Kansas Research and Education Network – Regional CyberInfrastructure Plan - 2020
KanREN, Inc. is a Kansas-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which provides research connectivity, security, education, and engagement services throughout the state. In 1992 a consortium of 35 Kansas higher education institutions led by the University of Kansas and the other Regents Universities established an organization to facilitate the design, assembly, and management of a network that could connect any Kansas universities or colleges wishing to participate. This organization became known as KanREN. In 1993, KanREN was awarded a $700,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) "Connections" grant to begin building the network and to provide connectivity for KanREN's charter members. The first institutions were connected by the fall of 1993 and within a year all of the original KanREN charter members were a part of the network; and many remain members today.
In 1997 KanREN, in cooperation with the Great Plains Network, became the first connector to the Internet2 "Abilene" network; enabling universities in Kansas to be the first in the country with access to the new backbone. The KanREN network became fully dual-stacked (IPv4 with IPv6) for all members in 2004. Historically, KanREN has deployed advanced protocols years ahead of the commercial carriers, and typically, well ahead of most peers in the research community.
The KanREN organization has grown and evolved over the years, it began as a "service unit" of the University of Kansas Center for Research Inc. In 2002 KanREN's governing body began re- organizing KanREN as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to better reflect the modern direction of the organization. Throughout the change some things have remained constant; KanREN has always been governed by its member institutions. KanREN's Board of Directors counts 16 seats; elected or appointed by our member institutions. Those directors help to shape the vision, direction, and mission of our organization and ensure that year after year we are providing the most advanced network services and that we're always focused on the needs of our member institutions.
Another constant throughout these evolutions; KanREN has a singular goal for the future – to remain at the forefront of network technologies for the benefit of Kansas Community Anchor Institutions. By implementing advanced technology in its earliest stages KanREN continues to provide leading-edge expertise, capacity, and network sophistication. Just as KanREN supported rich QOS, VPN, Multicast, IPv6, MPLS L2 VPN, and Internet2 access years ahead of widespread adoption, its singular focus will remain on putting technology into production that opens opportunities, removes limitations, and addresses technical challenges for our members.