networksCampus Backbone

The University of Michigan Network (UMnet) has a backbone of multiple 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) links between campuses and provides multiple 1GbE or 10GbE links to buildings.

Recruiting for Advanced Networking Needs?

If you are a current Michigan researcher, Dean, or Academic Leader and have advanced networking needs to support recruitment, contact our Director of Networks, Eric Boyd, or our Director of Advanced Research Computing, Brock Palen. ITS and Unit IT will work together to create an IT environment that works for researchers.

Science DMZ

U-M employs a Science DMZ (demilitarized zone) designed to optimize network performance for research applications by removing obstacles that traditional networks place on data transfer and other functions. The U-M Science DMZ is based on a design from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). See ESnet’s Science DMZ page for more information.

Visit the U-M Science DMZ page for more details on the U-M system.

For consultation on whether the DMZ would be useful for your research, and how to connect, contact

External Connectivity

UMnet has two 10GbE connections to the Merit Network, the state’s network, for commodity or general Internet traffic. Merit has multiple 10GE connections to Chicago and Cleveland, with multiple 10GE peerings with other research networks such as Internet2, ESnet and OmniPOP.

Michigan Lambda Rail (MiLR) (pronounced “MY-lar”) is a very high-speed, special purpose, data network built jointly by the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University, and operated by Merit. MiLR provides campus researchers low-cost, 10GE connections between the three university campuses and to national and international research and education (R&E) connection points. It provides the University a 100Gb connection to Internet2 in Chicago.

Both Merit and MiLR have Points Of Presence (POP) where R&E networks interconnect and exchange traffic at:

  • Northwestern University (commonly called “Starlight”), and
  • in Chicago, where the Internet2 and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) POPs are located at 600 W. Chicago.

Research Networks

In addition to general purpose connections, U-M researchers have four 10GEs from U-M’s Ann Arbor campus to Chicago over MiLR that are used for research-specific traffic. They are currently used for large data set transfers for LHC Atlas Tier2 project and uncompressed high definition video collaboration for the School of Information. The MiLR equipment will support 40 and 100 GbE connections. This technology provides great potential for additional connections that will position the university for future CI opportunities.

MiLR also provides Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) services, allowing multiple light frequencies to share a single fiber between the three member universities (U-M, MSU, and Wayne State) and Chicago, where interconnections with other R&E and government networks are available. Such networks include:

For a detailed list visit StarLight Networks

For additional information about network resources at U-M, contact the ITS Communication Network Architects Group at