Timeline: The 1980's

Timeline: 1980s »

Timeline: The 1980s

1983 PCP computer - 1982
  • 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 TCP/IP suite.

  • 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.

Aupperle and Braun 1987
  • 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.

Network Operations Center - 1988 1988
  • 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.

Configuring NSFNET

Timeline Continued: Back to Merit History Section.

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