Fairleigh Dickinson University Upgrades Connection to the Edge Optical Fiber Network February 22, 2022

Newark, NJ, February 22, 2022 – A longtime Edge member, Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), recently upgraded their connection to the Edge optical fiber network, EdgeNet, from 2x 10 Gbps to 2x 100 Gbps—making them the first institution in New Jersey to connect to EdgeNet at this advanced speed.

With a greater number of students looking to connect multiple devices and video streaming and gaming systems to the network, FDU set out to refresh their technology and create a proactive strategy that would help address future needs. “We wanted to enable our students and staff to use technology, collaborate with other universities, and utilize other external services at higher data rates,” explains Michael Reekie, Director of Networking, FDU. “We also wished to alleviate any of the bottlenecks in our current environment that could potentially slow down the user experience. Along with updating our core, we also upgraded our wireless and Internet edge to meet the upcoming demands of the new wireless capabilities.”

FDU explored different solutions to help manage traffic, including traffic shapers that are installed at the Internet edge. However, as bandwidth increases, the cost and maintenance of these devices can be expensive. “We found that increasing our bandwidth and installing faster Internet edge routers and firewalls would be a more cost-effective investment and could provide a better user experience for our students and faculty,” says Reekie. “Making the jump from 2x 10 Gbps to 2x 100 Gbps will help us meet our bandwidth requirements over the next several years and with Edge as an existing partner, it was a very easy transition to upgrade our existing connections, while still allowing a highly available networking experience. Edge was able to provide bandwidth to us at a better cost and value than installing technologies that would shape the use of Internet traffic.” [Read the full press release at Edge | News]

The Quilt and Internet2 submit comments to NTIA on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act February 16, 2022

A key step in beginning to shape the broadband programs that will result from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is creating the rules that the federal government will use to provide guidance to state grant programs, as well as rules to administer the smaller federal competitive grant programs.

On Jan. 10, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a request for comments on the agency’s implementation of certain broadband provisions in the IIJA. In response, The Quilt and Internet2 submitted comments last week on behalf of the U.S. research and education networking community. NTIA announced on Feb. 14 that a total of 557 written comments were received.

The key topic areas addressed in the filing include:

  • Bringing reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband to all Americans
  • Supporting states, territories, and sub-grantees to achieve the goal
  • Ensuring all eligible entities, including R&E networks, are considered in state grant programs
  • Including educational stakeholders and interests in formulation of local broadband plans
  • Establishing clear rules to enable open access to federally funded network facilities
  • Establishing strong collaborative partnerships between state, local, and tribal governments
  • Considering Digital Equity for higher education and unique needs of all educational institutions and community anchor institutions
  • Setting appropriate standards for applicants to the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure (MMBI) grant program

Read NTIA’s request for comments.

Download a copy of The Quilt and Internet2’s filing to learn more.

Quello Center and Community Partners Recognized with 2022 MSU Distinguished Partnership Award February 02, 2022

Johannes M. Bauer, Keith Hampton, and community partners will be recognized by Michigan State University on February 24 with the 2022 Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Service for their efforts to increase understanding of the cost of digital inequalities to rural students, and to help overcome discrepancies in access to high-speed internet connectivity.

Merit Network, Inc. (Joe Sawasky, Charlotte Bewersdorff), Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (Jason F. Kronemeyer), Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School District (Fred Sharpsteen), St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (Kevin D. Miller, Brenda Tenniswood), Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force (Ben Fineman), and the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (K. John Egelhaaf) are the community partners in this project.

“This collaboration began in 2017 as an effort to help overcome discrepancies in access to high-speed Internet connectivity. By 2017, an estimated 27% of Michigan households with school-aged children, many of them located in rural parts of the state, did not have access to broadband connectivity. With our partners, this project put the knowledge and expertise of university faculty and students to work to address real world problems faced by local communities,” Hampton, professor in the Department of Media and Information, said.

The project led by Bauer and Hampton looked to understand the importance of broadband internet access to rural communities, measure the disparities between those rural and urban communities, and to provide a methodology for those communities to close that gap in access. Its success critically depended on collaboration with and support by several community partners. Merit Network, Inc., a regional education network, was instrumental throughout the entire collaboration, as were Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD, Mecosta Osceola ISD, and St. Clair County Regional Educational Service during the initial pilot project. [Read the full announcement on the Quello Center | Blog]