The Quilt, a consortium of regional Research and Education (R&E) Networks throughout the United States, hosted its annual Fall Member Meeting virtually on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. More than 100 registered attendees and stakeholders gathered online for two days to collectively advance networking for research and education throughout the United States.
The program included several plenary and breakout sessions particularly relevant to the R&E networking community.
R&E partnerships with state leaders to facilitate internet access solutions for unserved and underserved communities topped the list of hot topics and “aha moments” from this year’s meeting.
The meeting opened with a “Fireside Chat” with CENIC’s Louis Fox outlining California’s new statewide middle-mile broadband initiative. The Fireside Chat led into a panel discussion moderated by Louis and included panelists from the Ohio, Oregon, and Nevada R&E networks as well as included the R&E state broadband leader partners from the State of Ohio’s broadband office called BroadbandOhio as well as a state representative from Oregon who is a champion of affordable broadband access in the state. The panel discussion focused on the important role of R&E networks in state broadband strategies.
Another presentation by Sun Corridor Network (SCN) and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) focused on the collaborative efforts between the two organizations with the goal of delivering affordable broadband access to the unserved and underserved in the stae. Derek Masseth with Sun Corridor noted that it has been a great partnership, and SCN very much appreciates ADOT’s willingness to partner!
Additional comments shared in the virtual chat during the presentation included …This year attendees also took deep dives into areas such as disaster recovery, network facilities management, mapping, and cybersecurity. MCNC Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer Chris Beal talked on the emergence of new R&E cybersecurity solutions to help protect community anchor institutions as well as the North Carolina organization’s new managed services cybersecurity practice called Vital Cyber.“No one is safe from hackers today. There have been far too many headlines recently involving phishing or ransomware attacks affecting big companies and industries. But what you don’t hear much about is how cyber criminals hit our schools, our hospitals, our libraries, and other community anchor institutions,” explained Beal. “These important pillars in our local towns need more protections from today’s growing cyber threats. That why Vital Cyber was created to develop and activate a full suite of managed security services to protect North Carolina’s critical cyber infrastructure; marrying a proven and tested combination of tools, services, and consulting without any extra hardware or staff.”
Additional sessions focused on budget planning, cloud, business continuity, fiber IRU renewals and inter-exchange points, observations from the most-recent NSF CC* PI Workshop, and much more.
The two-day event closed out with a fascinating presentation from Eli Dart, Lauren Rotman, and Jason Zurawski on ESnet’s High Energy Physics requirements and R&E network preparedness for next Large Hadron Collider (LHC) run.
“Identifying new opportunities for Quilt members to leverage one another’s resources and expertise is the hallmark of Quilt events,” said Jen Leasure, President and CEO of The Quilt. “Although we all would like to get together in person, the level of conversation even virtually is of such a great benefit to all of our members as well as our collective mission.”
The Quilt is the national coalition of non-profit U.S. regional research and education networks representing 40 networks across the country. Members of The Quilt provide advanced network services and applications to over 900 universities and tens of thousands of other educational and community anchor institutions. Together, we promote consistent, reliable, inter-operable and efficient advanced networking services that extend to the broadest possible community and represent common interests in the development and delivery of advanced cyberinfrastructure that enables innovation through our education and research mission.
The next member meeting for The Quilt is scheduled for early February 2021.