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Erie Hall - University of Windsor

WEDnet Overview

"WEDnet is the physical fibre-based optical network of the Connecting Windsor-Essex Intelligent Community in Windsor-Essex with connections at 10x Gb to multiple network peers" 

WEDnet is made up of high-speed fiber-optic links, with bandwidth in excess of gigabit speeds. Its node is one of a number of national Regional Advanced Networks (RANs) of CANARIE and ORION. WEDnet also has ties with international network initiatives or researches to engage them.  The participants in Connecting Windsor-Essex, received infrastructure and application funding support in the Connect Ontario program of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and has enabled many opportunities for the region.

WEDnet also helped to secure funding for participants and has assisted the region with GeoSmart program funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Infrastructure funding was awarded previously from the Telecommunication Access Partnerships (TAP) program of the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, and WEDnet has also received funding from ORANO, to connect to ORION, the Province's R&D optical network. Funding was also received to assist with the establishment of the Regional StatCan Data Centre located at the University of Windsor, in the Leddy Library, where a lightpath provides access over WEDnet for secure transport.  Earlier, funding from CANARIE Inc. was used to facilitate links to CA*net and other research networks, and from HRDC for project-based R&D on the readiness of the community to use high speed networks.

History and Evolution

WEDnet was formed in November 1994 by the University of Windsor, in partnership with St. Clair College, the hospitals and the Cancer Centre in the region, and the Windsor and Essex County school boards for the specific purpose of developing a high-speed communications infrastructure for the area. WEDnet became involved with OPNet to secure this objective for its member partners. Today, hundreds of thousands of users use the network every day.

May 1996 found the consortium of educational partners examining additional relationships with other organizations, companies and corporations of both the public and private sector to determine if there were common interests for high-speed infrastructure. It was found that there was interest, but that none of the partners could undertake the costs of the project themselves. It was decided that the infrastructure required could be implemented cooperatively, spanning as many sectors and levels of those sectors as possible.

In July 1996, WEDnet applied to CANARIE and received funding for connectivity of a high-speed wide area network. AT&T Canada was contracted as the carrier to the national backbone. COGECO Cable Solutions develped a OC12 SONET ring in Windsor for local loop connectivity to AT&T Canada for the members.

March 1997, WEDnet received over $2M funding from the TAP program, and began to expand its services to those beyond the Windsor-Essex Community.

In April 1998, WEDnet received funding from CANARIE to establish a GigaPoP in Windsor.

WEDnet Today

WEDnet's current tasks include implementing optical network connections. The TAP funding implemented a shared regional and community network, involving partners from the education, health care, municipal and industrial sectors, both public and private, to improve access to advanced applications across a major portion of southwestern Ontario, and to link the region to CA*net 3/4 using a CANARIE GigaPoP. Connectivity is provided to connect local members by Cogeco Cable Canada Inc. although WEDnet activitely seeks peers to help with transit costs.  Selected participants in Connecting Windsor-Essex share in the support and utilization of WEDnet's network infrastructure.

WEDnet is now part of Connecting Windsor-Essex, where the Centre for Smart Community Innovation has been mandated to support the network and its related activities.  WEDnet positions itself to address the innovative aspects of technology deployment and use in Windsor and Essex County, as part of the Intelligent Community  activities in the region.