August 30, 2004 Broomfield, CO Dark fiber services from Level 3 Communications are helping Michigan's three largest public universities--Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University--create a high-performance network to support advanced collaborative research that requires the ability to reliably share massive quantities of data at very high speeds.
Level 3's (3)Link Intercity Dark Fiber and (3)Link Metro Dark Fiber services in the Chicago and Detroit areas are being provided to the three universities under a multi-year, million-dollar-plus IRU contract with the National Research and Education Fiber Company (FiberCo). The new dark fiber agreement with FiberCo will allow the Michigan universities' network to connect to other important national and international networking hubs to enable high-performance collaborative research.
"We are pleased that Level 3 is demonstrating a commitment to the academic and research communities in this important network initiative," said Scott Gerstenberger, external networking manager for the University of Michigan. "Specifically, we chose Level 3's dark fiber services for this major university research network because of the company's network footprint, competitive pricing, and flexibility and expertise in designing and building off-net laterals where needed to connect to university facilities."
The new research network, called the Michigan LambdaRail (MiLR), is slated for operation by January 2005. MiLR initially is expected to allow researchers to transfer data up to 100 times faster than today's commonly used Internet connections. MiLR's speed and reliability are aimed to support advanced research network applications, for example, enabling doctors to perform virtual surgery at remote locations and enabling physicists to share unusually large amounts of data with colleagues internationally.
"We're pleased that FiberCo and these prestigious universities have chosen Level 3's dark fiber to help support the vital work of the new MiLR research network," said Kenneth Bond, vice president of Dark Fiber Services for Level 3. "Level 3 recognizes the crucial role of the academic and research communities in solving the world's difficult scientific and technological problems. We employ a dedicated team that works exclusively with these communities to develop solutions that support and enable highly demanding collaborative research."
Level 3's dark fiber is providing the broadband transport for MiLR, while the three universities will light the fiber-optic pairs using DWDM-based technologies. This technology enables a capacity of 200 channels (wavelengths) per fiber pair, with each wavelength capable of supporting data transmission at 10 Gbits/sec.
Level 3's (3)Link Dark Fiber provides the academic and research communities with the infrastructure and services required to operate and maintain an advanced fiber-optic network that will serve highly specialized, bandwidth-intensive needs now and into the future. (3)Link Dark Fiber services include optical fiber cable, fiber-based network extensions, colocation and running line facility space, power, and operation and maintenance of the network.
Level 3's intercity dark fiber services feature approximately 16,000 intercity route miles in the United States connecting more than 150 cities, and an approximately 3,600-mile pan-European network. Level 3's network employs high fiber counts, the latest generation of optical fiber, and carrier-neutral colocation facilities.
FiberCo was established by Internet2 to purchase and distribute fiber-optic assets to regional advanced networking organizations and research universities throughout the United States.
Internet2 is a consortium led by 206 universities, working in partnership with industry and government, to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Level 3 provides dark fiber services to Internet2 under a previous agreement.