National Knowledge Network

National Knowledge Network (NKN) is a state-of-the-art multi-gigabit pan-Indian resource-sharing network aimed at digitally connecting all national universities, colleges and research establishments to create “country-wide virtual classrooms”. This project was initiated by UPA Government in 2009. The project was launched for a period of 10 years. As of May 2016, NKN has connected over 1585 institutions under various categories throughout India. Currently, this programme is a component of umbrella “Digital India” programme.


The major objective of NKN is to connect universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country with high bandwidth (multi-gigabit) / low latency internet connection, so that they can share the knowledge, information and data. The idea is to bring together all stakeholders from science, technology, higher education, healthcare, agriculture and governance to a common platform.

Salient Features of NKN architecture

  • NKN architecture has been designed for scalability. Backbone of this network starts from 2.5GBPS connectivity and moves on to 10GBPS connectivity between 7 super-core locations all over India. Further, it is inherently capable of progressively moving with multiples of10/40/100 gbps, complimented with a distribution layer at appropriate speeds. The end users are connected upto a speed of 1 Gbps.
  • The network architecture and governance structure allows users with options to connect to the distribution layer as well.
  • NKN enables creation of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) as well for special interest groups. It NKN provides international connectivity to its users for global collaborative research. At present, NKN is connected to Trans Eurasia Information Network (TEIN3) and is expected to connect with GLORIAD network in near future.


Various applications under NKN are as follows:

Countrywide Virtual Classroom

The NKN is a platform for delivering effective distance education and it enables co-sharing of information such as classroom lectures, presentations and handouts among different institutions.

Collaborative Research

The NKN enables collaboration among researchers from different entities like GLORIAD, TEIN3, GARUDA, CERN etc. NKN also enables sharing of scientific  databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.

Virtual Library

The Virtual Library involving sharing of journals, books and research papers across different institutions, is a natural application for NKN.

Sharing of Computing Resources

High-performance computing is critical for national security, industrial productivity, and advances in science and engineering. The network enables a large number of institutions to access high-performance computing to conduct advanced research in areas such as weather monitoring, earthquake engineering and other computationally intensive fields.

Grid Computing

The NKN has the capability to handle high bandwidth with low latency and provision to overlay grid computing. Some of the grid based applications are climate change/global warming, science projects like Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and ITER. The NKN can be the platform to realize many such innovative applications. The Garuda Grid has enhanced its power and stability by migrating to NKN.

Network Technology Test-bed

NKN provides test-bed for testing and validation of services before they are made available to the production network. NKN also provides an opportunity to test new hardware & software, vendor interoperability etc.


NKN acts as a super highway for integrating e-Governance infrastructure such as government data centres and networks. NKN provides bulk data transfer facility required for e-Governance applications.

Services Provided by NKN

Generic Services

Internet, Intranet, Network Management Views, e-Mail, Messaging Gateways, Caching Gateways, Domain Name System, Web Hosting, Voice over IP, Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) Services, Video Portals, SMS Gateway, Co- Location Services, Video Streaming etc.

Community Services

Shared Storage, e-Mail List Software Application (LISTSERV), Authentication Service, EVO, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Collaboration Service, Content Delivery Service, International Collaborations with EU-India Grid, Global Ring Network for Advanced Applications Development (GLORIAD) etc.

Special Services

Virtual Private Network Stitching Services, [[email protected] (Virtual Private Wire Service / Virtual Private LAN Service), [email protected]] etc.

Thus, NKN is a revolutionary step towards creating a knowledge society without boundaries.

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