University of Maine System selects Ciena for regional backbone network

Ciena Corp. has announced that the University of Maine System (UMS) has deployed its CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform Family in one of the largest networks ever built by an educational institution in northern New England, spanning nearly 300 miles from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Cambridge, Mass.

JANUARY 21, 2010 -- Ciena Corp. has announced that the University of Maine System (UMS) has deployed its CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform Family in one of the largest networks ever built by an educational institution in northern New England, spanning nearly 300 miles from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Cambridge, Mass.

The network was deployed and is managed by UMS to provide a direct connection to Internet2 for northern New England. It also delivers reliable, high-bandwidth connectivity services for its own campuses, the State of Maine government, K-12 schools, libraries, other colleges and universities, and research institutions throughout Maine and in parts of New Hampshire.

With an annual enrollment of approximately 42,000 students, UMS features seven universities—some with multiple campuses—located across the state, as well as nine University College outreach centers, a law school, and an additional 75 interactive distance learning sites.

Planning for the network began two years ago when UMS and The Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit biomedical research organization, realized that the network services offered in their region did not provide sufficient bandwidth for their research and education needs, and that backhauling traffic from the closest Internet2 location in Cambridge was prohibitively expensive, according to a representative. The Maine Research and Education Network collaborative, of which UMS is a key player, decided to build an end-to-end network from Bangor to Cambridge that was financed in collaboration with The Jackson Laboratory and the State of Maine and also required creative fiber leasing and exchange agreements with various service providers.

“Aside from giving us direct control over our high-performance computing needs, this network directly supports two key UMS goals--providing high-quality, accessible and affordable learning opportunities, and sharing creativity, innovation and outreach to improve Maine’s economy and quality of life,” says Jeff Letourneau, associate director of communications and network services, at the University of Maine System. “To meet these goals, we faced a number of network design and budget challenges so Ciena worked in close collaboration with us to build a network cost-effectively that still provided the granular and dynamic bandwidth control we needed beyond the basic 10G wavelengths other vendors were proposing.”

Unlike capital-intensive competitive solutions that required a ROADM at every node of the network, Ciena’s CN 4200 family provided UMS multiple chassis sizes and technology options, including remotely-programmable ports that support Ethernet, SONET, storage and digital video services, Layer 2 Ethernet aggregation and switching modules, a true multi-degree ROADM and the ability to automatically adjust optical power levels . This flexible set of technology enabled UMS to customize its network to its needs resulting in a service-enabling infrastructure tuned for on-demand bandwidth provisioning and dynamic wavelength routing to address the needs of a variety of users.

“This network serves as a blueprint for cooperation between public and private organizations to bring broadband services to more rural and underserved areas to impact all aspects of life, from education to government,” said Mike Aquino, senior vice president of global field operations at Ciena. “Key to the success of the network is the CN 4200’s unique ability to deliver a variety of services at speeds from 10 Mbps up to 10G with service extensions to 40G and 100G so it can address the transport and switching needs of a range of users while maximizing the utilization of the network.”

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