal for its customers.
  • Obtained the EMAS certificate, a crowning achievement for its efforts in terms of environmental policy. Belnet’s 72 employees are there for a good cause!

A new fibre optic network

  • Belnet renews its fibre optic network. Connections of 100 Gbps and even multiples are now possible.
  • Launch of the Belnet Storage service, a hosting package in a private cloud solution.

Belnet celebrates its 20th year

The key points of this year are:

  • Setting up of an ITSM (IT Service Management) system within Belnet. Institutions now have a single 24/7 point of contact via the service desk.
  • Creation of govroam. This service developed by Belnet, based on the eduroam model and originally intended for public administrative offices connected to the Belnet network was reproduced at our Dutch neighbours.
  • The first Belgian Internet Security Conference was held. As a public service and operator of Cert.be, Belnet is positioned at the centre of strategic issues related to computer security and offers an alternative to trade conferences.

For its 20th anniversary, Belnet has 57 employees and 200 connected institutions. There is something to be proud of!

The R&E (Research and Education) Federation is created

Creation of the Belnet R&E Federation which brings research and education institutions together within a common infrastructure.

One year that is worth 2

Many events put Belnet in the news this year:

  • Participation in the Iot@ projects for installation of the cross-border fibre between Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium. A direct connection between Hasselt and Maastricht also links the Netherlands and Belgium with fibre.
  • Launch of the FedMAN 3 network, the third generation of the FedMAN network, now integrated with the Belnet network.
  • At the request of Fedict in collaboration with IBPT, Belnet is entrusted with the Cert.be, which becomes the first national point of contact regarding computer security issues.
  • Launch of the www.ipv6.be site on the occasion of the ‘World IPv6 day’ to promote the new internet protocol on a global scale. Belnet is a pioneer in the field of IPv6 in Belgium. With close to 10 years of experience, Belnet offers native IPv6 connectivity to all institutions connected to its network.
  • Belnet moved to new offices and joined the Federal Science Policy at 231 de l’avenue Louise in Brussels.

Law on the expansion of Belnet services to public administrative offices

Along with operation of the Belgian research network, Belnet is formally entrusted by the Law of May 6, 2009, with development, operation and management of telematics activities and networks at the request and for the benefits of public authorities, administrative offices and public institutions.

Belnet has its fibre and helpdesk

Belnet organises the TERENA Networking Conference (TNC) at Bruges, the most important annual European conference devoted to advanced network technologies.

24/7 help desk is now available for all connected institutions.

Belnet now manages its own fibre. The network capacity continues to increase: n*10 Gbps (Ethernet and Lambda).

The year of eduroam, a cooperation agreement and FedMan 2

Belnet participates in the eduroam (Educational Roaming) initiative. This service offers users simple and secure access to their own network and those of other institutions connected to the Belnet network that offer eduroam.

An important step was taken in 2006: signing of a cooperation agreement with the Walloon government and with the Flemish government to improve access by higher education institutions to the Belnet network, through a very high-speed internet connection under advantageous conditions.

Finally, FedMAN 2, the 2nd generation of FedMAN, started. It connects 24 institutions to each other at a speed of 1 Gbps and serves about 80,000 users.

The CERT and BEGrid are created

Aware of the issue of computer system security that arises, Belnet CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) is created. It is a service dedicated to the Belnet community for security incidents.

BEGrid, the GRID initiative of Belnet, is born. It is a common platform for researchers to stimulate the GRID (supercomputer) initiative in Belgium.

Belnet celebrates its 10th anniversary

After 10 years of existence, Belnet is a team of 22 people and… no less than 136 institutions connected! 10 years…and 10Gbps is the capacity of the BNIX network that year.

FedMAN, the interconnection of federal administrative offices of the Brussels region

Belnet develops and manages the first FedMAN (Federal Metropolitan Area Network) network on behalf of Fedict. FedMAN connects all central departments of the federal administration of the Brussels region with a 100Mbps capacity between them and a 1 Gbps speed to the internet.

In 2002, Belnet now offers native IPv6 and offers it in production mode to connected institutions.

The network now has a capacity of 2.5 Gbits (10 Gbps for the Core). Capacity has therefore quadrupled in 4 years!

Pan-European and transatlantic connection

Belnet is connected to Géant, the pan-European research and education network that interconnects European research networks with a capacity of 2.5 Gbps.

Belnet has a PoP (Point of Presence) in New York, a direct transatlantic connection with a capacity of 155 Mbps between the Belnet infrastructure and the United States.

A bug-free year

  • Belnet reaches the status of separately managed state service within the Federal Science Policy. Its official name is the Belgian Telematics Research Network, BELNET.
  • Belnet becomes DNS.be agent for registration of domain names.

The number of employees has quadrupled in 7 years: from 3 in 1993 to 12 in 2000.

Change to Gbit

Belnet participates in the TEN-155 project linking European research networks with a capacity of 155 Mbps.

The network capacity is 622 Mbps (1 Gbps Ethernet for the core)!

Participation in BELSURF

Belnet participates in BELSURF, an international collaboration project with the Dutch research network Surfnet as part of TEN-34, trans-European network interconnected at 34 Mbps.

Experimenting with IPv6

  • Belnet experiments with IPv6 on its network and deploys the first redundant backbone.
  • Capacity of the network: 34 Mbps (155 Mbps ATM for the core)

Birth of the ISPA, BNIX and connection to the EuropaNET

That year, Belnet creates important milestones for its activity:

  • as a founding member of ISPA, the Belgian Internet Service Providers (ISP) Association. This association, still active today, comprises all active ISPs on our territory.
  • by connecting to EuropaNET, the predecessor of the pan-European research and education network.
  • as founder and manager of BNIX (Belgian National Internet eXchange), the Belgian interconnection point that makes information exchange possible between Internet Access Providers (ISP) in Belgian.

The network capacity is now expressed in Mbit! It is 2 Mbps.

Now there were only 3 of us

Belnet is created as a research program within the Belgian Federal Science Policy. We are 3 employees and we already have 27 connected institutions. The network has a capacity of 64 kbps.

The year when it all began

The ‘Information Technologies Impulse’ program is set up within the Science Policy department. The main goal of this program spread over several years (1989-1996) is to promote the use of supercomputers by Belgian researchers. A second part of this program focuses on installation of a network that allows researches to access these supercomputers remotely.

Our story is not yet finished! Do you want to be a part of it? 
Contact us so we can tell you about the extent of services available to you.

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