A large-scale collaborative project among research networks in the Asia Pacific region to build trust and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) capabilities is among the many Internet development and research projects being funded in the newly announced group of ISIF Asia supported projects.
Other projects include IPv6 training, an extensive honeynet cybersecurity project spanning several economies in Asia, and knowledge sharing between Network Operator Groups (NOGs) and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).
ISIF Asia received a total of 74 applications for this round of funding, resulting in the biggest group of ISIF Asia grantees ever, with 22 projects covering 16 economies. Some of these projects cover multiple economies. Three economies are receiving funds for the first time: Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Lao PDR.
The grants total USD 1.82 million in funding, and are spread across three categories: Infrastructure (developing the Internet), Inclusion (accessing the Internet) and Knowledge (skills and research about the Internet). Funding for these grants is part of the Asia Pacific Internet Development Trust’s 2021 funding for the APNIC Foundation.
The full list of summaries is included below. Follow links below for easy navigation.
Expand the Central Australian Desert Project to serve the Nitjpurru indigenous community in Pigeon Hole. Distant Curve Remote Area Telecommunications. Australia. USD 150,000.
Nitjpurru is a community in Australia’s Northern Territory of approximately 140 people, 450kms away from the nearest town. Nitjpurru is accessible only by four wheel drive vehicle and access is subject to flooding during the wet season. Telecommunications infrastructure is limited to a single payphone, shared by the entire community.
The Central Australian Desert Project connected the Northern Territory communities of Engawala and Atitjere with an embedded system using solar powered microwave relays. This impact grant will fund the development of a similar system for Nitjpurru. The project will also integrate a framework for supervising various systems needed to run the relays, cost-effectively monitor them, and ensure they are providing the necessary connectivity.
Sustainable smart villages in rural Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea University of Technology. Papua New Guinea. USD 85,000.
Over 80% of Papua New Guinea’s population lives in rural areas. The government is promoting agriculture and education as key aspects of its development goals, but is challenged by limited connectivity caused by unreliable power supply, a lack of appropriate communications technology, and a shortage of skilled people to maintain infrastructure and train users.
This scale-up grant will help develop a ‘smart village’ solution, seeking to address all these challenges, connecting mobile devices to enhance education and provide information in the local language, supported by a reliable power system monitored by sensors and calibrated based on machine learning techniques. Data traffic, together with power consumption data, will be used to develop a business model for scaling the smart village model further.
The project will provide ten community Wi-Fi sites as sustainable services to rural areas, and aims to cultivate partnerships between industry, community, and academic institutions, to develop digital literacy packages as a cost-effective solution to closing the digital divide for diverse user groups in the community.
Field-ready network-coded tunnels for satellite links. The University of Auckland. New Zealand. USD 85,000.
This project aims to widen the circle of people able to deploy titrated coded tunnels, create reference systems on actual satellite links in the field, and demonstrate that this technology brings actual performance benefits to real users.
This project builds on a previous ISIF Asia project which researched how coded tunnels over satellite links can accelerate individual packet flows. The current project will take it out of the lab and show users that the technology is ready for wider deployment.
This scale-up grant involves a partnership with Gravity Internet and Te One School on Chatham Island, with Gravity Internet being familiarized with the new technology. They will work with an engineering link to Chatham Island using a satellite link to connect to the school.
Hybrid LoRa Network for underserved community Internet. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia. USD 85,000.
The Chini Lake, Pahang area of Malaysia has challenging terrain with thick foliage. These conditions mean that the 500 indigenous Orang Asli residents, spread across six villages, lack access to mobile data coverage.
As a solution, LoRa wireless technology has been proposed. The scale-up grant will help establish a LoRa Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) gateway on a helium balloon, equipped with Mesh LoRa architecture that has text and voice messaging capabilities, as well as a cloud-based data management platform.
This will give local residents access to digital materials through a messaging system, accommodating users of all different literacy levels, as well as water level alerts for mitigation of flooding and drought situations, and an avenue for promoting local products and services through the cloud-based data management platform.
Securing Software Defined Network architectures. The University of Newcastle. Australia. USD 30,000.
This project involves the design and development of techniques for detecting attacks on Software Defined Network (SDN) switches.
SDN has proven useful for handling the growing complexity of networks. It is widely deployed in Enterprise, Cloud, and Internet Service Provider networks. As SDN becomes more common, so do cyberattacks that exploit SDN vulnerabilities. There is a growing need to enhance security in SDN networks. This small grant will implement security techniques to validate against different attacks on SDN switches and develop a Switch Security Application for SDN Controllers for detecting attacks on switches.
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Connectivity Bridges: Reaching remote locations with high-speed Internet services. Rural Broadband — AirJaldi. India. USD 150,000.
Various Internet infrastructure initiatives have deployed technologies across parts of India using both wired and wireless Internet. However, rural areas aren’t easily connected leading to some infrastructure being under-used, particularly large communication towers.
This impact grant will help create a hybrid ‘WiFiber’ system that bridges existing infrastructure and adds capability and coverage to reach users in the mostly rural state of Arunachal Pradesh with fast and affordable Internet services.
An existing partnership between Common Room, the Association for Progressive Communications, and the UK’s Digital Access Programme has resulted in the development of a School for Community Networking in the Kasepuhan Ciptagelar region of Indonesia.
This impact grant will help the school provide necessary infrastructure for a ‘build out’ to extend Internet deployment and training for indigenous and other rural communities in and around seven locations.
The project will provide towers, wireless equipment, servers, and training. It will also provide support as community-based Internet is rolled out, to help demonstrate ways the Internet can benefit these communities.
Equal access to information society in Myanmar. Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation. Myanmar. USD 150,000.
This project will help the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation combine and scale three programs: Mobile Information Literacy, Tech Age Girls Myanmar, and the Business Startup Development Program.
The Beyond Access project has already equipped 210 libraries around Myanmar with Internet, enabling 360,000 people to use a digital device for the first time. Telco Ooredoo Myanmar will invest in an additional 40 community libraries, mostly in underserved or unserved areas.
This impact grant will focus on equipping thousands of participants — primarily youth and women — at these 40 additional community libraries to develop digital literacy skills.
Broadband for all in Yap. Boom! Inc. Federated States of Micronesia. USD 85,000.
This project will establish an island-wide Fixed Wireless Access broadband network on the island of Yap.
In 2017, Yap to the world via high-speed submarine fibre-optic cable. There is still a lot of work to be done before this improved capacity can be used to provide broadband connectivity to island residents. In a recent proof-of-concept, Boom! was able to provide high speed connectivity to a school in Yap, having obtained the necessary licence and wavelength agreements. This scale-up grant will extend coverage to other parts of Yap.
Bamboo towers for low-cost and sustainable rural Internet connectivity. National Institute of Technology Silchar. India. USD 85,000.
This project is a collaboration among the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), National Institute of Technology Silchar (NIT Silchar), and Uravu from India. The project will develop and promote low-cost and sustainable bamboo communication towers to expand access to broadband networks in remote and rural areas of India. The scale-up grant will fund the development of detailed instructions on how to construct bamboo towers — including selection of bamboo, treatment, testing of bamboo culms and their joints, structural design considering connectivity requirements and structural specifications, optimization, foundation design, erection of the tower, and its maintenance. Towers will also be constructed to test the proposed methods, and they will be able to be built in any region. Detailed multimedia manuals will also be developed and available on a dedicated website.
OASIS data garden project. SATSOL. Solomon Islands. USD 85,000.
Some communities in the Solomon Islands are faced with the challenges of a lack of electricity for digital devices, and limited means to access money electronically. This means that residents have to travel to a town to access banknotes.
This scale-up grant will fund the development and proof-of-concept testing of a ‘data garden’ that will supply affordable connectivity, power, and a digital payment system.
An OASIS data garden can be easily transported to any remote location in the Solomon Islands via small boat or vehicle, and will operate autonomously. The data garden will support remote villages and communities where it can provide for individuals, households, businesses, schools, and clinics.
Internet connection to four villages in San Isidro. Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF). The Philippines. USD 30,000.
This small grant project will connect four villages in the San Isidro municipality of Mindanao via Point to Point (P2P) data connections. A P2P connection is a closed network data transport service that traverses the public Internet but is inherently secure with no data encryption needed. A P2P network can also be configured to carry voice, video, Internet, and data services together over the same point to point connection. DMSF will partner with local organizations in each village to develop local capacity for maintenance and security.
Inclusive and efficient access to Internet services and information for persons with disabilities in Bangladesh. Humanity & Inclusion. Bangladesh. USD 30,000.
This project aims to assist people with visual disabilities in Bangladesh, by disseminating standards on accessible web design and screen-reading software.
Around 20% of the population of Bangladesh lives under the poverty line. As Internet adoption rapidly climbs, new opportunities in employment and education are presented via the Internet. However, people with visual disabilities face added challenges in Internet accessibility.
The project, funded with a small grant, will translate visual accessibility standards into the local language and train web developers in these standards. It will also engage in policy dialogue and advocacy for people with disabilities.
Empowering remote agricultural communities in Lao PDR through long-range wide area networks. Makerbox Lao. Lao PDR. USD 30,000.
This project will leverage the possibilities offered by low-power/long-range Internet of Things solutions to bridge the technological and communication divide between urban centres and remote agricultural communities in Lao PDR.
The small grant will help develop a prototype technology that uses long range (LoRa) wireless networking to relay agricultural data (such as soil, weather, and water information) from sensors in remote areas to forecasting experts, then relay that forecast information to farmers in a format that supports their work. The design also considers local conditions such as the absence of power grid connections by developing a solar power support, which LoRa is ideally suited to handle due to its low power consumption.
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Intelligent honeynet threat sharing platform. Swiss German University. Indonesia. USD 150,000.
This project will fully extend the design of the existing Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform [PDF] to provide a broader range of honeypot support, with intelligently categorized and correlated threat data, enabling organizations to share and exchange the threat information with other organizations with a consistent format.
This impact grant will support a partnership between Swiss German University, Badan Siber & Sandi Negara (Indonesia’s National Cyber and Crypto Agency), and the Indonesia Honeynet Project (IHP).
A range of economies are participating in the project, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, and Viet Nam.
Two previous ISIF Asia grants supported the development of the Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform, to link honeypots together in a Honeynet that collects information on malicious Internet traffic for a public dashboard. To facilitate cooperation among participants, the Cyber Security Community Information Sharing and Analysis Center (CSC-ISAC) was also established.
The project involved four types of honeypot: Cowrie (SSH honeypots), Dionaea (Multi-Service Honeypots), Elastichoney, and Conpots (Industrial Control Honeypots).
Developing a collaborative BGP routing, analyzing and diagnosing platform. Tsinghua University. China. USD 150,000.
This project is a collaboration between National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and research universities in the Asia Pacific, to build the kind of trust and BGP capabilities among NRENs that the wider BGP-speaking community relies upon. Currently, there is no large-scale cooperative monitoring system for BGP routing and no collaborative system for BGP hijacking and mitigation among Asia Pacific NRENs.
An earlier but ongoing project resulted in the development of a small-scale looking glass platform and BGP routing collection platform. This impact grant will expand the platform to a BGP hijacking detection and mitigation system and foster the emerging NREN network operations and security community. In addition, the team will analyze the robustness of routing in the Asia Pacific region and suggest how to improve the reliability of Internet routing through cooperative interconnections.
The organizations involved include CERNET (China), SingAREN (Singapore), ThaiREN (Thailand), BdREN (Bangladesh), LEARN (Sri Lanka), AfgREN (Afghanistan), MYREN (Malaysia), NREN Nepal (Nepal), APAN-JP (Japan), ERNET (India), DOST-ASTI/PREGINET (Philippines), HARNET/JUCC (Hong Kong), Gottingen University (Germany), Surrey University (UK), and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication (China).
Bug Zero. SCoRe Lab. Sri Lanka. USD 85,000.
Bug bounties are when organizations offer rewards to those who are the first to report a problem in their software. This helps them stay ahead of emerging security vulnerabilities.
Bug bounty platforms have helped many organizations in advanced economies worldwide but South Asia has been hesitant to embrace them. Equipped with empirical research data on published results, SCoRe Lab has already started a bug bounty platform in Sri Lanka called Bug Zero.
This scale-up grant will help promote bug bounties as an effective tool for organizations, while also promoting them as a good economic opportunity for youth and encourage inclusion in an area that has generally been male-dominated.
Training and knowledge sharing: Network analysis for AI transformation. TeleMARS. Australia. USD 85,000.
Research from a previous ISIF Asia grant demonstrated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques can be used to resolve problems when detecting cyberattacks. This scale-up grant will help implement that work on a larger scale. This will involve strengthening knowledge sharing across Network Operator Groups (NOGs) and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), developing training and mentoring resources, and improving professional capabilities in the areas of diagnosis, monitoring, and analysis of historical datasets.
Webinar series to support IPv6 knowledge transfer. India Internet Engineering Society (IIESoc). India. USD 30,000.
This project will continue a series of webinars that have helped enterprises develop IPv6 skills, supported by ISIF Asia through a 2020 grant.
It can be difficult to encourage enterprises to adopt IPv6. One of the issues is a lack of understanding about the technical aspects of IPv6 among some enterprise technicians. Sometimes, technicians seek training but management does not always see the business case for adoption. This small grant will continue and expand a previous series of webinars supported by ISIF Asia that have helped enterprises develop IPv6 skills, in an effort to combat a cycle of misinformation that makes enterprises hesitant to adopt IPv6.
DIY COW — An inclusive community operated wireless kit for enabling local communications at remote locations. Servelots Infotech. India. USD 30,000.
Using lessons learned during remote mentoring for young women in COVID-19 lockdowns, this project will create a Do It Yourself kit that will allow someone with no Internet access to set up a wireless access point with a local access server.
Establishing network connections in remote communities is difficult and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t always see a commercial case in establishing Internet services in small areas. This project funds the creation of kits that can be immediately deployed to connect these communities without relying on any existing Internet connection.
This small grant will help develop kits that allow for the rapid establishment of a server capable of hosting applications that can immediately be used by the community. The kit contains all the necessary instruction materials to be set up without an Internet connection. It can also be connected to the Internet when and if the Internet gateway becomes available, and the set-up materials can easily be adapted to other languages
Cybersecurity education. Passerelles Numeriques Cambodia. Cambodia. USD 30,000.
This project will create fun and accessible online learning content on security issues faced by the public and organizations while navigating the Internet. Cambodia is rapidly digitizing, due in part to the rapid adoption of smartphones. However, with increased Internet adoption comes an increase in cyber-threats. The Cambodian government is currently in discussions to establish a cyber-crime law.
In the meantime, there is a need for greater cybersecurity awareness. This project is a partnership between NGOs Passerelles Numeriques Cambodia and The Foundry. It will develop simple interactive videos and quizzes to test awareness and develop public knowledge about security threats they can encounter in their daily lives. This project, funded with a small grant, focuses on youth and women facing digital literacy challenges.
Design, development and operation of an SDN-based Internet eXchange playground for networkers. University of Malaya. Malaysia. USD 30,000.
Network operators have access to a variety of technical training programs, some include the use of simulations, which are useful to put theory into practice but can be limited to simple configurations for experiments.
This small grant will help build on existing training programs by developing an ‘Internet Exchange Playground’ with a Kubernetes cluster that can help introduce SDN-based BGP/RPKI/RDAP knowledge. The Kubernetes nodes will be scattered across different economies, allowing participants to experiment with cross-border network topologies. It will allow for use of VXLAN and SDN controllers in a WAN environment.
To enhance access, there will be four on-line training, tutorials and seminars aimed at fostering participation, particularly among women. The project will be fostering participation from Bhutan, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
The APNIC Foundation thanks all applicants for sharing their ideas, the members of the Selection Committees for their hard work, and the Trust for supporting these projects. Technical reports on the projects will be published on the ISIF Asia website as they are completed.
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