The Learning Network of Minnesota

What is the Learning Network of Minnesota?

The Learning Network of Minnesota (LNM or Learning Network) is the core telecommunications network infrastructure that supports public higher education in Minnesota and is critical for daily campus and system operations.

The Learning Network connects college campuses, system offices, regional learning centers, tribal learning centers, research centers and extension offices.

The LNM also connects to K-12 districts, healthcare centers, government entities, public libraries and private sector sites.

The LNM is operated in partnership with the Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) and uses the State of Minnesota's network.

The LNM supports services and operations including:

  • Academic programs, including online, video and on–campus programs
  • Collaborative research and partnerships with communities and businesses
  • Financial aid and other administrative transactions
  • Communications, including Internet access, video, telephone services and e–mail
  • Library and other academic support services
  • Access to global networks including the Internet2 and National LambaRail

The goals of the Learning Network of Minnesota Blueprint are to insure the complete integration of the higher education portion of the Learning network and to maximize efficiently within the existing federation of networks.

  • Insure the complete integration of the higher education portion of the LNM, including the six telecommunications regions, Minnesota State, the U of M, and private higher education institution's networks.
  • Recognize organizational autonomy.
  • Create and support a highly interactive virtual presence.
  • Encourage cooperation with private higher education institutions, K–12 and state agencies.
  • Encourage application and network peering with other national or international education and research networks (e.g. Internet2) as well as regional commercial and nonprofit entities.
  • Encourage advancement of technology.
  • Leverage resources of the Joint Powers, higher education telecommunications regions and private higher education institutions.
  • Insure that Learning Network resources are available to all users, at all times and from all locations.
  • Support Minnesota broadband initiatives and coordinate planning with program partners.
  • Respond and be available as appropriate during emergencies and disasters. Coordinate disaster planning with the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) emergency responders, law enforcement, public safety and other partners.

Meeting goals requires:

  • Standardization of technology.
  • Commitment to universal access to leading edge technology.
  • Coordination of contracts:
    • Contract specifications shall be written to insure goals of standardization and integration are met.
    • Contracts will be coordinated to minimize cost.
    • Contract lengths shall be coordinated to allow orderly transition to future technology.
    • Plans for contracts for circuits and broad services will be reviewed by the Learning Network Management Group (comprised of the six higher education regional directors, the two system CIOs and the Office of Higher Education grants administrator).
    • Joint Powers Technical Committee shall be given adequate, advance notice of contracts and RFPs.
    • Coordination of funding. Existing funding sources shall be spent in a coordinated manner to minimize duplication and maximize overall efficiency.
    • Integration of higher education networks. Networks will share transport, facilities and technology where practical.
    • Coordination of learning object content management.
    • Federated management of authorization and identification across the Learning Network.
    • Creation of a directory of security and other necessary contacts.
    • Preparation of the Learning Network for IPv6.
    • Interoperability testing. New device types will be tested for interoperability prior to introduction to ensure compatibility with existing devices.

Minnesota State

University of Minnesota Campuses

Off–Campus Members and Affiliates

Central Minnesota Distance Learning Network (CMDLN)
Phone: (651) 297-4811

COMET – METNET Partnership

Consortium of Minnesota Educational Telecommunications (COMET)

Metropolitan Educational Telecommunications Network (METNET)
Phone: (612) 625-1776

NorthEast Alliance for Telecommunications (NEAT)
Phone: (218) 262-6788

Northwest Education Technology System (NETS)
Phone: (218) 281-8405

Southwest/West Central Higher Education Organization for Telecommunications (SHOT)
Phone: (507) 537-6978

LNM Regions SHOT map

LNM Regions

These requirements apply to organizations that wish to peer with the Joint Powers Organizations. They do NOT apply among the individual Joint Powers Organizations.

“JPTECH” refers to the technical subgroup of the Joint Powers Organizations. This subgroup specifies technical interconnection standards.


  • Starts with IPv4 connectivity: all peering MUST include IPv4 and MAY do other levels.
  • MUST use real IPv4 address blocks of size /24 or larger.
  • May NOT use RFC1918 addresses.
  • MAY use IPv6 addressing. IPv6 addressing must be coordinated with JPTECH.
  • May NOT use non–IP protocols.
  • May NOT filter traffic within the peering point. (Filtering may, of course, happen once traffic has left the peering point and entered an organization’s network.)
  • Does not cover Internet2; those connections are subject to Internet2 rules.

If a peering organization wishes to peer at higher application levels, they may do so provided they follow the JPTECH standards. Examples of higher application levels include:

  • Collaboration
  • Instant messaging
  • News
  • Video
  • Voice
  • Web conferencing

These examples are included for illustrative purposes: there is no assurance that JPTECH will establish peering standards in any of these (or similar) areas. However, if such standards are established, they will be offered to all peering organizations.

Requirements for peering partners:

  • They must have their own Internet service (i.e., we are not their front door).
  • They must connect at DS3 or better speeds.
  • They must use BGP as the routing protocol.
  • They must pay a one–time setup charge to cover infrastructure.
  • They must have a 24x7 problem reporting and resolution service.
  • They must have escalation procedures on file listing at least three different people and/or groups.

Current Technology Standards:

  • Integration: Higher Education entities share a common Wide Area Network backbone.
  • Aggregation: Video, Voice and data aggregated onto common IP backbone.
  • Network Transport, Local Area Networks: TCP/IP on Ethernet.
  • Network Architecture, Local Area Networks: Network core capable of layer 3 routing, multicast. Network distribution VLAN capable. Network segmentation determined by traffic and security requirements. Packet filtering at network entry points.
  • Network Transport, Wide Area Networks: TCP/IP on ATM, HDSL, PPP or Ethernet.
  • Network Architecture, Wide Area Networks: Redundant between hubs; hardened hubs. 7x24 monitoring.
  • Network Protocols: TCP/IP, BGP between autonomous systems. Multicast capable.
  • Video: H.323 with QOS. Quality of service on WAN via RSVP, RSVP using Weighted Fair-Queuing or SVC's depending on underlying network. QOS on LAN via 802.1p on Separate VLAN or separate physical networks for video.
  • Voice: QoS for voice will use LLQ in WAN and 802.1p on separate VLAN, or separate physical network for LAN QoS.

Future Technology Standards:

  • Future technology standards will be approved by Joint Powers partners based on a collaborative process involving all interested parties, including Minnesota State, the University of Minnesota, private higher education institutions, the higher education telecommunications regions and the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology.
  • Future technologies will be tested for integration with existing technology.
  • Future technologies will be reviewed by the Joint Powers Technical Committee. (This committee has a standing monthly meeting and is comprised of representatives from Minnesota State, the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology and the higher education telecommunications regions.)
  • Future technologies will be based on IETF, IEEE, ITU or other recognized standards.


  • Ethernet: 10, 100 or 1000 Mbps CSMA/CD networks as defined by IEEE 802.3.
  • VLAN: Separate logical networks on same physical network. Trunked segments tagged with 802.1q and prioritized with 802.1p.
  • BGP: IETF Border Gateway Protocol v4 as defined by RFC1771.
  • H.323: ITU defined packet-based multimedia communications systems. Includes related standards for conferencing (T.120), call control (H.245) and framing (H.225)
  • High Definition: