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Merit Network Completes 10 Gbps Network Upgrades in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Flint

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the upgrade of optical equipment at several key locations on its network. The upgrades increase capacity at four Merit Member sites on Merit’s core backbone in Michigan and three locations on its Chicago Metro Fiber Ring.

Eastern Michigan University (EMU), University of Michigan-Flint (UM-Flint), Genesee Intermediate School District and Washtenaw Intermediate School District all received refreshed equipment that enables the sites to connect to the network at higher speeds. The upgrade increases their respective connections from 1 Gbps (gigabits per second) to 10 Gbps.

“I am pleased to announce upgrades in equipment that will augment capacity at Merit’s existing network nodes in support of both Research and Education as well as Tier 1 Internet Member traffic,” said Michael Milliken, director of Network Operations for Merit Network.

“Our Members face challenges of increased traffic and usage over their networks today, largely because of students’ use of their own devices to access the network. The new equipment helps Merit and our Members stay ahead of the curve with additional capacity and has been installed successfully in time for the new school year.”

Refreshed equipment at UM-Flint and Genesee ISD create an improved 10 Gbps ring for the Flint Community, which includes a 10 Gbps path to a Merit PoP (Point of Presence) in Flint. The improved connectivity will enable greater network utilization for the area, which was operating near its previous 1 Gbps capacity.

Increased capacity at EMU and Washtenaw ISD completes a 10 Gbps fiber ring for the Ann Arbor Community. The Ann Arbor Community Ring also includes the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Merit’s Arbor Lakes PoP. With all 10 school districts in the Washtenaw ISD education system connected by fiber, the upgrade to the ISD’s head end makes the Ann Arbor Community Ring especially robust.

“Merit is pleased to be able to offer Washtenaw ISD improved connectivity,” said Elwood Downing, vice president of Member Relations, Communications, Services and Product Development for Merit. “Washtenaw ISD has been a strong collaborative partner for Merit Network over the years. It is an organization that does great things for Washtenaw County and we are proud to support their efforts and have them as part of the Merit Community.”

Merit also completed equipment upgrades at three critical network exchange points in Chicago. The upgraded equipment provides Merit’s network with 30 Gbps capacity for its Chicago Metro Fiber Ring, improving both operability and resiliency.

Chicago is a major point of presence on Merit’s network, enabling access to the Tier 1 Internet and a myriad of providers’ networks and content for peering. The improved 30 Gbps capacity across 3 geographically distinct access points ensures Merit will continue to deliver a high level of service to its Membership, even under adverse circumstances.

At each of the sites in Ann Arbor, Chicago and Flint, Merit installed Juniper EX4500 Layer 3 Switches.

The upgrades are part of Merit’s continual process for improving its backbone infrastructure. In April 2012, Merit upgraded optical equipment at sites in Monroe, Southfield and Toledo, creating 10 Gbps paths between the three locations. In December 2011, Merit completed 10 Gbps upgrades at 16 nodes on its backbone in the Upper Peninsula and the Western Lower Peninsula, enabling an immediate transition to REACH-3MC infrastructure, which is nearing completion.

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained at the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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