MNET Services>Telecom Data Networking

MN.IT operates a state-wide network that ties together government: state, federal, county, and city; education: the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, private colleges, and K-12 schools; libraries; health care; and others into a single unit. The key characteristics are:

  • It is standards-based.
  • It is high speed.
  • It handles both wide- and local-area networking.
  • It uses the best available communications paths.
  • It provides Internet and Internet2 access.
  • It is MPLS-enabled.
  • It has quality-of-service provisioned throughout.
  • It is fully-redundant.
  • It offers voice services.
  • It offers video services.
  • It is secure.


The network is built on the relevant international standards created by IETF, ISO, and other international standards bodies. The network uses IPv4 for all data transfer and IPv6 is available throughout the network upon request.

High Speed

The network is built around over 25 hubs located around the state. The hubs are interconnected with high-capacity links, the slowest being a DS-3 (43 Mbps) and the fastest being 10 Gigabit Ethernet. The map illustrates the overall structure.

Further, the backbone network supports "jumbo frames," with all backbone links able to carry 9000-byte Ethernet frames. Important: very few customer links are currently configured to support these large frames. If you want to take advantage of them, you will need to work with MN.IT to ensure that all links along your communications path can carry these frames.


MN.IT handles just about all of the wide area connectivity for its customers. In addition, MN.IT provides LAN management and operations for some of its customers.

Best Paths

MN.IT will work with customers and providers to obtain the best possible connectivity for the lowest available price. Most connections are use leased facilities from telecommunications carriers: MN.IT has competitivly-bid contracts with many of the them and can use their facilities. In addition, MN.IT will use customer-provided facities when possible.

Internet and Internet2

MN.IT's network has fully-redundant connections to the Internet with nearly a gigabit of capacity. MN.IT can also deliver Internet2 connectivity to any MN.IT customer anywhere on the network.


MN.IT's network is fully MPLS-enabled. With this technology, we can offer virtual private networks to our customers to meet their needs. Included is a CRS (Community Router Service) VPN which is used to connect customers to each other and to the Internet, a video VPN which is used to handle all videoconferencing sites, and a voice VPN which carries MN.IT's voice over IP traffic.

Quality of Service

The MN.IT network places different categories of traffic into diffent service levels and uses the quality of service capabilities of its routers to ensure that traffic is carried smoothly and efficently. Three levels of QoS are implemented throughout the network and are available to all customers:

  • Real-time: for MN.IT's voice and video services.
  • State applications: for traffic whose from one part of MN.IT's network to another.
  • Internet: for traffic being sent to or received from the Internet.

Packets are placed into these level as they enter the network by marking them. Then, as the packets traverse the network, the markings are used to ensure that they receive the correct levels of service.

A separate document covers the real-time design in more detail.


MN.IT's network is fully-redundant, with all hub sites having dual connectivity, UPS power, and similar provisions. Where available, MN.IT takes advantage of features such as dual building entrances, fail-over equipment, and all other modern redundancy design principles.


MN.IT offers voice-over-IP services to its customers. The available services are described in the Voice section of this site.


MN.IT offers video services to its customers. The available services are described in the Video section of this site.


MN.IT's network is designed and built with security as a key element. Contact MN.IT to arrange a discussion of your needs and how MN.IT can address them.