Timeline: 2000 - 2009
- Merit has 13 Members and 230 Affiliates, with 422 attachments at 379 locations.
- Merit is selected to provide dial-in service by all hardware vendors participating in Michigan's Teacher
Technology (laptop) initiative. MSU provides help desk services, e-mail, and web space for most vendors.
- Internet2 access expands with WMU becoming an Internet2 member with 45M bps of access to Abilene.
NMU becomes Sponsored Internet2/Abilene Participant, and U-M Dearborn upgrades to 45M bps to receive
- Eight MichNet backbone circuits upgraded to OC3c (155M bps) and OC12c (622M bps). OC12c becomes available to Chicago, and second T3 (45M bps) installed between Chicago and UP in Houghton.
- Eric Aupperle, Merit's President, receives Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Southeastern Michigan section's "Outstanding Engineer Award" for technical achievements, and its "Third Millennium Medal" for long-term service and contributions.
- Merit spins off two for-profit companies: NextHop Technologies develops and markets GateD routing software, and Interlink Networks specializes in Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) software.
- Merit provides Internet connectivity for Michigan Department of State services through SMART LINK program, which places customer service kiosks in shopping malls, and through kiosks at Upper and Lower Peninsula State Fairs.
- Three yearly NANOG meetings bring together over 600 service providers, engineers and researchers for discussion of Internet backbone network technologies.
- NSF awards Merit and Eastern Michigan University $800,000 for "TeacherLIB" project, part of NSF's National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library.
- Napster and other peer-to-peer applications have significant impact on traffic at most Merit Members and some Affiliates, as well as on MichNet backbone.
- U-M and Merit sign first formal written document defining hosting relationship between the two organizations.
- MichNet Operations (aka the Shop) moves to new offices in Arbor Lakes Building Two.
- Merit launches Internet2 Routing Registry.
- Jeff Ogden, Merit's Associate Director for High-Performance Networks, accepts Michigan Association for
Computer-related technology Users in Learning (MACUL) President's Award on behalf of Merit, cited in recognition
of its contributions to the advancement in the use of technology in education.
- Merit and IRS agree that most work at Merit is related to Merit's non-profit purpose. Merit's tax-exempt status upheld.
- Akamai caching servers installed in Ann Arbor, serving all MichNet users.
- Merit provides Internet connectivity to most Michigan libraries participating in Gates Foundation library initiative.
- Merit is selected for third time as MiCTA's endorsed ISP for Michigan.
- MichNet named as one of four "ISPs That Stand Out" in Network Magazine's December profile of leading Internet Providers.
- Eric Aupperle retires as President after 27 years at Merit, appointed President Emeritus by Merit Board. Hunt Williams becomes Merit's new President.
- Merit Board approves plan to upgrade major portions of the MichNet backbone to dual OC48c (2 x 2.4 billion bps).
- Merit receives Sponsored Education Group Participation status from Internet2, allowing K-12 schools and other educational organizations to obtain Internet2 access.
- All 13 Merit Members have Internet2 access.
- At the end of 2001, MichNet's shared dial-in network has phone numbers in over 200 Michigan cities and has more than 14,000 dial-in lines providing local call access to 98% of Michigan population, plus a new dial-in site in Windsor, Ontario.
- Michigan Townships Association works with Merit to provide advanced Internet services to even the smallest
- Teacher Technology Initiative, providing laptops and dial-in access for 90,000 K-12 teachers, goes live at www.michk12.org
- Govenor Engler announces plan for the Michigan Information Technology Center (MITC), the new home of Merit and Internet2. The Governor also signs MiHiSpeed Internet legislation, creating the Michigan Broadband Development Authority and streamlining the permitting process for new fiber optic infrastructure.
- Cogent commodity Internet link upgraded to 1G bps (one billion bits per second). Total commodity bandwidth between MichNet and the rest of the Internet now 18555M bps, plus 622M bps to Internet2/Abilene.
- Gigabit Ethernet service deployed to MSU, U-M, and WSU.
- U-M Flint becomes Internet2 member, with 45M bps of access to Abilene. Eight colleges and universities and seven K-12 organizations become Internet2 Sponsored Educational Group Participants.
- New MichNet backbone node created in Marshall/Battle Creek.
Ongoing consolidations in dial-in sites into larger "SuperPOPs" improves service and lowers prices in the Grand Rapids LATA and elsewhere in the state.
- NANOG holds first joint meeting with ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers.
- School districts and other organizations begin working with Merit to deploy customer-owned fiber to increase speeds and lower costs.
- NSF funds digital video collection aligned to curriculum standards in Michigan Teacher Network as part of the National Science Digital Library.
- Statewide fiber strategy takes shape as Merit deploys fiber rings in Grand Rapids and Lansing. Wayne State,
MSU, and U-M launch Michigan Lambda Rail Network project, linking campuses via privately owned fiber.
- Gigabit Ethernet link deployed to StarLight, Chicago's optical interconnection point for Merit, Internet2, other regional, national and international R&E networks.
- Merit selected as primary Internet service provider for State of Michigan.
- U-M Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science's Alumni Society names Merit President Emeritus Eric Aupperle as Alumni Medal Recipient for 2003.
- Merit initiates MichK12.org service. Allows Michigan teachers who had Teacher Technology Initiative dial-in accounts to pay to extend their service. Other K-12 employees also eligible.
- MichNet engineers adapt standard optical switch, splitting single wavelengths into two to reduce costs and double bandwidth capacity on metropolitan fiber rings.
- Hillsdale College, Lawrence Technological University, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Genesee Intermediate School District, and North Central Michigan College become Internet2 Sponsored Educational Group Participants, bringing the total number of Michigan Internet2 participants to 38.
- Merit launches redesigned Web site and newsletter, Merit News.
- Michigan Information Technology Center hosts "Going Forward" celebration.
- Merit affirms non-profit mission with new Affiliate attachment policy — no new connections to commercial organizations whose activities are unrelated to Merit's mission.
- Merit completes broadband infrastructure strategy reports for 23 Michigan counties on behalf of LinkMichigan project, sponsored by Michigan Economic Development Corporation to advance telecommunications services in Michigan.
- MichNet attaches to Voice over IP provider VoEx on behalf of University of Michigan.
- Michael R. McPherson named Merit's Interim President and CEO.
- Merit launches first production wireless link, 45M bps full duplex loop connecting Southfield and Lawrence Technological University backbone nodes.
- The Ontario Research Innovation Optical Network (ORION) and Merit sign historic agreement to interconnect across the Canada/U.S. border and collaborate on advanced networking technologies.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security awards Merit research grant for participation in Protected Repository for the Defense of Infrastructure Against Cyber Threats (PREDICT) project.
- Merit and Internet2 host "Networking for Michigan's Future" Day for Michigan Legislators.
- Expanded suite of network security consulting services includes Local Area Network vulnerability scans and on-site equipment checks.
- Merit announces new regional fiber rings and participates in planning Michigan Lambda Rail (MiLR). On August 3, Merit adds two new regional fiber-optic rings in Grand Rapids and Chicago.
- On August 11, Merit Network implements its first production wireless link within its high-performance network backbone. The 45 Mbps full duplex loop connects Merit's Southfield and Lawrence Technological University backbone sites.
- Merit Network and Internet2 move into new Michigan Information Technology Center (MITC).
- Azure Solutions and Merit implement Connex point-to-point wireless connectivity linking the University of Detroit Mercy to Merit.
- In February, Merit launches new security services, including remote port scan, system verification, remote assessment and on-site audit.
- In June, several Merit dial-in locations are transitioned to service from a new
- On June 25, Merit experienced several outages to the greater Internet in the early hours on Saturday, June 25th. Each outage lasted approximately 10-15 minutes. Not all customers were affected, but Merit lost commodity connectivity in Chicago, as well as the Chicago link to Abilene. The outages were due to a fire at the Chicago Power Station, which
caused a blackout in the area and loss of power to Merit's facility at
- The Merit dial-in location in Westphalia goes out of service on July 18.
- On Aug. 18, Merit announces final operational transition to facilities-based networking for its southern Michigan backbone connections. The new connections utilize dark fiber from Michigan Lambda Rail (MiLR), a collaborative effort of Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Quadrupling current capacity (from 2.5 Gbps to 10 Gbps), while containing future costs and establishing Merit in the field of regional optical networking.
- On February 2, Merit and the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) officially interconnect their high-speed optical research and education networks utilizing the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, providing a network connection between Michigan and Ontario.
- In March, Merit decommissions the dial-in locations in Carney, L'Anse, Manistique, and Munising.
- The Merit Network community began utilizing the new fiber connection in April between the Lansing POP and the Jackson POPs located at Jackson Community College and Jackson County ISD (JCISD).
- On May 11, Dr. Donald J. Welch is named the President and CEO of Merit Network, Inc. by the Board of Directors. Dr. Welch starts his tenure at Merit on July 10.
- On June 5, Merit discontinues recursive DNS queries for users outside Merit's network. Individual users from Merit's Members and Affiliates may still utilize this service when connected through a Merit attachment, but not when connected through other providers.
- On June 15, Internet2 and Level 3 Communications, Inc. announce an agreement to develop and deploy a new nationwide network that will offer Internet2 members 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) of capacity, more than 10 times that of the current Internet2 backbone network,
and will be designed to easily scale to add capacity as Internet2 members'
- On June 19, Merit launches MeritMail, offering secure mail services with spam and anti-virus protection
for Members and Affiliates.
- On January 3, the Merit Network community begins using the new fiber connection between the Mt. Pleasant and Lakeview.
- Merit launches On-Net Service, rewarding
Members with low costs for traffic that
remains within Merit's network.
- On January 31, Merit hosts "CALEA and Beyond" workshop at the MITC.
- On February 7, Merit Network announces that Dial-in Services will be decommissioned on July 2, 2007.
- Merit releases OpenCALEA on March 6. The open-source tool is designed to help Internet providers meet their CALEA compliance needs.
- Merit streams presentation in
Battle Creek by Gerda Weissmann Klein, author of the Holocaust memoir "All But My Life," to thousands over the Internet and Internet2 Network.
- On April 12, Merit partners with Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City to present "Network-Based Interactive Distance Learning: Discussion & Demonstration."
- Merit hosts IPTV Workshop on April 17-18.
- Merit launches geographical communities initiatives to help connect Members by fiber. The initiative spurs collaboration and communitiy building, emulating previous community projects in Hillsdale and Alpena.
- Open-source software and IPTV are among popular subjects covered during the 2007 Merit
- In July, Merit collaborates with Alpena Public
Schools on 20-mile 1-gigabit-per-second
fiber link from Alpena to Lachine.
- On July 16, Merit & City of Alpena
assist with State of Michigan event honoring Centers for Regional Excellence participants. Gov. Jennifer Granholm hosts interactive videoconference streamed to 22 locations around Michigan.
- Michigan Academic Computing Center completed at MITC.
- On Aug. 30, Merit Network announces formation of the Michigan Information
Technology Executives (MITE) Forum.
- The Mackinac Bridge, celebrating its 50th Anniversary in September 2007, contributes to another
historic achievement as Merit completes a fiber optic connection across the Bridge, creating the first high-speed network connection between Michigan's peninsulas.
- Merit begins using new gigabit connections in St. Ignace, Petoskey and Traverse City. Merit now offers gigabit service to its Members in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
- 30% of Merit's Members are connected via high-speed fiber.
- On October 2, Merit Network launches Member Portal web site.
- MeritMail service debuts at the
- In November, Merit Network completes Phase I of its fiber network expansion in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, connecting Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, and Lake Superior State University via fiber optic cable at gigabit Ethernet speeds.
On November 29-30, Merit Network President Donald J. Welch, President Emeritus Eric M. Aupperle, and other staff participate in the NSFNET Celebrationin Arlington, Virginia. The NSFNET provided network access to thousands of universities and research facilities from 1985 to 1995. Merit managed and operated the NSFNET between 1987 and 1995, partnering with IBM, MCI, and Advanced Network and Services, Inc. (ANS) to build a new NSFNET backbone network with additional support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
- Due to the growing demand for web-based medical
services and high-speed networking from hospitals
and medical organizations, Merit creates the Health
Care Member Relations Manager position.
- In February, MeritVoice, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
service optimized for educational, research, library,
and health care organizations, is launched.
- In March, the new Merit NOC moves into Merit's facilities in
the Michigan Information Technology Center (MITC).
- In April, Merit hosts a VoIP Seminar at the Michigan Information
Technology Center (MITC). It features presentations
by experts on IP-based voice technologies and case
studies from universities that have implemented VoIP
- A fiber connection between Midland and Saginaw
is finished as part of Merit's "Blue-Line" network.
- Merit Professional Learning hosts a JNCIA-M
Certification Bootcamp to prepare students for the
Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate exam.
- In May, Merit Network engineers lit a newly completed fiber
optic connection to OARnet, Ohio's regional research
and education network, and began sending data
across the 10 Gigabit path.
- Members connected to Internet2 begin using Merit's
new 10G connection to Internet2 in Cleveland, OH.
- Merit Professional Learning presents the SANS
Institute's "Secure Coding for PCI Compliance"
course at the MITC.
- In June, Merit receives major DARPA Control Plane contract.
DARPA uses Merit's fiber network to test new protocols
which promise to increase data transfer speeds by
orders of magnitude using "intelligent" network sensing
- The 10th Annual Merit Member Conference features
presentations by Bill St. Arnaud of CANARIE, Inc.,
Rob Malda of Slashdot, and Walter Weir of University
of Nebraska. Virtual worlds and green computing were
among the many compelling subjects discussed during
the two-day event. The conference also featured the
debut of the Merit Awards.
- July 1, 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the NSFNET's
T1 backbone network, the nation's first high-speed
- On July 8, security researcher Dan Kaminsky announces
that Domain Name System (DNS) servers may be vulnerable
to a specific attack known as DNS cache poisoning. Merit
notifies its Members to patch their DNS servers immediately.
- Merit begins the process of upgrading its core backbone
network to 10 gigabits and installing five new MX480 routers.
- Merit Professional Learning hosts "Mac OS X Security
Essentials" workshop at the MITC in Ann Arbor.
- The Library Network begins using MeritMail service.
- In August, Merit installs a 1 gigabit-per-second CSME network in
the Upper Peninsula to give full 1G redundancy to the
universities located in the U.P.
The first implementations of MeritVoice in Michigan begin using the new VoIP service in August.
- In September, wireless connection across the Soo Locks in Sault Ste.
Marie begins transmitting data between Merit and Ontario
Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION).
- In late October, Michigan Technological University and Eastern Michigan
University implement MeritMail for all faculty, staff and
- The process of upgrading to 10 gigabit routers on Merit's
core backbone network is completed in October.
- Merit hosts the NANOG44, the third meeting for the North
American Operators' Group in 2008, in Los Angeles. Vint
Cerf of Google presents the meeting's keynote address.
- Merit begins using Bidirectional Forwarding Detection,
whcih reduces route fail over to 300 milliseconds
instead of 300 seconds.
- In November, Merit adds a second Member Relations Manager to assist higher education.
- After the success of its Merit Video Collaboration Service (MVCS), Merit debuts
its newly expanded MeritVideo services, providing its Members with affordable videoconferencing services,
web streaming, media storage solutions, and professional consulting services.
- On January 16, Merit launches its new Merit NOC Services, providing flexible monitoring solutions to Merit's Members.
- Merit announces its new Merit Storage Cloud Service and begins taking subscriptions for the new service on
- On January 20, the Inaugural Ceremonies for President Barack Obama were greeted with cheers across the nation and a significant increase in Internet traffic. As the 44th President of the United States took his oath today shortly before noon, Merit Network's backbone network experienced greater than a 40% increase in traffic to the external Internet as users across Michigan watched the proceedings via live web streams.
Traffic estimates during the Inauguration range from 15-18 gigabits per second of Internet traffic on Merit's backbone network, which is significantly greater than the average of 7-10 gigabits during the same time period on an ordinary Tuesday.