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Merit Network selects Cisco Systems as Ethernet Routing and Switching Hardware Vendor for REACH-3MC

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the selection of Cisco Systems, Inc. as Ethernet routing and switching hardware vendor for Merit’s REACH-3MC broadband stimulus project. Cisco will supply Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) for Merit’s community anchor institution connections as part of both REACH-3MC funding rounds.

“Merit Network is pleased to announce the selection of Cisco Systems as Ethernet routing and switching hardware vendor for REACH-3MC,” said Michael Milliken, director of network engineering for Merit.
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“Merit will use technology provided by Cisco to connect over 100 community anchor institutions to our backbone network, which will enable them to lower costs, consolidate resources and provide more to Michigan’s citizens.”

Sentinel Technologies, a Value Added Reseller (VAR) with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been awarded the REACH-3MC contract and will supply the Cisco hardware.

“Sentinel is committed to partnering with Merit Network to provide high speed bandwidth for underserved rural communities throughout the entire state of Michigan,” said John Elam, executive vice president of Sentinel Technologies.

“It is a great privilege to be such an integral part of a project that will create new jobs while rebuilding and upgrading the data infrastructure in this market. The completion of this project will provide Schools, Libraries, municipalities and other not for profits with the high speed network infrastructure needed for their futures.”

Cisco Systems was selected from a number of qualified applicants who responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP). While there were several strong proposals, Merit’s team thoroughly reviewed all RFPs and determined that Cisco could deliver the best solution to meet the technical requirements of the REACH-3MC project.

“The Cisco product is best positioned to meet the needs of Merit’s network and our Membership. Additionally it was one of the most cost-effective and flexible solutions that we evaluated,” Milliken added.

The Merit evaluation team made their selection based on the following criteria: flexibility of proposed solution, company profile, understanding scope of work, cost, technical requirements and warranty.

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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The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a two grants (Round I and Round II) from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly referenced as the Stimulus Package.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at

About Sentinel Technologies

Founded in 1982, Sentinel Technologies understands the role of technology in business and the value of reliable IT solutions for complex and mission critical operations. Strategic relationships with industry leaders including Cisco, Microsoft, and EMC enables Sentinel to be a proactive partner in meeting business goals and maximizing IT investments. Highly skilled Sentinel teams excel in assessing, designing, deploying, and supporting customized solutions in three core areas; Communications Technologies, Data Center and Outsourced/Managed Services.

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