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Merit Network Announces Internet2 Network Access to Merit's Entire SEGP Community

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  • From: Brian Warkoczeski <>
  • To:
  • Subject: Merit Network Announces Internet2 Network Access to Merit's Entire SEGP Community
  • Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 07:48:22 -0400 (EDT)

For Immediate Release

Merit Network Announces Internet2 Network Access to Merit's Entire SEGP

ANN ARBOR, MI – June 11, 2009 – Merit Network, Inc. and Internet2
announced today a collaborative effort to extend Internet2 Network
connectivity to all schools, libraries and institutions of higher
learning across Michigan that connect to Merit. This expansion of the
Merit Sponsored Education Group Participants (SEGPs) provides many
more organizations across the state access to the same leading-edge
network resources as the nation’s top universities.

Merit Network first became an Affiliate Member of Internet2 in 1998,
when they joined the consortium of over 200 U.S. universities,
nonprofits, industry partners and government organizations that make up
the Internet2 community. Merit is now an Internet2 Research and
Education Network Member since this category was established in 2007.

Today, five Merit Member Universities have signed on to participate as
Internet2 University Members. These Members develop advanced
network-based applications for research and education, and create a
project team within the Internet2 organization to support application
development. The list includes: the University of Michigan (with
satellite campuses in Dearborn and Flint), Michigan State University,
Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University and Western
Michigan University. Thanks to the expanded SEGP collaboration, now even
more Merit Members will be able to leverage their efforts.

The announcement today signifies a drastic increase in Merit Members
with Internet2 Network access. Merit Network will provide 81% of its
entire Membership with connectivity to the Internet2 Network — an
increase of 51%.

The new SEGP connections are a capstone to recent upgrades on Merit's
core backbone that have paved the way for connectivity of this magnitude.

In the past three years, Merit has significantly increased fiber-optic
connections to its network. Not long ago, portions of Merit's Membership
lacked the connection necessary to support the dynamic programming and
services availed through Internet2 Network access. Now with 42% of all
Merit Members connected via fiber-optic cable, more Members than ever
before have the connection capacity to achieve the advanced degree of
networking facilitated by Internet2.

Merit has recently enhanced access points to and from its core backbone.
Once offering a 155 Mbps connection, the network now features two 10
gigabit (10G) paths to Internet2, each connecting to a different
geographic region of the nation-wide network. This provides an optimal
level of redundancy to supplement the robust connectivity to Internet2's
high-performance network.

"Our move to facilities-based fiber provided ease in the decision-making
process on the network," said Bob Stovall, Vice President of Network
Operations and Engineering for Merit. "Prior to the additional fiber and
expanded connections, network operations had to provision a connection
specifically for our Internet2 Members. Now that excess capacity is the
norm, our network can support the expanded SEGP access and sustain it
into the future."

10G bandwidth connections to Internet2 will make programming and
services possible that would not have been before, enabling e-learning,
long-distance collaboration and advanced applications in the fields of
research and library science. According to Merit President and CEO Don
Welch, these services are essential to Merit's Membership.

"In the research and education climate of today, it is no longer enough
to simply operate a robust network," he said. "The best way that we can
serve our Membership and their communities is to equip our network with
the resources necessary to accomplish more, whether it be the diverse
array of services offered by Merit, or the support of programming,
applications and collaboration facilitated by Internet2. In this manner,
through expanded Internet2 access, our SEGPs will incur the immense
benefits of both leading-edge network capabilities and unique
partnership opportunities."

An example of a unique partnership opportunity that leverages
Internet2's nation-wide network can be found be through the K-20
Initiative. The K-20 Initiative connects public and private K-12
schools, libraries, community colleges, universities, performing arts
centers and museums to the Internet2 network and enables direct
interaction with over 50,000 other SEGP institutions in 39 different

"In bringing together innovators from all regions of the country, the
SEGP program seeks to encourage the development and use of advanced
educational technologies at all levels of research and academia," said
Louis Fox, Director of Internet2's K20 initiative. "The diverse K-20
community brought together by Merit's SEGP Membership will bring a new
and exciting perspective as well as additional resources to this
expanding program and will help support even greater contributions by
this important segment of our community."

In the past, Merit Members have utilized their Internet2 connection to
conduct and attend classes in a variety of disciplines from distant
sites via high-definition or uncompressed videoconferencing, to
broadcast landmark ceremonies and events nation-wide and to access
virtual field trips at a number of exciting destinations. Now with all
Merit SEGPs connected, students across the state will be able to take
advantage of new breakthroughs in research and collaboration made
possible through the Internet2 K-20 Initiative.

"Merit is pleased to expand Internet2 access to all of our SEGP
Members," said Elwood Downing, Vice President of Member Relations,
Communications and Professional Learning for Merit. "Not only will these
institutions marvel at the new capabilities and access to educational
programming in store for educators and students in their communities,
but they will find that it can save their organizations money."

Because Internet2 traffic is part of Merit Network's On-Net Service,
Merit Members can reduce costs across the board. On-Net traffic
economically links multiple distant sites, allowing Members to share
administrative resources and conduct joint research across institutions
at a lower price. Provisioning will begin July 1st, with all Merit SEGPs
connected by the end of Merit Network's first business quarter.

About Merit

Merit Network Inc., a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by
Michigan's public universities, owns and operates America's
longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966,
Michigan's public universities created Merit as a shared resource to
help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its
formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and
education networking expertise and services. Merit provides
high-performance networking solutions to Michigan's public universities,
colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare,
and other non-profit organizations.

For more information:

About Internet2

Internet2 is the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortium. Led by
the research and education community since 1996, Internet2 promotes the
missions of its members by providing both leading-edge network
capabilities and unique partnership opportunities that together
facilitate the development, deployment and use of revolutionary Internet
technologies. Internet2 brings the U.S. research and academic community
together with technology leaders from industry, government and the
international community to undertake collaborative efforts that have a
fundamental impact on tomorrow's Internet.

For more information:

For press/media contact:

Elwood Downing
Merit Network, Inc.
Phone: (734)527-5702

Lauren Rotman
Phone: (202)331-5345

  • Merit Network Announces Internet2 Network Access to Merit's Entire SEGP Community, Brian Warkoczeski, 06/12/2009

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