An Overview of MDREN

By Dr. Guy Jones

MDREN, the Maryland Research and Education Network, provides advanced network services to education, research, and public service institutions throughout the State of Maryland and connections to regional and national resources. The organization’s charter was signed in March of 2011 and its initial open meeting was held on March 11th of that year. MDREN supersedes UMATS – The University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System – with an expanded mission and scope of membership. UMATS, under the guidance of the University System of Maryland Telecommunications Council (USMTC) since 1993, was established to oversee the telecommunications connective infrastructure of the USM family of institutions. MDREN inherits the data network and facilities from UMATS and will offer expanded services to the entire Maryland educational and research community.

MDREN consists of a state data network and a growing list of services that provide the Maryland education, research, and public service community access to cutting edge services at an affordable price. MDREN leverages partnership opportunities to provide services that would be unaffordable otherwise. This network of services connects the many segments involved in Maryland education to include the University System of Maryland members, other Maryland public and private state universities, community colleges, and K12 LEA institutions into a community of shared interests and projects. MDREN provides its members connections to the Internet and the national research network Internet2, as well as access to teleconferencing and distance learning facilities, over facilities ranging from 1.5Mbps to 10 Gigabit Ethernet using MDREN’s own fiber core infrastructure.

Governance of MDREN is through its Board. The MDREN Board is composed of a representative from each of the USM institutions and representatives from each of the educational segments. The Board normally meets quarterly and provides oversight and direction.

MDREN is co-located with other USM organizations at the Elkins Building located at 3300 Metzerott Road, Adelphi, Maryland although it has presence and equipment located at almost a dozen sites across the state. As new services are added there will be an increasing number of partnership sites across the state.