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last change: February 14, 2021

History of ACOnet


Innovations in spite of Corona

On March 16, the ACOnet team moves to the home office for three weeks - and remains there for the rest of the year (and beyond). Nevertheless, several essential improvements turn out well.
For example, the router infrastructure in Austria's provinces is equipped with more memory. This enables us to continue to provide the global routing table to all ACOnet participants.
Moreover, ACOnet's first external 100 Gbps connection is established - namely with the pan-European research network GÉANT.


A PoP is moving

The Medical University of Innsbruck is moving into a new building, and ACOnet's Point of Presence (PoP) there has to move with it. Thanks to perfect preparation, the PoP relocation can be accomplished in November with just a two-hour outage.

Good Manners Matter

ACOnet participates in the MANRS (Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security) initiative. The network operators who commit to MANRS jointly ensure more security and stability on the Internet by means of a number of uniform actions.



In addition to the backbone changeover in 2016/17, direct connections between several Points of Presence in Austria's provinces are put into operation. These new connections reduce the round trip delay of data packets by up to 80 %.


Backbone Redesign

The framework agreement with A1 Telekom Austria AG (A1TA) concerning the operation of ACOnet's national fiber backbone, that is expiring after ten years, is renewed until mid-2022. However, the backbone's topology has to be adjusted to accommodate new PoPs in Wiener Neustadt, Bregenz and St. Johann/Pongau. Moreover, direct connections among neighboring provinces need to be established.

ACOnet and A1TA complete the backbone's overhaul (including an upgrade of DWDM nodes as well as the replacement of routers) in autumn 2017.


eduroam in the city

The City of Vienna and ACOnet join forces to deliver eduroam all over Vienna. The Magistrate contributes parts of its Wifi infrastructure in public buildings. Furthermore, as part of Vienna's "wien.at Public WLAN" initiative, eduroam is deployed to Wifi hot-spots in the inner districts, the Danube island and a number of places in Vienna's outer districts.

Upgrading the CBF Triangle

The so-called Cross Border Fiber (CBF) Triangle has connected the National Research and Education Networks of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria, CESNET, SANET, and ACOnet, since 2006.
In November, 2015, it's technology is changed to TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links). Also, the connection bandwidth is doubled to 20 Gbit/s.


In June, 2015, ACOnet celebrates not one, but two silver jubilees:
In 1990, the first IP-based leased line went into operation from Vienna University to the CERN in Geneva, laying the foundation for the Internet in Austria.
Also, in 1990, the first ACOnet backbone network was implemented under the supervision of the Technical University Vienna.
A trilogy of events are held for this occasion: net:25 (net:future, net:science, and net:art)

New Fiber Ring in Vienna

A new, fully redundant glass fiber ring for central and western Vienna is completed in April, 2015, within just a few months. It connects some of the most renowned Viennese art institutions to the ACOnet backbone but also to each other.



Since October, 2013, ACOnet participates in eduGAIN. eduGAIN is a service provided by the European association of scientific networks, GÉANT. It aims to interconnect academic identity federations, thus extending the scope of validity of electronic identities as well as the accessibility of services across national borders and onwards.


In March, 2013, ACOnet hosts the yearly, international Network Performing Arts Production Workshop in Vienna. This year's main topic is performing arts over advanced networks, aka net:art. This is an interactive form of art that uses the Internet as a medium.
On the occasion of the workshop, ACOnet arranges the net:art production "near in the distance", that connects artists in Vienna, Trieste and Barcelona via special transmission protocols (LOLA, UltraGrid) for joint performances.


KUKIT Round Table

KUKIT is a German abbreviation for arts and culture in the IT sector.
In a joint effort, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and ACOnet establish a Round Table that meets at somewhat regular intervals to discuss recent IT and ICT developments deemed relevant for the fields of arts and culture. Held first in July, 2012, the KUKIT (Kunst, Kultur und IT) is open to all interested parties in the field.


Identity Federation

The ACOnet Identity Federation, established in July, 2011, is a federation of ACOnet participants and (external) service providers. It facilitates access to electronic resources across the participating institutions.


After several years of pilot testing, IPv6 is introduced into normal operations in March, 2011. Thus, ACOnet belongs to the vanguard of IPv6 deployment and one of the first Austrian Internet providers offering IPv6 as a standard feature.


Governmental bodies and agencies team up in December 2010, to form the Government Internet eXchange (GovIX), effectively creating a nation-wide peering VLAN on to of the ACOnet backbone.
This is supplemented by a corresponding DNS infrastructure (GovDNS), in 2011.


PoPs in Lower Austria

In co-operation with the Lower Austrian Research and Education Company (NFB), two additional PoPs can be established in the cities of St. Pölten and Krems, thus connecting the province of Lower Austria to the ACOnet backbone.
In the following years, ACOnet activities will focus on the enhancement of services, rather than the backbone.

Optical Fiber Backbone in Operation

The new optical fiber backbone built for ACOnet by A1 Telekom Austria AG, is completed and commissioned in January, 2009. It enables ACOnet participants to exchange virtually any amount of data. Additional costs are confined to the "last mile" from the participant's premises to the nearest ACOnet PoP.
The new infrastructure facilitates the implementation of bilateral services and allows for joint projects involving high data volumes, such as media libraries, video conferencing and e-learning co-operations.


Transition to glass fiber

A1 Telekom Austria AG wins a European tender regarding construction and operation of "nation-wide telecommunication services based on optical-fiber connections". In July, 2007, they receive the go-ahead and by the end of the year, the first PoPs (Graz and Linz) can already migrate to the new backbone infrastructure. The remaining PoPs follow suite in the course of the year 2008.


CBF Triangle

A 1 Gbit/s fiber optic line connecting ACOnet to the Slovak science network SANET in Bratislava since 2002 is updated to 10 Gbit/s in January, 2006.

In September, two additional fibers from Vienna to Brno, and from Brno to Bratislava are put into service, effectively forming the so-called CBF Triangle (CBF = Cross Border Fibre) that allows for direct peering between ACOnet, SANET and the Czech science network CESNET.


Upgrade in Vienna

The interconnects in Vienna receive an upgrade from Gigabit Ethernet to 10-Gigabit Ethernet in June, 2005.

2001, 2004

Gigabit Ethernet

In December, 2001, the ACOnet backbone is migrated once again, this time to Gigabit Ethernet technology. This change affects foremost Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Klagenfurt. Leoben and the new PoP Eisenstadt follow in early 2004.


ATM Backbone

Parts of ACOnet's carrier net is switched over to ATM technology in March, 1996. Fast growing bandwidth requirements, especially in Vienna, Linz and Graz make this step necessary.

The PoPs in Salzburg, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt and Leoben follow in April, 1997. Thus, ACOnet once again has a homogeneous backbone, now based on ATM technology.


Migration to MAN

Traffic on the ACOnet is ever rising and new services cannot be implemented on the existing infrastructure because of their traffic requirements. Thus, in Mai 1994, the infrastructure must undergo further changes. A nation-wide, SMDS-based MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), run by Post und Telekom Austria AG, becomes ACOnet's new carrier network.

Each university PoP is connected to it with 2 Mbit/s.


Migration to IP

ACOnet's network infrastructure is migrated from X.25 to IP (IP = Internet Protocol). At the core, the backbone forms a triangle that connects multi-protocol-enabled routers at the universities of Vienna, Linz and Graz. All other PoPs are connected to one of these backbone nodes.

At this stage, the lines boast connection rates of 64 kbit/s or 128 kbit/s.


X.25 Backbone

In the second half of 1990, a common, producer-independent communication infrastructure is being erected in the form of a private X.25 network. It interconnects the universities of Vienna, Graz, Leoben, Klagenfurt, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Linz with a ring topology at 9,6 kbit/s, at first. Later on, the connection speeds are raised to 64 kbit/s.

Internet Access

Thanks to IBM's "European Academic Supercomputer Initiative" (EASI), the University of Vienna gains access to the Internet for the first time, in 1990, in the form of a permanent line to Geneva. It's a whopping 64 kbit/s! Fron Geneva onwards, a further 1,5 Mbit/s are available to the NSFnet in the USA (EASINET).

Also the remaining Austrian universities receive access to the Internet in that same year.


ACOnet Association

Addressing the need for an institutionalized forum for planning, review and discussion of the joint network, the ACOnet Association is founded. It's membership consists of the IT centers of all Austrian universities. The ACOnet Association supports the Federal Ministry of Science and Research it it's aim to further develop ACOnet.


In 1986, ACOnet joined the European association of national science networks, that was founded in the same year under the name RARE. In 1994, RARE merged with EARN and was named TERENA. As of 2015, this institution is known as GÉANT Association.


International Connectivity

For the first time, Austrian universities hook up to international data networks, such as EARN and EUnet. The Austrian EARN node, AEARN, is implemented at the University of Linz.


First Steps

As early as 1981, the universities' IT departments team up with the Federal Ministry for Science and Research. These are the players responsible for creating a common communication infrastructure for the Austrian scientific community. Together, they kick off the ACOnet.