Building the Next Big Thing in Kalamazoo and Beyond0
Fiber internet is popping up in Michigan at 'lightning speed' offering speeds 100 times faster than cable.
One local company, Lynx Network Group, is helping make that happen. The wholesale provider of cutting-edge data services to major wireless and fiber-based carriers makes them a "carrier’s- carrier."
According to Co-Founder of Lynx Network Group and Otsego native Gerald J. Philipp. Carriers such as Lynx Network Group provide service to telecommunication hubs, such as cellular carrier switching centers, major phone and cable companies, global data centers and cloud service providers- closing the gap between the haves and have-nots.
"There are still places in Michigan who only offer dial-up," said Philipp. "We operate more than 2,200 miles of core fiber optic infrastructure. LYNX connects to some of the most rural, under-served and un-served areas of the state."
The original cables connecting the Kalamazoo area to the information highway are made of copper. Those wires, while becoming obsolete achieved the goal of getting the internet up and running in homes and businesses in the 90's.
"It didn't take long to outgrow the copper wires during the internet boom of the early 2000's," said Philipp. "Because of the need for faster broadband speeds, clearer connections, and fewer interruptions, we needed to focus our attention on high tech wire, and new ways to deploy it."
Enter fiber optics technology which uses glass threads to transmit data. A fiber optic cable is a bundle of glass threads capable of transmitting messages onto light waves. A single fiber has the capacity to transmit data at speeds approximately 100 times faster and farther than a copper wire.
A business and marketing graduate of Western Michigan University Philipp put his education and experience in sales and telecommunication together, with an enormous desire to launch a new company in the Kalamazoo area. Then with partner, co-founders Chris Barber and Gregg Rutgers, Lynx was created in 2003. Starting with just a few employees they've now grown the company to a staff of about 50 people.
"It was the perfect opportunity to jump in and create a niche in the market," he said. His partners agreed and Kalamazoo was the obvious choice for headquarters.
"I used to think I wanted to move out of Michigan, but having traveled extensively and seeing other areas of the US, it didn't make sense," Philipp said. "Kalamazoo can compete with, and offers, everything you can get from bigger cities, with a hometown feel. We have a unique culture."
Raising a young family, he and wife Deb, a former surgical nurse of 27 years at Borgess Medical Center, were happy to settle in the community and enjoy Michigan's skiing, hunting and other sports. "There was really no good reason to move," Philipp said.
Fast forward to 2016. Building from the 2200 miles of fiber cable laid, Kalamazoo area residents are looking forward to receiving high speed fiber optic in outlying areas in the near future.
The company's whole goal revolves around growth. "We are continuing to get the fiber optics from the hubs to the residential providers and businesses and also looking to expand into a regional market," said Philipp.
Expanding telecommunication solutions is also ongoing. In a recent news post, Marketing and Public Relations Director for Lynx wrote: "At Lynx Network Group, we are proud to announce that we are now peered with: Netflix, Google, Akamai, and Hurricane Electric in Chicago. We know our customers will benefit greatly from these peered relationships. As Lynx pushes forward we will be adding more to the growing list."
A peer to peer network can be a permanent infrastructure that links several computers in a small office, or, it can be on a much bigger scale that allows direct relationships between users over the Internet without a separate server.
"More and more people want the flexibility to work remote, and businesses want to control their communication needs," said Philipp. "We can help with that!"