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Merit Network Completes Network Upgrades for 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the completion of several upgrades to its statewide, fiber-optic backbone. The upgrades bolster critical paths on Merit’s core network to better support bandwidth exchange between Members and improve the flow of traffic to key interconnection points with Internet2, the Tier 1 Internet and content providers.

“Our Members continue to see bandwidth usage increase due to the growing use of mobile devices, additional research projects and increasing adoption of cloud services. Merit designs our network to continually scale to outpace the demand of our Members. Keeping one step ahead of their evolving IT needs is an important aspect of our role as strategic partner to our Membership,” said Don Welch, president and CEO, Merit Network.

“Merit has witnessed bandwidth usage increase in our Membership at a rapid pace. For example, we have K12 Members, who only a few short years ago operated with connectivity in the range of 100 Mbps (megabits per second), that now take full advantage of a 10 Gbps (gigabits per second) connection to Merit’s backbone. The needs of our Members are unique; and Merit will remain focused on ensuring that we are poised to meet and exceed those needs,” said Elwood Downing, vice president of Membership Outreach and Engagement, Merit Network.

Foremost among the upgrades announced today is a new 100 Gbps path that spans from Ann Arbor, Detroit and Lansing to Merit’s fiber-optic ring in Chicago. The Chicago fiber ring houses important points of presence for Member traffic, including links to Internet2’s national backbone, Tier 1 Internet access points and important peering connections with content providers.

Additionally, the new 100 Gbps path supports a substantial portion of Members’ On-Net traffic. As a key value, Merit Network offers free bandwidth for data exchange between Merit Members and WAN (wide area network) Member sites that does not leave the Merit backbone. This results in significant savings for Members, as the majority of their traffic remains On-Net.

Also announced today is a 40 Gbps direct connection between Chicago and Ann Arbor. The path underscores the importance of the Chicago fiber ring for Merit Members and provides a high-capacity redundant connection.

The final upgrade announced today is a 40 Gbps path between Hillsdale and Lansing. Merit and the Hillsdale Community have fostered a close working relationship that dates back over 20 years. Working together, Merit, Hillsdale College and City of Hillsdale/BPU engaged key stakeholders to construct a community-wide local area fiber ring. Years later, the REACH-3MC project helped construct additional fiber-optic infrastructure that helped the small town of Hillsdale become one of the best connected areas in the country. The upgraded 40 Gbps connection now provides even more increased redundancy and improved performance for Merit Members in Hillsdale.

Network upgrade map

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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