Skip to Content.
Sympa Menu

i2-news - NCREN Enhancements in Charlotte Region Provide Foundation for Innovation and Economic Transformation

Subject: News for and about the Internet2 community

List archive

NCREN Enhancements in Charlotte Region Provide Foundation for Innovation and Economic Transformation

Chronological Thread 
  • From: "Heather Hefner" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: NCREN Enhancements in Charlotte Region Provide Foundation for Innovation and Economic Transformation
  • Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007 11:19:12 -0400

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – June 5, 2007 – From discoveries fueled by university research to infusing new technology into a former rural mill town to create jobs and delivering new teaching and learning tools to K-12 classrooms, a fiber-optic network ring in the Charlotte region is providing a foundation for education, innovation, and economic development.

The advanced networking infrastructure is an enhancement to the statewide N.C. Research and Education Network (NCREN) in collaboration with UNC Charlotte, UNC General Administration and DukeNet, a subsidiary of Duke Power.


NCREN, developed and operated by MCNC, provides high-speed Internet, video, audio and other network-related services to all public North Carolina universities and many private universities and colleges. NCREN services support multiple activities at each campus, including research, high-performance computing, distance learning, classroom education, administrative services and extension services. In addition, NCREN provides access to national research networks, including the Internet2 Network and National LambdaRail. NCREN is also involved in a new statewide initiative to extend reliable broadband connectivity to all K-12 schools in the state.


The enhanced networking infrastructure, called the Charlotte Ring, improves connectivity for the UNC Charlotte main campus and establishes a new NCREN connection for the university’s research campus. The direct connection to NCREN provides the ability to support multiple fiber-optic connections up to 10 gigabits of bandwidth each, on par with the state’s largest research universities in the Research Triangle region.

“In today’s world, high-speed network access can be the foundation for a region’s economic growth,” said Charles Price, director of research computing at UNC Charlotte. “The ability to increase our network bandwidth to meet future needs, the enhanced access to universities and other research institutions through NCREN’s partnerships with national research networks, and the enhanced reliability through the ring network architecture are all significant achievements in support of our university and community. The advanced networking capabilities in the Research Triangle have been instrumental to both the development of a high-tech corridor and the economic growth of surrounding areas. The Charlotte Ring provides similar potential for the greater Charlotte region.”


Replicating the success of the Research Triangle Park through advanced technology and collaboration of universities is the vision behind the creation of a new N.C. Research Campus currently under construction in Kannapolis, N.C. – about 30 miles northwest of Charlotte. The biotech campus is being built on the former site of Cannon Mills and the Pillowtex textile mill. Pillowtex laid off thousands of workers when it closed in 2003. The campus is expected to generate more than 5,000 technology jobs, with an economic impact that will help create thousands more jobs across the state.


The N.C. Research Campus is a public-private, 350-acre life sciences hub involving UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State University, Duke University, N.C. Central University, UNC Greensboro, N.C. A&T State University, the N.C. Community College System and others. Plans include collaboration with several university-run research facilities and labs as well as hospital labs and private businesses. N.C. Community College system will play a key role by providing job training for area residents who have been hard-hit by economic changes and job losses. UNC Charlotte, UNC General Administration officials, several universities, and MCNC are in discussions to support the new research campus with advanced networking capabilities through the Charlotte Ring.


“From high performance computing and sharing of scientific equipment across the network, NCREN can provide a communication and information technology infrastructure to enable all the partners to work together and collaborate with leading research institutions around the world,” said Tom Shircliff. Shircliff and Rob Murchison, co-founders of Intelligent Buildings, are developing the information infrastructure for the N.C. Research Campus.


For example, the research campus plans to feature the world's premiere superconducting magnet. The two-story, eight-ton machine will allow scientists to research three-dimensional structures of molecules and study their interactions with greater clarity than ever before, significantly enhancing such key areas of research as drug development and nutrition. Through NCREN, scientific equipment and data can be shared with researchers across the state and around the world.


“The Charlotte Ring and the regional networking prospects that it enables are prime examples of how NCREN is evolving to meet the needs of North Carolina’s research and education community,” said Robyn Render, UNC Vice President for Information Resources and CIO. “From new prospects for research collaboration throughout the nation and world to supporting initiatives such as the Kannapolis research project and economic transformation for the entire region, our collective investments in NCREN are creating new opportunities for North Carolina and our universities.”


Other Regional Networking Opportunities

The Charlotte Ring also continues a tradition of establishing Regional Points of Presence (RPoPs). RPoPs are regional “on ramps” to the NCREN network, hosting network equipment to support regional networking initiatives. The regional hubs enable communities to establish their own network services for colleges, K-12 schools, and local government organizations, becoming catalysts for regional economic development.

For example, the Institute for Social Capital was established by the UNC Charlotte Foundation to collaborate with local non-profits, governmental agencies and community-based organizations. The Institute is working with local and regional social services agencies, public libraries and schools to improve Internet access in underserved communities.

In addition, the Charlotte Ring is the foundation for a new research-only fiber network to support the Carolina MicroOptics Triangle, a regional optical research partnership among UNC Charlotte, Western Carolina University and Clemson University. The organization was formed to coordinate the technology platforms of the partner institutions for technology advancement and to support local education, local companies and regional economic development.



Since 1985, MCNC has developed and operated the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) in collaboration with the University of North Carolina’s 16 campuses. The fiber-optic, private network is dedicated to research and education, providing a statewide network backbone to foster innovation. NCREN provides high-speed Internet, video, audio and data network services for North Carolina public universities, Duke University, Wake Forest University, other private universities and community colleges, state government and non-profit institutions. NCREN also provides access to national research networks. MCNC, founded in 1980 to be a catalyst for technology-based economic development throughout North Carolina, is located in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. For more information, please visit


About the University of North Carolina

The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 202,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees.  UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists.  Also under the University umbrella are the UNC Center for Public Television with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, and the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.


# # #


Media Contacts

Scott Yates

Largemouth Communications (for MCNC)

919-459-6452 (office)


Alfred Mays

UNC General Administration

Division of Information Resources



Paul Nowell (for UNC Charlotte)



This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
For more information please visit

  • NCREN Enhancements in Charlotte Region Provide Foundation for Innovation and Economic Transformation, Heather Hefner, 06/05/2007

Archive powered by MHonArc 2.6.16.

Top of Page