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Merit Board meeting

  • From: Jeff.Ogden
  • Date: Tue Jan 31 08:48:10 1995

The Merit Board met yesterday in Ann Arbor.
They did the usual stuff: approved minutes from previous
meetings, received and accepted the treasurer's report (we
aren't out of money yet and in fact we seem to be doing well :-),
received the updated and final financial report for fiscal year
93-94 that ended last June and got updated financial
information for the first half of FY94-95, and they reelected
the existing officers (chair, vice-chair, secretary and
treasurer) for another two year term. Paul Hunt from MSU
continues as Chair. Harley Behm from WMU is treasurer, but
Harley is retiring later this year and it is expected that
whoever replaces him on the Board will become treasurer since
WMU is Merit's fiscal agent and there are advantages to having
the treasurer be from the same organization as the fiscal
agent. They confirmed the membership classes of each member
university for the fiscal year that starts next July 1st.
Everyone stays the same except Central Michigan University
which is upgrading from Class III to Class II membership. The
membership classes are set at the January meeting and the
membership fees are set when the budget is approved at the June
meeting. The membership classes for next year will be:
   Class I: MSU, MTU, UofM, WSU and WMU
  Class II: CMU, EMU, and Oakland U
 Class III: GVSU, NMU, and SVSU
The Board agreed to have an outside audit of Merit's financial
accounts (Merit's accounts are kept by the University of Michgian
as Merit's host institution and by Western Michigan as Merit's
fiscal agent and in the past the audits done by those two universities
served Merit as well, but it was felt that as Merit gets bigger it
would be wise to have an independent audit, specific Merit accounts
have been audited in the past by NSF and we've always done well,
but the Board wants an aduiting firm to look at the entire picture
of accounts at the UofM and WMU just to be on the safe side).
The Board got an update from Doug Van Houweling on Advanced 
Network and Services and the sale of most of its assets to
America On-line (AOL). The report wasn't very different from what
has appeard in the press. The sale isn't final yet, there is 
paperwork that still has to be done or approved by the parts of
government that do that sort of thing and while people expect
the deal to go through the deal isn't done until it is done.
After the sale Advanced Network and Services will continue
to exist, Merit will continue to have a seat on the Advanced
Network and Services Board. The funds from the sale 
(a little over $30 million) will be used by Advanced Network and Services
to promote research and education networking. Advanced Network
and Services is and will remain a non-profit corporation and so
its owners and founders may not receive any profits from the sale.
The Board got an update on the Ameritech Rebate case and Merit's
award to expand Internet dial-in access statewide. Each member
school that is involved in these activities reported on local
work that is going on in the regional hubs with which they
are associated. Lots going on. Still a good bit of confusion about
exactly who will do what. Everyone has submitted workplans to the
Public Serivce Comission and final approval is expected in the
next few days (he said with fingers crossed).
Eric Aupperle reported on Merit's national activities. In 
particular the existing NSFNET that Merit manages will end
at the end of this coming April. Merit will continue as
Routing Arbiter (RA) for the new archiceture. Much progress
has been made in implementing the new architecture, but
there have been growing pains as well and there is still
a lot to be done between now and the end of April.
Jeff Ogden talked about MichNet. We have switched from
NSFNET/ANSNET to MCI's new national netowrk. We have
the NSFNET/ANSNET connection as a backup for 60 to 90
days. Some problems with the MCI network still exist.
These problems aren't local to MichNet, but have to do
with high traffic loads at some of the interconnection points
to other national networks. MCI working with cisco is putting
a lot of effort into solving the remaining problems. MCI has
made a lot of progress, but there is still more to be done.
The problems are partly the rsult of the fact that only one
of the three primary NAPs is working (the Sprint NAP in NY).
The other two ATM NAPs (the Ameritech NAP in Chicago and the
PacBell NAP in CA) aren't working yet. As a result 
the Sprint NAP and the secondary NAP (called MAE-East in
Washington, D.C.) are carrying more traffic than they would
if more NAPs were working. There are some other ad hoc
interconnetion points that are taking some of the load,
but until MCI and cisco resolve the problems or until more
interconnection points are working there will be some problems.
Lots of people are working hard on both areas.
The member universities reported on their efforts to replace
PCPs, SCPs and NIMs and also on their plans to implement the
new dial-in policy. No one asked for a change in the October 1995
date for phase out of the remaining PCPs, SCPs or NIMs, so that
date remains firm.  The UofM may continue to use PCPs and SCPs
after October, but if they do (and this isn't their first option),
they will take over all support for the hardware and software
and will use them only to support network access to MTS. The
Merit staff is a bit uneasy about this, but it is OK as long
as no support for the hardware or software comes from Merit.
All of the member universiies restated their comittment to 
the new dial-in polciy and everyone felt that they could be
ready to begin authentication for all dial-in sessions
starting in May with some escape method operating until
August. The Board firmed up the dates a bit. The Dial-in
Accesss Commitee will set a date in May that works well for
everyone.  August 1st is the date when strict enforcement
of the new policy will begin unless the Dial-in Access Committee
comes back to the Board with an alternate suggestion. Previously
we had talked about not strictly enforcing the limits on number
of sessions in August, but giving a bit more time for people
to gather usage statistics before we enforced this part of
the new policy. At the meeting there was a push to get on
with it unless the Dial-in Access Committee objects. A number
of other details were referred to the Dial-in Access Committee.
In particular: How does ISDN fit into the new policy? How does
the K-12 dial-in expansion fit into the new policy? Is there
some advantage in coordination or cooperation on guest accounts
between members in addition to each members own plans to 
provide guest accounts (each member did say that they planned
to provide some guest accounts for access to some public
resources such as library systems and gophers, although some
schools said that while they could make guest accounts available
that this was really up to others such as the library administration).
The meeting ended with an executive session to talk over
some other matters, but since it was an executive session staff
weren't present so I can't report on that.
  -Jeff Ogden

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