Indiana University and CIC Partner to Bring Next-Generation Networking to CIC Universities

Nov 03, 2011

The Midwest OpenFlow Crossroads Initiative (MOXI) will provide a new experimental network infrastructure based on OpenFlow technology to CIC member institutions in the Midwest. MOXI is a partnership of the Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the top-tier research universities of the Big Ten Athletic Conference including the University of Chicago.

The Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) effort is providing funding for the project through a grant of $450,000. GENI is a nationwide experimental network research infrastructure sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

OpenFlow offers a multitude of benefits to both researchers and network operators.  For example, a network researcher can get a virtual network all the way to their lab on the same campus network equipment that handles regular traffic without disturbing that other traffic.  On OpenFlow, a researcher can experiment on their own piece of network or put any kind of data on it, whereas in the past this would not be feasible without having to worry about interrupting or changing the network that everyone else is using.  In addition to the advantages to end-user researchers, system operators will gain important experience on the system.  “MOXI will give the network operators for all the participating universities critical early experience with OpenFlow, which is a highly disruptive next-generation networking technology,” said Jon-Paul Herron, director of IU GlobalNOC Engineering and MOXI principal investigator. “OpenFlow gives us the potential to program networks the way we program software today, to enable totally new uses of the network, and drastically lower the cost of high-speed networks. MOXI will give the CIC schools the opportunity to shape OpenFlow and get the expertise we'll need to take advantage of OpenFlow as it grows.”

The primary mission of MOXI will be the rapid, broad deployment of GENI capabilities throughout the Midwest, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure and relationships among the participating Midwest CIC institutions. MOXI represents a return on the investment that the CIC has made in the OmniPoP, a high-speed fiber optic network that connects them. "The MOXI award is a great example of how CIC member universities continue to leverage their collective investments to keep our universities on the leading edge of research and innovation", says Karen Partlow, CIC's Associate Director for Technology Collaboration.”

OpenFlow will also allow the participating institutions to test and experiment with new Internet protocols and architectures and to participate in and contribute to the broader GENI effort.

The IU GlobalNOC will be responsible for the overall health of the network, maintenance and troubleshooting of software and hardware, assistance to researchers, and sharing of operational data. In 2009, IU received a $300,000 NSF grant to explore GENI using OpenFlow software.

About GENI

The Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) is a suite of experimental network research infrastructure sponsored by the National Science Foundation. As envisioned by the community, this suite will support a wide range of network science and engineering experiments such as new protocols and data dissemination techniques running over a substantial fiber optic infrastructure with next-generation optical switches, novel high-speed routers, city-wide experimental urban radio networks, high-end computational clusters, and sensor grids. All infrastructures are envisioned to be shared among a large number of individual, simultaneous experiments with extensive instrumentation that makes it easy to collect, analyze, and share real measurements. For more on GENI, please see

About the IU Global NOC

The Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) at Indiana University is a premier provider of highly responsive network coordination, engineering, and installation services that support the advancement of R&E networking.

From its support of the Internet2 Network, to Indiana’s I-Light, to the IPGrid optical network, the IU GlobalNOC has become an unrivaled provider of 24x7x365 expert support for the most advanced research networks in the country. For more about GlobalNOC, please see

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