skip to Main Content




Merit Network to Contribute to the Development of the Next Generation of Internet Applications

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. has teamed with the US Ignite Partnership (, launching tomorrow, June 14, at the White House, to capitalize on what is possible through virtualized ultra-fast broadband networks, and “ignite” the development of next-generation Internet applications and services for American healthcare, education and job skills training, public safety, energy, and advanced manufacturing.

Donald Welch, president and CEO of Merit Network said, “Merit Network, Inc. is proud to join the US Ignite Initiative and the GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovation) project to help create a platform that will drive next-generation innovation. Merit has a strong history of providing innovative technologies to its Membership and the greater Research and Education Community. Formed in 1966, Merit Network is leveraging its experience managing the precursor to the modern Internet, the NSFNET, and its participation in US Ignite will add to a lineage of innovation as Merit continues to support leading-edge network technology in Michigan and beyond.”

The primary goal of the US Ignite Partnership will be to catalyze approximately 60 advanced, next-gen applications over the next five years in six areas of national priority: education and workforce development, advanced manufacturing, health IT, transportation, public safety, and clean energy. Responsibilities of the Partnership will include connecting, convening, and supporting startups, local and state government, universities, industry leaders, federal agencies, foundations, and community and carrier initiatives in conceptualizing and building new applications. The resulting new applications should have a significant impact on the US economy, including providing a broad range of job and investment opportunities.

The advanced technologies that will power the US Ignite initiative have been developed through the National Science Foundation’s GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovation) program and by US Ignite’s commercial partners. Flexibility is provided through the use of Software-Defined Networking. Speed is provided by symmetric ultra-fast connections. And “GENI Racks” power the low-latency, programmable local cloud capabilities available to US Ignite applications. “The combination of these three factors changes the game for applications developers,” said US Ignite CTO Dr. Glenn Ricart.

Welch added, “We think that the GENI platform is the most exciting research technology to come to networking in quite a few years. We believe it is likely that new protocols will come out of this effort, which will make the Internet a safer and more useful technology. The benefit will first extend to Community Anchor Institutions, and eventually to all users. We are providing an advanced research platform for our researchers, professors and students. We think that many of the results will directly benefit Community Anchor Institutions and our Members will be among the first to benefit. Merit is also working with the State of Michigan to develop a Cyber Security Range that will be based on Open Flow and GENI technologies.”

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 on 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.

For more information: