The Quilt Circle: Missouri Research and Education Network Celebrates Twenty-Five Years

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This year's edition of The Quilt Circle noted that we celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2016! The text of the article appears below. See the full 2016 Quilt Circle.

In 1991, Missouri’s four-year public colleges expressed the desire to connect to the NSFnet, a precursor to today’s Internet. The result was the creation of one of the first statewide higher education networks in the country, the Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet). Operating as a separate business unit within the University of Missouri System, MOREnet began with 13 public college and university charter members with the primary purpose of developing, maintaining and cultivating applications for electronic interchange in support of the educational research and service missions of our members.

Over the next 10 years, growth was rapid. Collaborations with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of the Secretary of State, State Library and the Missouri Department of Higher Education led MOREnet to begin delivering secure, reliable and robust Internet connectivity to a wide variety of member organizations in academia and the public sector.

By 2002, 509 Missouri public school districts, 64 higher education institutions, 125 tax-supported public libraries and state government had joined the MOREnet consortium. Over the past 25 years, MOREnet evolved from an Internet service provider to an education service provider, deploying and supporting the technology resources members and their end-users need to be successful. Our revised mission is to promote information exchange and activities that support a broader cooperation among our members. MOREnet now proudly fulfills the role of convener for all member institutions and contacts.

As the consortium has held steady, MOREnet has witnessed individual member connections expand from a mere 56Kbps connection to 10 Gbps for some of its higher education members. Many K-12 members have exceeded 1Gbps. In 2014, MOREnet became an early adopter of the research and education networks to support up to 100 Gbps. In September 2016, total aggregate member connection capacity exceed 100Gb.

Today, MOREnet is proud to be a member-driven consortium connecting Missouri's K-12 schools, colleges and universities, public libraries, health care providers, state and local government offices and other affiliated organizations to better Internet service, essential technical services and peer-to-peer resources. They strive to deliver relevant and reliable solutions through innovative technologies, accessible staff and a deep understanding of their members’ technology needs.

MOREnet is humbled by its community of members and as they kicked-off their silver anniversary, it seemed only appropriate to engage directly with those that have continued to support the consortium through the years. Team members pledged to visit each member location to offer a heart-felt thank you while discussing goals, technology concerns and service needs. We are proud to share that we visited with more than700 members during our year-long celebration. Most visits capped off with selfies that were shared on social media via the MOREnet Flicker site.

Here’s to another 25 years!