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What is a REN?

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
When I am asked about who OSHEAN is, the conversation often starts with a definition of a Research and Education Network (REN) and a companion discussion of Internet2. Internet2 was formed in 1996 by 34 universities who understood that the network and computing needs of research and education communities had to be handled by a non-profit consortium dedicated to their needs. This concept evolved over time, leading to the development of the nationwide 100Gbps backbone in place at Internet2 today and building the regional partner networks that OSHEAN is a member of today. There are 31 regionals like OSHEAN who participate in a national coalition called the Quilt. Take a look at the Quilt site and the work being done in the different states to get a sense of the community to which OSHEAN belongs.

This week I am attending the Quilt Winter Meetings in San Diego. Each of the regional RENs have slightly different models but all are non-profits built to serve what are referred to as Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs). CAIs are universities, K-12s, libraries, and healthcare government, and other non-profit institutions. Internet2 and the REN community represent the best of the best of those dedicated to the advancement of network and compute platforms for the research, education, and public service communities. This is part of a national agenda further buffeted by the recent completion of the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grants awarded to OSHEAN, Internet2 and many of the R&E members of the Quilt. This week we will be sharing best practices, developing new service models, and discussing our role in advocacy at the national level. The Quilt recently participated in a series of meetings with the FCC, who is currently engaged in the development of E-Rate 2.0—the technology funding model for the K-12 and Library communities. Just this past week, the FCC announced a platform to nearly double the amount of money available to schools and libraries to upgrade technology.

Tags:  broadband rhode island  E-Rate  FCC  Internet2  RENs  Research and education networks  The Quilt 

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