- Shortly after the PCP technology was completed a second hardware technology initiative became available with smaller
Secondary Communication Processors (SCP). The first SCP installed on the U-M campus was located at the Michigan Union to
create UMnet, which extended Merit's network connectivity to the U-M campus. The SCP provided support for the X.25
internetworking protocol and for Ethernet LAN connections.
- By the end of 1983, the combined Merit/UMnet network consists of eight PCP's and 35 SCP's serving eight host computers
on Merit's four Member university campuses. The increased complexity of operating and managing the rapidly expanding network
leads to the creation of the Network Operations Center (NOC). The NOC monitors network performance, deals with outages and
operational issues, loads software updates, and reports performance statistics.
- In 1983, Hans-Werner Braun, a network specialist from Germany, joins Merit's staff and leads an effort to interconnect
Merit's network with ARPANET. To make the connection possible meant implementing the ARPANET TCP/IP protocol suite within
the PCP/SCP infrastructure. The software development for the project was led by Rubens, supported by an unsolicited grant
from NSF. Merit's network became the first to support both a connection-based protocol suite (X.25) and the connectionless
- Oakland University becomes a member of Merit Network.
- Merit engineers and operates a satellite link and land line to connect U-M to supercomputer centers in San Diego and Pittsburgh.
- Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, and Michigan Technology University join as Members.
Merit's network also begins to serve non-Member organizations, including hospitals and automotive companies with research
links to Merit's Members.
In June, NSF issues Project Solicitation for Management and Operation of the NSFNET Backbone Network, looking for an
organization that would implement a higher speed backbone network interconnecting supercomputer centers and regional networks,
operate and manage the network, and provide a set of informational services to the regional networks. NSFNET would exclusively
use the TCP/IP technology protocol.
Representatives from Merit, IBM and MCI meet in July and August to work out details on a proposal for NSF's project
solicitation. Merit's proposal is one of six submitted to NSF and wins the competition.
- On November 24, NSF publicly announces the award at a press conference at Wayne State University, attended by
Michigan's governor and other dignitaries.
- A goal of July 1 is set for the backbone network service, which is met. The new nationwide NSFNET
network is 24 times faster, going from 56 kbps to T1 service (1.5 megabits per second), and served more sites
than the initial network interconnecting supercomputer centers around the country. With the significant increase
in network bandwidth and coverage, traffic grew in excess of 20% per month.
- The NSFNET project causes Merit's staff to nearly triple, with a new Network Operations Center (NOC) facility built
and staffed daily around the clock at the U-M Computer Center Building. The NOC is managed by Dale Johnson.
- In October, Merit's Board changes Aupperle's title from director to president.