The Center has formed a partnership with Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN,, one of the most advanced high-performance digital networks in the country. The iCAIR facilities are directly connected to the MREN network. Designed in 1993, and operational in 1994, MREN's mission is to provide advanced networking for advanced applications. MREN was developed by a consortium of universities, national laboratories, and a major communications corporation, in part to develop concepts that would lead to the design and develop a next-generation Internet. Designed as an advanced network for advanced applications, MREN, became a model for next-generation internets. For example, MREN pioneered such concepts as "GigaPOP"s, regional aggregation points that provide a wide-range of value-added network benefits. MREN has been acknowledged as the world's first GigaPOP. Currently, the partnership includes over 30 major midwest research universities, three national laboratories (Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the National Computational Science Alliance, NCSA), three state networks, including MERIT and WiscNet, several national agency networks, including DREN and NREN, and many international networks. MREN allows for flexibility because it provides for AUP-free transit.


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