Merit Network, Inc. announced today that it has connected the University of Michigan Biological Station at Douglas Lake (UMBS) as part of its REACH-3MC network build out project.  UMBS now has a 1 Gigabit fiber-optic connection to Merit’s backbone and a direct connection to the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor via Merit fiber.

“We are incredibly excited to announce that the University of Michigan Biological Station has been successfully connected and lit as part of REACH-3MC. Merit has been working with the University of Michigan for a long to improve networking resources for the Biological Station. The fact that the University of Michigan is a Governing Member of Merit Network makes this announcement extra special. It demonstrates the strength of a Member-based organization like Merit Network as well as the value of a project like REACH-3MC,” said Merit President and CEO, Don Welch.  

“The University of Michigan is proud of the progress Merit has achieved in advancing their research and education backbone throughout the state and we look forward to future success to follow. Without Merit’s efforts, the University could not have afforded to connect the Biological Station alone. We are grateful for our partnership with Merit Network and all that we have achieved together,” said Laura Patterson, associate vice president and CIO, University of Michigan.  

The Biological Station has been connected to Merit’s network via limited circuits since the 1990s.  The Station's Merit connection began with dial-up service and then moved to dedicated telecommunications circuits, which still limited capacity and speed.  The additional fiber capacity announced last week will allow for an expansion in research activity and personnel.

“We are very pleased that the new fiber is now connected,” said Knute Nadelhoffer, director, University of Michigan Biological Station.  “We are ecstatic with the increase in service and connectivity. This increases our capacity and enhances the impacts of our research and training activities.”

The connection to Merit Network via REACH-3MC has already led to an increase in productivity for students and faculty alike.  “You can't imagine how luxurious it feels to be able to download PDFs in under five minutes. Or—as happened last week—go from it taking eight-plus hours to download a work-related video file, to it taking three minutes. It feels like we’ve gone from slogging through mud to driving a sports car!” said Alicia Farmer, communications coordinator, University of Michigan Biological Station.

Merit Network plans to connect over 100 community anchor institutions like the University of Michigan Biological Station as part of their REACH-3MC project. The 2,287 mile infrastructure project also features the participation of seven commercial Sub-recipients who will offer service to homes, businesses and backhaul to local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in communities along the route that encompasses both Michigan Peninsulas and parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota.