Merit On-Net/Off-Net Service

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Share Data and Resources Locally Using Merit's Network, Plus Connect to the Internet

Merit On-Net/Off-Net Service rewards Members who collaborate or share data across Merit's robust fiber-optic network. Traffic exchanged between organizations or between an organization and its satellite locations that are directly connected to Merit's network is considered "on-net." That is, Merit will be able to provide transit within Merit's network at a relatively lower cost to Members participating in the On-Net/Off-Net Program.

Members taking advantage of the Merit On-Net/Off-Net Service can also use their dedicated connection to Merit's network to reach the Internet, which is considered "off-net" traffic.

Merit's robust backbone boasts two physically diverse 10 Gigabit paths to Network Access Points in Chicago that connect with the commodity Internet and Internet2 Network, a 10 Gigabit connection to Internet2 in Cleveland, over 25 peering agreements with private networks and content providers, as well as connections to other research and education networks in the Midwest.

Who Most Benefits from the Merit On-Net/Off-Net Service

Members that use their network connections to exchange data across Merit's network for the following uses:
  • Multiple, geographically distant campuses.

  • Distance education between Merit's Members.

  • Merit organizations who share administrative resources (many schools and libraries).

  • Institutions conducting joint research across institutions.

  • Members who may serve as content providers to other Members.

  • Organizations using any type of caching or content servers hosted within the Merit network, such as Akamai.

Merit On-Net/Off-Net Service Example Maps

On-Net/Off-Net Architecture

Generally, Merit reports Member traffic at the Member's interface. In order to differentiate on-net from off-net traffic, Merit will also measure an on-net Member's traffic at the border routers. The off-net traffic, as measured at the border routers, will be tracked. Usage above the Member's subscribed bandwidth be will billed per the burstable algorithm as noted below. Merit will not monitor or report specific destinations, only whether traffic in aggregate is leaving Merit's network.

Usage beyond the subscribed off-net level is billed on a monthly basis per Merit's standard burstable model. Burstable bandwidth is measured by the "average peak" usage of the circuit, defined as the maximum bandwidth used in successive traffic samples taken over 30 minutes on two consecutive days in a month. The Member pays for the minimum bandwidth specified by the Contracted Bandwidth Fee, plus any additional charge for actual peak bandwidth used each month. The additional charge is calculated as the difference between the specified bandwidth fee and the fee for the peak bandwidth used that month. If the Member uses more than the base amount in three consecutive months, the highest amount used in each of those months would become the new base. The Member can also request that the base be lowered. If the bandwidth used is less than the base amount, the new base amount is the highest amount used in each of those three consecutive months.

Please note: Merit cannot rate limit an organization's off-net traffic only.

Superior Reliability & Support

Merit's 24x7x365, Michigan-based Merit Support Center (MSC) is operated by highly trained staff who continuously monitor the backbone, as well as Member circuits and routers to ensure network availability for each Member. The MSC provices support 24x7, 365 days a year. The Merit Support Center, formerly called the Network Operations Center, has been monitoring high-performance networks since 1987.

The MSC assists Members with network connection issues and questions related to services, including MeritMail, MeritVoice, Merit RADb, Merit Colocation, and others. In addition, the Merit Support Center can assist with new service inquiries and provide E-rate support.

For more information about the Merit On-Net/Off-Net Service, please contact us at or call 734-527-5785.

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