REMC Thumb Education Network (REMCTEN)
REMC 10's Wide Area Network (WAN) connects the 23 local schools, 3 rural schools and 3 ISD's that REMC 10 serves and also provides multiple paths out of the Thumb to surrounding counties. It also includes multiple fiber based connections to multiple Internet Service Providers and will have multiple connections to the Michigan State Education Network (MiSEN) in the coming months.
The majority of the network is provided through a long term Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) with Air Advantage, LLC of Frankenmuth. Air Advantage built the network using a combination of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) "stimulus" funds and private funds provided by the company. REMC 10 districts also contributed a cash match toward the up front cost and pays an annual maintenance fee to help support the network. Air Advantage offers a combination of fiber and wireless based solutions to connect residential and business customers. This network would not be possible without the significant and ongoing contributions made by Air Advantage throughout the entire process. Air Advantage has been a tremendous and generous partner and we greatly appreciate all that they have done and continue to do!
The real power of the network is the cooperative purchasing and sharing of resources that it allows among the connected districts. Districts on the network can be providers of services, consumers of services or both. Examples of some of the shared services include:
- High End Firewall, Web Filtering, UTM Appliance - shared by over 21 school districts
- High speed shared Internet Services, currently 1.5 Gbps - shared by 22 school districts
- Data Center services featuring a high end blade server system, primary and replica SAN's and backup spread across 3 facilities physically separated by approximately 50 miles each. - Shared by 19 school districts
- VOIP Phone systems, currently 2 districts are providers of VOIP telephony solutions on the network sharing their systems with 7 other districts.
- Wireless controllers allow the management of WiFi access points. A controller allows a wireless infrastructure to act as one seamless network, providing multiple secure and guest networks, bandwidth throttling and device roaming. There are at least 3 shared wireless controllers currently in use across the WAN managing hundreds of wireless access points.
These and many more services are available ala carte through REMC 10 and many of the member districts on the network. Districts are welcome to partner with one or more others on any services they desire. REMC 10 will facilitate any needed connectivity on the WAN.
REMC 10 owns and operates its own network electronics, which includes an all Cisco infrastructure connecting all sites at 10Gb. The heart of the network is protected by a ring design which allows for optimal up-time even if a fiber cut occurs. Sites on the ring are each protected by redundant power supplies, UPS battery backup, natural gas powered automated generators and dedicated air conditioning. Technical support is available for WAN services 24x7x365.
Click below to read the original REMC 10 press release announcing the ARRA award to Air Advantage in 2010.