ANN ARBOR — Merit Network Inc. announced Wednesday the selection of Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems Inc. as Ethernet routing and switching hardware vendors for Merit’s REACH-3MC broadband stimulus project.

Juniper will supply routing and switching equipment for both funding rounds. Cisco will supply Customer Premise Equipment for Merit’s community anchor institution connections as part of both funding rounds.

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Said Michael Milliken, director of network engineering for Merit: “Merit will use Juniper Networks technology to power the REACH-3MC backbone that will provide both backhaul infrastructure in underserved areas, and redundant paths out of the state that will improve service for the entire region. The equipment will support the knowledge infrastructure upon which Michigan will compete and grow in the 21st century.”

CentraComm, a value added reseller based in Findlay, Ohio, has been awarded the REACH-3MC contract and will supply the Juniper hardware.

As for Cisco, Milliken said, “Merit will use technology provided by Cisco to connect over 100 community anchor institutions to our backbone network, which will enable them to lower costs, consolidate resources and provide more to Michigan’s citizens.”

Sentinel Technologies, a value added reseller with offices in Ann Arbor, has been awarded the REACH-3MC contract and will supply the Cisco hardware.

“Juniper Network’s innovations result in secure, scalable, and transparent networks that provide seamless connectivity and increase operational efficiency,” said Mark Robinson, president of CentraComm. “CentraComm’s legacy of success with Juniper in the education and government sectors will support Merit’s mission to connect Michigan’s universities, K12 schools, libraries, community colleges, health care providers, state and local government, and public safety entities to their high-performance, regional network.”

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Both Juniper and Cisco Systems were selected from a number of qualified applicants who responded to a Request for Proposal.

The Merit evaluation team made their selection based on the following criteria: flexibility of proposed solution, company profile, understanding scope of work, cost, technical requirements and warranty.

Merit Network Inc., a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities, owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. REACH-3MC will connect 105 community anchor institutions as the network is built and will pass 900 more over time. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the federal stimulus.

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