MCNC – North Carolina Research and Education Network Infrastructure Position

NC State has chosen to connect to the Commodity Internet, the National Lamda Rail (NLR), Internet 2 (I2), Research and Education (R&E) Networks, and Peer Institutions through the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) infrastructure. At this time, no design or operational issues have been identified that dictate otherwise. However, it should be noted that this decision in no way hinders NC State’s ability to take a different approach should condition warrant it at a future time.

NC State feels that they have positioned themselves appropriately and permission for Intra-NCREN collaboration with other NCREN affiliated institutions by connecting to MCNC (the organization responsible for operating NCREN) managed Layer 2 (L2) and/or Layer 3 (L3) devices at NCREN RPoP (Regional Points of Presence). Another advantage of taking this approach is that should include a national network that NCREN shares demarc with cease its operations, move its demarc device to a different PoP, move the PoP itself, or should the NCREN community choose to end their relationship with the national network altogether, MCNC can effect change quickly and efficiently on behalf of the NCREN community.

NC State, whenever possible, adheres to the design philosophy of using a Regional Optical Network (RON), which in its case is NCREN, to connect to other regional organizations and institutions. Generally, national networks encourage this behavior while discouraging using their infrastructure to complete connections between institutions that could otherwise leverage the services of their RON. For example, NLR executives have currently (at the time this document was drafted) proposed that a fee be charged to customers who wish to use their national infrastructure to complete local connections for L2 and L3 peering.

In addition, NC State benefits from its relationship with NCREN. They perform functions that help the entire NCREN community, such as peering with other private and public local, regional, and national networks. These numerous and extensive relationships between NCREN and its peers allow it to offer many aggregated and diverse routes to its customers, such as NC State, from a single Autonomous System (AS).

If at any time it is in NC State’s best interest to directly connect to another organization at L2 or L3, MCNC has offered to facilitate the establishment of those connections. This may take the form of MCNC reconfiguring the existing network infrastructure on NC State’s behalf or by MCNC taking no action. This approach allows NC State to collaborate freely and in the most appropriate manner while remaining a good Internet citizen.

Finally, NC State believes that due to the inherent economies of scale that MCNC enjoys, i.e., given the scale of NCREN, MCNC can deliver services to a broader audience more cost-effectively than any single institution or organization could do for themselves. Where this economy of scale can’t be realized due to the unique needs of a particular organization or institution, individual organizations such as NC State are free to pursue solutions that fulfill their design requirements and/or mission objectives.

For more information, please visit:

"NCREN" is on the top. NC map is displayed on the bottom. mcnc_logo