On Thursday, April 27, the Merit Network community began utilizing the new fiber connection between the Lansing POP and the Jackson POPs located at Jackson Community College and Jackson County ISD (JCISD). Using one gigabits-per-second optics Merit Network lit the fiber connection and began moving traffic to the new link, which serves Merit’s Marshall POP at the Calhoun Intermediate School District. The new connection deployed more than 30 miles of fiber optic cabling to central lower Michigan.
Merit believes that control of its infrastructure is critical to the future of research and education networks. In many other states, efforts are underway to create statewide or even regional optical networks. Michigan risks falling behind its neighboring states without such an effort. Merit is working to acquire fiber optic cable in many parts of the state. The corridor between Detroit and Chicago in two paths, one through East Lansing in the north and the other through Ann Arbor in the south has been acquired by Merit’s founding institutions: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. Merit is an operational partner in the network operating on this fiber. Augmenting this, Merit has or is working to acquire and/or build fiber in the middle and southern part of the lower peninsula. This plan has been referred to as the “Blue Line” and consists of some 17 fiber segments of which 6 (35%) are currently operational (please see map). The remaining segments depend on last mile construction issues and longer builds that will push out full completion of this project likely into next year. Merit is also working on a plan to acquire fiber in the northern part of the lower peninsula and in the upper peninsula.
Progress of Mid-Michigan Section of Michigan High-Performance Research and Education Backbone Network.