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Type Not-for-profit company limited by shares
Founded 1986. Incorporated on 26 January 1989.
Headquarters Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Area served The Netherlands
Services Research networking
Owners SURF Foundation

SURFnet is both the name for the organisation that develops, implements and maintains the national research and education network (NREN) of the Netherlands as well as the network it operates. It was one of the first networks outside the USA linked to the Internet. SURFnet's executives have been founders of or occupied board positions in organisations like Ebone, CENTR, SIDN, AMS-IX, TERENA, DANTE, RIPE NCC, ISOC, IETF, IESG and IAB.

SURFnet as an organisation was established in 1986 and in 1989 started supplying IP connectivity services, deploying the TCP/IP suite. SURFnet is a subsidiary of a not-for-profit foundation SURF (Samenwerkende Universitaire Reken Faciliteiten; English: Co-operative University Computing Facilities).

SURFnet as a network is a high-grade computer network specially reserved for higher education and research in the Netherlands. Staff and students of connected organizations can communicate through SURFnet with other internet users all over the world. SURFnet is globally recognised as one of the most sophisticated networks around.[1]



SURFnet has deployed a series of network generations in an overbuilt manner. The initial SURFnet network was based on 9.6 kbit/s and 64 kbit/s X.25 connections, providing DECNET protocol. SURFnet2 was established in 1989 and delivered TCP/IP over an X.25 network. The SURFnet3 network delivered native TCP/IP via leased lines and became operational in 1991, mainly consisting of 64 kbit/s and 2 Mbit/s lines. In 1994 SURFnet4 was developed based on ATM and, later on SDH, links. SURFnet5 was developed from 1999 onwards on a 10 Gbit/s DWDM infrastructure, with access links of 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s.

Current network[edit]

SURFnet6, the sixth generation of the SURFnet network, was taken into operation at the beginning of 2006. This new network not only provides the 750,000 users in higher education and research with high-quality Internet facilities, but also provides them with "lightpaths".

Lightpaths are direct connections between two nodes in the network without the need for routers. Lightpaths are characterised by very high capacity (1 to 10 Gbit/s), quality and reliability. See also


SURFnet provides services on all layers of its network. Services include authentication services, such as eduroam and A-Select, and services in the field of security, online collaboration and high quality streaming media. An alphabetical list can be found on the SURFnet website, see below.


SURFnet collaborates with a number of organisations, both nationally and internationally:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SURFnet serves some of the most demanding Telecom users in the world, and has a strong history of innovation to consistently deliver them the fastest and most advanced networking solutions". 

External links[edit]