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Network Operator’s Conference slated to take place in Dearborn, MI, announces open registration

DEARBORN, MI – Merit Network Inc., in collaboration with Arbor Networks, will host the 47th meeting of the North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG) from October 18th-21st. NANOG47 marks the sixth occasion the operational forum will take place in Michigan and the second meeting of its kind held in Dearborn, the Detroit suburb and home to Ford Motor Company.

This coming fall provides an opportunity for Merit Network and NANOG to celebrate their history together and give back to the greater Michigan community that each organization proudly calls home.

“Bringing this talented group back to Michigan highlights the important role Michigan scientists and engineers played in the development of networking and the Internet,” said Don Welch, Merit Network’s President and CEO. “This is particularly important in light of Michigan’s effort to transform itself into a more knowledge-based economy.”

“Michigan means more to NANOG than simply a place of origin,” said Betty Burke, NANOG’s Community Leadership Manager. “The State has made significant contributions over the years to ensure our success. Whether assisting Merit Network to secure funding for the NSFNET projects that NANOG grew from, or providing facilities support for our early meetings, Michigan deserves credit where credit is due.”

Perhaps more than just credit, the decision to choose Dearborn as the host city for NANOG47 will bring more than 450 business travelers to the economically troubled region. According to estimations based on past conferences, 15% of these will arrive from international departures. “The boon to local businesses cannot be understated at a time like this,” Burke went on to say. “In addition, a meeting in Michigan ensures that it will be possible for a greater portion of Merit’s Members to attend.”

NANOG conducts meetings three times annually, inviting researchers and network operators from all over North America and the rest of the world to participate. Meeting sites are usually determined by the location of NANOG hosts—organizations that work closely with Merit to provide on-site network connectivity and lend staff to ensure the meeting goes on without a technical glitch.

Arbor Networks, co-host of NANOG47, has research and development facilities based in Ann Arbor, Michigan—a 30 minute drive from Dearborn. “Arbor Networks is proud to help bring NANOG and hundreds of the best and brightest global Internet engineers back to Michigan”, said Arbor Networks’ Chief Scientist Craig Labovitz. “We welcome the opportunity to showcase the high technology and world-class Internet research and innovation happening in the state.”

Merit and the NANOG Steering Committee attempt to alternate meeting sites between the east and west coast each year, as well as provide a third meeting in a central region so as to accommodate travel with hope that meetings are relatively close to participants’ home cities on occasion. Consistently moving host city locations goes a long way to foster the growth of the NANOG community across North America as well. The meeting this fall in Michigan is in continuation of a tradition of giving back to individual communities everywhere. With support from the host organization, Merit builds a fiber-optic bridge to the host network or—more often than not—constructs a 30 Mbps complete network at each conference venue for meetings. This practice of building network infrastructure has proven to be a significant benefit to local communities.

When the NANOG conference is through, the components of the recently constructed network remain, including the backbone, fiber and bridge. Merit engineers give a crash course on network management to venue staff before leaving. Left behind are the raw materials, know-how and contacts necessary to operate a comprehensive network that extends beyond the venue and into the community.

For example, the Albuquerque, New Mexico area was lagging in high-capacity connectivity before it signed on to allow One Connect IP to host NANOG41 in October of 2007. Just two short years later, utilizing resources constructed to facilitate the conference, high-capacity bandwidth is flourishing in the region.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Terremark hosted NANOG45 in January of 2009. Since then, the number of ISP(s) has seen significant growth—increasing competition, lowering service fees and making a positive contribution to the overall economy.

Of course, that is not to downplay the tremendous contributions NANOG makes to the network operating community.

“NANOG is an organization that no one ever hears about, but everybody depends on,” Welch said. “The Internet doesn’t just run—lots of smart people work very hard to make it run. NANOG is the vehicle for these people to share knowledge, solve problems and build relationships.”

Participants attend meetings to network and engage with some of the world’s leading experts in the field of network operations, share best practices and discuss current issues pertaining to global Internet operations through presentations, panel discussions, debates and collegial conversations, working towards pioneering solutions to the challenges faced by many Internet network operations teams. Past topics covered at meetings have included the cable-break in the Pacific Ocean and Facebook maintenance in Tehran. On the docket for this coming fall is the impending transition from IPv4 to IPv6 and the Internet’s changing standards. For IPv6 to function, organizations must have operational systems and routing gear in place, and during the transitional phase it seems that one would need to run both IPv4 and IPv6. How will you make this happen? Or is the switch really necessary?

NANOG is a unique organization that consistently sets the standard for others like it. It is not like other Operators Groups and Regional Internet Registries that derive funding from registry fees and membership dues. NANOG operates solely on conference registration fees, donations from vendors and sponsorships.

At a typical meeting, participants include senior engineering staff from tier 1 and tier 2 ISP(s). Researchers from the academic and private sectors present summaries of their work for operator feedback, and vendors present business object frameworks (BOFs). NANOG meetings are in-depth technological discussions, not opportunities for marketing. This makes them excellent opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in related fields.

Don’t miss your chance to sign up!

Register today:

About NANOG:

Merit Network’s leading role in the National Science Foundation NSFNET project—the pre-cursor to today’s commercial Internet—provided the impetus for NSFNET “Regional Techs” meetings in which the technical staff from burgeoning regional TCP/IP networks came together to discuss operational issues of common concern and receive guidance from the Merit engineering staff. The group eventually revised its working charter to include a broad base of network service providers, calling itself the North American Network Operators Group or NANOG. Today, NANOG provides a community for network professionals through the facilitation of in-person meetings, an online discussion forum and an extensive archive with over 35 years of networking history. For more information:

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities, 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 solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations. For more information:

About Arbor Networks:

Arbor Networks is a leading provider of secure service control solutions for global networks. Its customers include over 70 percent of the world’s ISPs and many large enterprises. Arbor solutions deliver best-in-class network security and visibility, along with the power to improve profitability by deploying differentiated, revenue-generating secure services. By employing flow-based and deep packet inspection (DPI) technologies, Arbor solutions measure and protect the entire network – from the service provider core to the broadband edge. For more information: