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Timeline: The 1990s







Timeline: 1990s »


















Timeline: The 1990s

Board of Directors and Merit Logo - 1990
1990
  • During a February retreat, Merit's Board urges staff to solicit remaining Michigan public universities to join Merit as new Members. Also, the Board approves of a staff proposal to allow organizations other than publicly supported universities (Affiliates) to be served by Merit's network without Board approval. Merit was formally renamed Merit Network, Inc. MichNet was created to refer to Merit's statewide network.

  • In September, Merit, IBM and MCI partners found Advanced Network and Services (ANS), a non-profit corporation headed by Al Weiss, formerly of IBM. ANS assumes control of the NSFNET backbone service and begins to phase in a new T3 network.

1991
  • Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the T3-based NSFNET network becomes fully operational.

  • By the end of 1991, MichNet had 22 Affiliates.

1992
  • Merit, Novell and GTE collaborate on Project Connect, which equips five Southeastern Michigan schools with Novell Local Area Networks and connecting them to MichNet.

  • Ferris State University becomes an Affiliate.

  • NSF funds MichNet backbone upgrade for $475,000 over two years.

  • Project Connect teams Merit with five K-12 schools.

  • CIESEN is the first Affiliate with a T1 link to MichNet.

  • MichNet and ANS sign gateway agreement allowing commercial traffic from MichNet onto NSFNET/ANSnet.

  • WMU and Merit provide dial-in access from Muskegon.

  • SCP software development frozen.

  • MichNet connects Michigan Bell Packet Switching Network in the Upper Penisula.

  • Ameritech and MichNet test Switched Multimegabit Data Service (SMDS) in southeast Michigan.

  • Coalition for Networked Information awards TopNode Internet directory project to Merit.

  • NOC services, including CICNet operations, outsourced to ANS.

  • Second Merit Board retreat held, October 21 - 23.

  • Merit receives award from FAA for Inter-Domain Routing Protocol development.

Link Letter Newsletter - 1992 1993
  • Under increased pressure to transition from a federally sponsored network service to a commercially-supported, commodity backbone, NSF proposes that multiple commercial Network Service Providers (NSP) would replace the NSFNET backbone service with Network Access Points (NAPs) exchanging traffic between the various NSPs. A Routing Arbiter (RA) would then manage a routing database and provide routing information to the NAPs to ensure orderly exchange of traffic. NSFNET will be phased out over the next two years.

  • Merit receives partial funding from NSF to obtain commodity backbone connectivity to replace its access to the NSFNET. NSF also decides to share the RA's activities between Merit and the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (ISI).

  • Grand Valley State University becomes a member. As of August, Merit has ten Members and 55 affiliates, with 94 MichNet attachments at 76 locations.

  • Data service to Michigan Technological University upgraded to T1.

  • MichNet now serves six K-12 systems.

  • Ameritech and MichNet implement frame relay connectivity in southeast Michigan.

  • Merit launches new service for online information delivery, with The Chronicle of Higher Education as its first customer.

  • NSF releases follow-on solicitation for the new NSFNET architecture.

  • Merit Board sets October 1995 as target date for ending Secondary Communications Processor Support.

  • Dial-in access expands to Holland, MI via Hope College, and to Big Rapids via Ferris State University.

  • First production Network Access Server installed in Ann Arbor.

  • First deployment of RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) at MichNet sites.

1994
  • Northern Michigan University become Member and Lake Superior State University an Affiliate. All Michigan public universities are now served by MichNet.

  • As of December, Merit has 11 Members and 132 Affiliates, with 189 MichNet attachments at 122 locations.

  • Merit and ISI ramp up RA service while Merit's NSFNET partners wind down backbone service.

  • New K-12 outreach program creates six regional K-12 groups, called Hubs, which allows users to connect with MichNet dial-in service.

  • Michigan Public Service Commission awards Merit $4 million from the Ratepayers Fund to extend dial-in access for K-12, library and community college communities.

  • MichNet now has 38 shared dial-in sites; Merit Board endorses Dial-in Access Committee's plan to expand MichNet shared dial-in.

  • First regionals move off the NSFNET Backbone Service.

  • NSF awards Merit funding for two-year routing technology development project.

  • All 14 MichNet backbone nodes are interconnected at T1 speeds.

  • First Long-Distance Internet Provider attachment in cooperation with Ameritech.

  • NSF extends NSFNET cooperative agreement through April 1995.

  • NSF awards MichNet funding to continue inter-regional connectivity for four years; MichNet selects Internet MCI to provide T3 service to be shared with CICNet.

  • Department of Energy/ARPA funds CoNDUIT project for two years; Merit and other organizations partner with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

  • Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN) funds Merit to develop support for its BITNET III national dial-in service.

  • NSF funds 15-month project for MBone management tool development.

  • North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) chartered as forum for network service providers.

  • UM establishes new NOC in Merit's former site to serve MichNet, the Routing Arbiter, U-M, and later CICNet. Merit ends agreement with ANS for NOC services.

  • Merit staff numbers more than 60; many move to Arbor Lakes building from several North Campus locations.

Staff photo - 1995 1995
  • On April 30, NSFNET backbone service ends and is replaced by multiple backbones, linked at Network Access Points.

  • At year's end, Merit has 191 Affiliates, with 273 MichNet attachments at 162 locations.

  • Merit acquires the GateD Consortium from Cornell University, assuming responsibility for developing the popular "GateDaemon" modular routing software, which is used to interconnect packet-switched networks worldwide.

  • Merit makes toll-free 800 service available to K-12 schools, public libraries, and community colleges, and offering training statewide in conjunction with Ameritech.

  • Access IDs and passwords required for MichNet dial-in service; "guest@merit.edu" allowed for four-month phase-in period.

  • MichNet has 19 backbone nodes with new sites in Jackson, Berrien Springs, Southfield, Muskegon, and Iron Mountain.

  • Number of PCPs, SCPs, and NIMs in service drops to 110 from a high of nearly 300. All 49 dial-in sites use Network Access Servers instead of SCPs.

  • Last 2400 bps-only sites upgraded; all sites supported at least 14,400 bps and many 28,800 bps.

  • ISDN used for three Affiliate attachments.

  • MiCTA endorses Merit/MichNet as its Internet Service Provider.

  • Routing Arbiter Database goes into production. Merit/ISI Routing Arbiter team deploys Route Servers at all NAPs.

  • InternetMCI provides inter-regional connectivity at T3 speeds for MichNet and CICNet, replacing NSFNET.

  • East Lansing/Ann Arbor link upgraded from T1 to T3 through joint funding efforts of MSU, U-M, CICNet, and Merit.

  • TCI begins providing Internet service over its cable system in East Lansing and Okemos. MSU and MichNet provide connectivity.

  • T3 link between Bay City and Ann Arbor added to serve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Supercomputer Center.

  • Partial T1 connections available at 128K bps, 384K bps, and 768K bps.

Map - 1996 1996
  • As of December, Merit has 11 Members and 405 Affiliates, with 289 MichNet attachments at 213 locations.

  • RADIUS now supports enforcement of MichNet Dial-In Policy on all huntgroups.

  • MichNet now has 131 shared dial-in sites; more than 92% of Michigan residents have Internet access with a local phone call.

  • Resource Allocation Committee funds development of Merit's Network Statistics Collection and Reporting (NetSCARF) Scion software package.

  • FAA awards continuation of funding for Merit's joint government/industry IDRP project.

  • Michigan Public Service Commission approves funding for SupportNet, Merit's training and help desk follow-on to the K-12 Dial-in Expansion Project.

  • Internet2 logo
  • In October, 34 research universities announce "Internet2," a collaborative effort to build the next generation Internet 100 times faster than today's network.

1997
  • Lake Superior State University joins Merit, becoming our 12th Member organization.

  • Merit begins licensing dial-in authentication software worldwide as part of the Authentication, Authorization and Accounting Consortium (AAA) that allows users to connect to MichNet with IDs and passwords used for e-mail and other local computing tasks.

  • Virtual Web hosting, server colocation, Internet server configuration among new Merit services.

  • NSF awards $1million to Merit, MSU, and U-M for attachments to very high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS).

  • NSF funds three-year, follow-on grant for Multi-Threaded Routing Toolkit, joint Merit/UM project.

  • Merit/UM Internet Performance Management and Analysis Project awarded $1.6 million by NSF.

1998
  • Ferris State University becomes Merit's 13th member; all of Michigan's public universities are now members of Merit.

  • NSF funds Michigan Technological University's attachment to the very high speed Backbone Network Service for $350,000 over two years.

  • Merit receives Excellence in Educational Technology award from the Detroit Free Press and Michigan businesses for service to the state's educational community.

  • Merit Advisory Council meets for first time, serves as forum for increasing communication between Affiliates and Merit Board.

  • MiCTA re-endorses Merit as Internet Service Provider for Michigan.

  • MichNet moves OSPF as internal routing protocol.

  • Additional commodity Internet access (45M bps) obtained from WinStar Broadband via the Chicago NAP.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan funds Teach for Tomorrow, multimedia web training program for K-12 educators. Senator Carl Levin spearheads Blue Cross/Merit partnership.

  • State Board of Education funds Merit and partners for three Technology Literacy Challenge awards.

  • First applications from K-12 schools and libraries seeking Universal Service support accepted in January.

  • Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand rapids, Mt. Pleasant, and Rochester upgrade to T3 service. These sites join Ann Arbor, East Lansing, and Flint, providing T3 service to 8 of 21 MichNet backbone sites.

  • Merit Members adopt new fee structure effective July 1, 1999. Fees now partly based on network traffic plus membership class or level.

  • Route Server Next Generation project supports ISP routing at six U.S. exchange points.

  • Southeast Michigan dial-in sites grow to 2,500 lines as more areas in mid- and southeast Michigan are serviced by Phone Michigan in Flint. Ann Arbor dial-in moves to Flint.

  • More than half of MichNet dial-in lines upgraded to support V.90. ISDN dial-in support becomes more widely available.

1999
  • Michigan GigaPoP linked to Internet2/Abilene at 622M bps (OC-12c).

  • WSU's 155M bps (OC-3c) link to Internet2/Abilene activated, follows 1998 $410,000 award from NSF.

  • 400th router installed on MichNet backbone.

  • Merit's Ann Arbor backbone node moves from U-M Computing Center building to Arbor Lakes.

  • A fire in the electrical equipment room at the U-M Computing Center disrupts some Merit and U-M services; fortunately, most Merit equipment had already been moved to new machine room at Arbor Lakes.

  • There are now 163 Affiliates with 401 attachments from 353 separate locations.

  • Merit creates Center to Support Technology in Education to promote use of learning technologies in K-12 schools. The Center's Tech for Tomorrow program is now used by 1,000 Michigan educators.

  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awards $1.5 million to U-M College of Engineering and Merit for "Lighthouse," Internet security study focusing on large scale attack recognition and survivable network infrastructure.

  • Merit stops accepting new for-profit customers for its ISP services but continues to provide services for existing for-profit customers.

  • First MichNet annual meeting held at CMU in Mt. Pleasant.

  • There are now 10,733 dial-in lines at 159 Michigan locations, plus New York and Washington D.C. More than 4,000 lines support V.90 service, and more than 3,200 ISDN.

  • Merit adds new 45M bps link to Qwest's national Internet backbone to carry commodity traffic. Total commodity bandwidth between MichNet and rest of the Internet now 349M bps, plus 622M bps to Internet2/Abilene.

  • Merit conducts first Bandwidth Broker interoperability trials in Ann Arbor.

  • Merit institutes High Volume Premium Surcharge on some dedicated connections.

  • Merit Members' fees partly based on network traffic for first time starting in July.

Timeline Continued: Back to Merit History Section.



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