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Ontario and Michigan Research Networks Achieve International Connection
February 2, 2006|
WINDSOR - A different kind of traffic is
flowing over the US-Canada border today as Ontario and Michigan
officially interconnect their high-speed optical research and education
networks utilizing the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The direct fiber
connection is believed to be one of the first across international borders
for regional research and education networks.
The new cross-border link, passing through the tunnel
infrastructure, was marked at an official optical fiber splicing ceremony at
Windsor City Hall today.
Officials from the City of Windsor
the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) and Merit Network
Inc. which operates Michigan's
research and education network, presided over the symbolic splice of optical
"This link is of immense future value to Ontario
and Michigan," said ORION President/CEO Phil Baker, who noted the
connection will make it easier for researchers and institutions to
collaborate and pursue new cross-border partnerships in science and learning.
"Merit's member institutions are very excited about this
achievement," added John Camp, CIO of Wayne State
University and chair of the Merit Board of Directors. "We see this as
a critical step in developing a Regional Optical Network (RON) in the Great
Lakes Region. A Great Lakes RON will eliminate geographic barriers for
cross-institutional and cross-border collaborative research."
"This project is an excellent example of the
knowledge-based, cross-border, regional approach that the Windsor/Detroit
area is becoming known for worldwide," said Windsor
Mayor Eddie Francis. "The speed-of-light exchange of information by
optical fiber is crucial to the continued growth of our region's
communications capacities, and for education, research and development in all
sectors. My congratulations go to everyone on both sides of the
border, who have put this vital link together."
Left to Right: David Cassivi, City of Windsor; Phil Baker, ORION; John Camp, Merit Network
Research partnerships that can be facilitated by the new
link range from collaborations in automotive design to environmental
research. Ultra high-speed networks provide more efficient connections
enabling distributed high-performance computational clusters and devices,
applications in data mining, life science research and joint participation in
global scientific projects.
As part of the growing global cyber-infrastructure,
advanced research and education networks like those managed by ORION and
Merit have become critical infrastructure for next-generation science and
This new Detroit-Windsor connection has the capacity to
transmit large amounts of data at very fast speeds. It can transmit the
equivalent of a full data CD in just under a second. There are also plans to
boost the capacity from the current one Gigabit per second link to multiple
wavelengths creating one of the most advanced optical infrastructures of its
kind in the world.
Officials also see this link as a first step toward creating a new Great Lakes and
Atlantic Research Alliance, involving ORION, Merit and advanced networks in New York
and Quebec. A similar cross-border connection is being finalized between Fort
Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York.
Completing the splice
Baker and Camp acknowledged the critical support of the
City of Windsor and the Detroit and Canada Tunnel Corporation,
which owns and operates the tunnel infrastructure.
"The Tunnel Corporation is pleased to have had a part
in facilitating this international collaboration between these two research
and education networks," said Neal Belitsky,
Executive Vice President & General Manager of the Detroit and Canada Tunnel Corporation.
Baker also acknowledged the critical support of the University Windsor
and the Windsor Essex Development Network (WEDnet), a part of the Centre
for Smart Community Innovation. He also
acknowledged the Government of Ontario, a key contributor to the project.
The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), a not-for-profit organization, is
Ontario's leading-edge research and education telecommunications network. ORION connects
Ontario's universities, colleges, medical and other public research facilities, and a number
of school boards to one another and to the global grid of research and education networks.
Learn more at www.orion.on.ca.
Merit Network Inc. (Merit), a non-profit corporation
governed by Michigan's public universities, owns and operates America's
first regional research and education network. Founded in 1966, Merit
supports the high-performance networking needs of Michigan's universities, colleges, K-12
schools, libraries, state government, health care and other non-profit
organizations. Through Merit, Michigan's
research and education organizations have access to leading-edge network
research, state and national collaborations, and international peering
connections. For more information, please visit
Merit Network, Inc.
Go to the Merit Network News Archive.