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Merit Network, ADVA Optical Networking empower education and research community


Superior network infrastructure encourages collaboration, enables advancements from medical imaging to radio astronomy

For several years, academic researchers at Michigan’s public universities and their colleagues around the globe have used high-speed networking to exchange research data and supplement their investigative activities. As high-energy physicists continue to experiment with the Large Hadron Collider Project and geneticists conduct advanced bioinformatics, the amount of data produced and transmitted by researchers has grown exponentially. Fortunately, Merit Network, deploying ADVA Optical Networking solutions, is continually adapting to meet the changing needs of higher education and the research community.

Merit’s 10G core network was recently upgraded to operate ADVA Optical Networking’s FSP 3000 platform, significantly improving the capabilities of the 770-mile fiber-optic ring that stretches from Detroit to Chicago with connections in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Lansing. The new ADVA Optical Networking technology enables Merit to configure multiple high-speed connections, each carrying 10Gbit/s worth of data on a wavelength, using only a single pair of fiber.

The efficiency of Merit’s optical network has been significantly improved with the
deployment of Raman amplifiers on the network, which has reduced the number of amplification sites that Merit needs to span the state and saved the non-profit organization and its members thousands of dollars in installation and service costs.

Merit’s fiber-optic network and ADVA Optical Networking’s technology together enable a dynamic collaborative environment where science, medicine, research and education are no longer constrained by distance or limited bandwidth. Whether a university professor sends volumes of data to a colleague at a satellite campus or a physician transmits real-time, high-definition medical images to a distant hospital, a fast and reliable broadband connection is essential.

Scientists at public universities in Michigan are utilizing Merit’s high-speed network for global research projects.

For example, physicists at the University of Michigan are currently using Merit’s high-speed, high-capacity network as part of their work on the ATLAS Experiment, which conducts trials on the world’s largest particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider, located near Geneva, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, University of Michigan astronomers are using their Merit connection to coordinate information from giant radio telescopes around the world. By collecting and analyzing data from multiple locations, they are learning more about black holes and other space phenomena than ever thought possible.

“These are just a few examples of the remarkable achievements that are enabled by Merit’s optical network every day,” said Brian Protiva, chief executive officer of ADVA Optical Networking. “We’re proud to play a role in supporting this important work by supplying the dependable and affordable networking tools the research and education community needs to stay connected and keep collaborating.”

“Merit is committed to advancing the research capabilities of our University Members,” said Don Welch, President and CEO of Merit Network. “ADVA Optical Networking technology maximizes capacity over fiber, allowing our members to move huge data sets without impacting our packet switched network. That translates to better performance for lower costs. As we continue to facilitate high-end research applications that span the globe, ADVA Optical Networking offers us the technology to provide our members the performance they need.”

In addition, Merit Network provides advanced connectivity for Michigan’s research and education community to the Internet2 Network. Internet2 is a consortium of universities, corporations, government agencies, laboratories and other institutions of higher learning that operates a nationwide next-generation network in support of research and education. ADVA Optical Networking is a corporate member of Internet2.


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