CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, a high-capacity network. CalREN was designed to meet the unique requirements of more than 20 million users, including the vast majority of K-20 students together with educators, researchers and other vital public-serving institutions. CENIC's Charter Associates are part of the world's largest education system; they include the California K-12 public school system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, California's public libraries, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, and USC.
CENIC is partnering with Califa and the California State Library to offer all public libraries in California the opportunity to experience high-speed broadband through connectivity to CalREN. The following steps summarize the process required for a library to obtain connectivity to CalREN.
Step 1: Project Overview Meetings (July - August):
A webinar or phone call may be conducted to brief library staff on the project and their opportunity to connect to CalREN.
Step 2: Libraries Enroll in the Project (July - September):
Libraries joining the project submit Letters of Agency (LOA), giving CENIC permission to seek bids for telecommunications services and to leverage federal E-rate discounts and California Teleconnect Fund discounts on their behalf. Library contacts also participate in phone interviews that allow project staff to collect necessary information on their current technology infrastructure and future needs.
Step 3: Network Planning Meetings (August - September):
Library Directors, library technical leaders, and Califa and CENIC staff discuss the desired level of connectivity and network design options.
Step 4: Quotes Presented and Reviewed (November - January):
Through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, CENIC obtains quotes for services from commercial providers on behalf of participating libraries, evaluate those quotes and prepare proposals for each library. These proposals are presented to libraries for review, which includes connectivity speeds, hardware needs-if any-and costs.
Step 5: Contracting (January - March):
Participating libraries choose from among the option(s) presented to them, and the process of preparing a contract for service begins. Libraries sign contracts for service with Califa.
Step 6: Consolidated Hardware Purchase (February - April):
Library jurisdictions can order hardware they need for their sites through Califa to receive significant discounts on hardware. Hardware is shipped directly to libraries, and they are billed for this hardware by Califa. Califa also coordinates with the California State Library to ensure that any applicable grant funds can be applied to these purchases.
The steps below take place for each library site in the order listed between the following July through June. The entity shown in parenthesis is the responsible party for the actions identified. In the case of jurisdictions with multiple sites, each site may have a different time schedule. Some processes may even happen in parallel.
Step 7: CalREN Circuit Ordered: CENIC prepares the specifications for the circuit and places an order with the service provider, and the provider acknowledges receipt of the order. [CENIC and Service Provider]
There are two types of circuits CENIC will order: (A) the connection from your designated library site to CalREN, and (B) "internal" connections between this site and your branch libraries (this only applies to libraries with multiple sites.)
The main distinction between these types of connections is that CENIC will maintain all the circuits that connect directly to the CalREN network, while your staff will maintain the "internal" circuits that connect branch libraries to the CalREN-connected site. In all cases, CENIC will be the "customer of record" for these circuits; however, for the library internal circuits, we will inform the service provider that the library will be managing these so that your staff will receive alerts and be able to file trouble reports, etc. The way we notify service providers is by sending them a Letter of Agency (LOA) certifying that the library will manage these "internal" circuits. We will send copies of the LOA to the affected libraries.
For libraries with multiple sites, you may want to schedule your connection to CalREN first, and then schedule the circuits between the branches and the main library at a later date (or dates) in order to ensure an orderly migration.
Please be aware that activities and/or dependencies outside of your physical location may cause unavoidable delays installing your circuit. The service provider or CENIC will communicate any known delays with the library's primary point of contact.
Step 8: Service Provider Site Survey and Preparation: The service provider conducts a site survey and completes any preparatory work necessary to ensure they can deliver service to the site. [Service Provider]
Engineers from your service provider (the service provider is the carrier who submitted the winning bid, for example, AT&T or Verizon) will schedule a time to visit your library to determine the termination point of your new CalREN connection. This will be the Minimum Point of Entry (MPOE) in your building. An MPOE is the place in your library building where the telephone service arrives. In addition, they will identify any space, power, or other requirements that may need to be addressed before the circuit can be installed.
For libraries with multiple sites getting connections, a site survey will be needed at each site.
Step 9: Library Site Readiness: Library site ensures the room where the circuit will be delivered meets minimum requirement and all necessary local area network equipment is in place. [Library]
Routers and Firewalls
To take advantage of higher speed connections to the Internet, a library is likely going to need new hardware. A new router and a new firewall are commonly needed because it takes more advanced hardware to deal with a one Gigabit data stream (connection speed) than a 100 Mbps data stream. (Sometimes the router and firewall functionality are combined into one piece of hardware.) A library may also want to upgrade the network in its building in order to allow patrons and staff to benefit fully from their new connectivity.
Options to assist with paying for a new router/switch at each branch include:
- A library can apply for E-rate ("Category 2") on the necessary routers and/or switches. Please note that this option will require CIPA compliance.
- The California State Library (CSL) is sponsoring a grant program to help pay for the one-time costs including hardware (routers and/or switches).
- To reduce costs, Califa, working with CENIC and CSL, coordinates a bulk purchase of hardware from Cisco using a competitive bid process with Cisco resellers. This bulk purchase takes advantage of deep discounts, substantially reducing costs for needed routers or switches at each branch. Money obtained through the CSL grant may be used to pay for hardware obtained through the consolidated bulk purchase.
Cabling and Electrical Power
The service provider (e.g. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc) will bring their service to the Minimum Point of Entry (MPOE) and no further. In some cases, the provider can be paid to move the MPOE, but it is likely to be less expensive to run cabling from the MPOE to wherever the Library needs the service. The MPOE move or cabling cost would be the responsibility of the library.
Also, should additional electrical power be required in the library's MPOE in order to house the hardware there, then this cost will need to be paid for by the library. However, both of these costs are eligible for grant funding through the CSL.
Step 10: CENIC-Provided Equipment: CENIC orders the CENIC-managed network equipment for the library site and configures and ships the equipment to the delivery address provided by the library. [CENIC and Library]
CENIC engineers will configure and ship a router to use for your CalREN connection. (In rare cases where there are multiple connections to CalREN, additional routers will be provided at an additional one-time service fee.) We will also configure and ship a modem to connect to the router so that we can manage and troubleshoot it if the network goes down. When you receive the shipment, we will ask you to unpack, mount, and power up this CENIC-owned and managed hardware.
Libraries with one Gigabit connections will receive a Cisco ASR-1001 or similar router. The space requirement for this device is one rack unit (1RU). Each ASR-1001 router will ship with two (2) AC power supplies. Each of the two power supplies requires the following: 110V, 10A, NEMA5-15R AC outlet. This router normally draws no more than 475 watts of power.
Libraries with 10Gbps connections will receive a Cisco ASR-9001 or similar router. The space requirement for this device is two rack units (2RU). Each ASR-9001 router will ship with two (2) AC power supplies. Each of the two power supplies requires the following: 110V, 10A, NEMA5-15R AC outlet. This router normally draws no more than 500 watts of power.
Ideally, the power supplies for the routers should be powered by separate circuits so that a single circuit breaker problem doesn't cause the router to lose all its power.
Regardless of the device type received, it is expected that the device will remain on at all times, even outside of normal business hours on weekdays and also including weekends and holidays so that CENIC is able to constantly monitor the condition of the circuit, provide routine maintenance and address any problems as quickly as possible.
For libraries with multiple sites connecting to a main location, CENIC will not be providing hardware for each of the individual branches, so you will need to ensure that your own hardware is ready for the service provider's circuits.
For new CalREN sites connecting at one Gigabit or lower, we normally provide handoff of an RJ-45 copper gigabit Ethernet connection using category 6 cabling or better, or we can provide a fiber hand-off if you request it—either single-mode or multi-mode. For 10 Gbps, we will provide single-mode or multi-mode fiber.
Step 11: CalREN Circuit Handed-off: Circuit work is completed and necessary hand-off information regarding the service is transmitted to CENIC. [Service Provider]
Your service provider will schedule a time to bring the circuit into your library and to the MPOE site identified during the site survey. They will bring fiber optic cable into this spot, and also a piece of hardware commonly known as the NTE (Network Termination Equipment).
The service provider will test this circuit from end to end, and then turn it over to CENIC for further testing. For the site connecting to CalREN, CENIC will provide a cable to connect the NTE to the CENIC router. For other library sites, your library staff will need to supply and plug in a cable connecting the NTE with the library’s router or switch, and then test these circuits yourself.
Step 12: CalREN Circuit Validated: The circuit is tested for stability and network equipment is configured to accept traffic. [CENIC and Library]
On or immediately after circuit delivery, CENIC engineers will ensure the CENIC-managed router can be reached across the new connection and will complete a series of acceptance tests on the circuit to ensure the new connection is stable and ready to be put into production.
CENIC engineers may request that you run or move cabling between the service provider's Network Termination Equipment and the CENIC-managed network device during testing and would appreciate your assistance as soon as possible after such a request. Of course, CENIC engineers will provide as much advance notice as possible in scheduling testing and requesting assistance.
Before putting your new connection into production, a CENIC engineer will work with you to address any needed routing and configuration issues.
Step 13: Connection to CalREN Live: The library begins actively using the circuit. [Library]
A CENIC engineer will schedule a mutually convenient maintenance window for the cutover or migration from your existing ISP connection to your new CalREN connection. You can choose to schedule the cutover during business hours or during off-hours.
Step 14: Network Operations Center Orientation: The library jurisdiction will be contacted by the CENIC Network Operations Center (NOC) to schedule an orientation session.
The NOC provides a single point of contact for all inquiries regarding network services, from your on-premises network router through your site's connection to CalREN, including the health and status of the CalREN backbone itself. CENIC Operations Engineers are available to assist you 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, including holidays (24/7/365).
The CENIC NOC can be reached at:
For urgent problems, your site contact(s) or technical staff are encouraged to call for immediate assistance. If at any time you feel that you are not receiving appropriate assistance, please ask the on-duty Operations Engineer to escalate your issue to CENIC management.
You may also subscribe to the CENIC "Ops-announce" mailing list, which will allow you to receive network maintenance and outage announcements via email.