Leading a Research and Education Network

John Hennessey Staff Headshot

John Hennessey

As OneNet’s new executive director, I would like to introduce myself to our community of subscribers, partners, community leaders and other constituents. I joined OneNet in March 2021 as the chief technology officer and now have the honor to serve as OneNet’s executive director and our state’s higher education chief information officer. I hope to bring new ideas and create opportunities for OneNet through my 22 years in higher education and experience in tribal government.

I am excited to take on this new role in leading Oklahoma’s research and education (R&E) network. OneNet has served as our state’s R&E network for more than 25 years, providing connectivity for higher education, K-12 schools, CareerTechs, and research institutions. Nearly every state has an R&E network like OneNet. While many networks are focused on research and education, OneNet also serves libraries, health care providers, and state and local governments. We extend the benefits of an R&E network to all of these organizations.

As I begin my new role, I would like to share three priorities I plan to focus on in leading our R&E network. Successfully serving OneNet’s subscribers depends on more than providing quality internet service. It extends to innovation, collaboration and partnerships.


The first priority is providing research-grade connectivity to Oklahoma’s researchers and scientists. Advanced research computing is growing across the state, and OneNet must meet the high-speed connectivity requirements to spur innovation and scientific discovery. OneNet meets these requirements in several ways. OneNet’s connection to Internet2’s 400Gbps nationwide network provides connectivity required for global research projects. OneNet’s own 100Gbps network and management of the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network, a 10 and 100 Gbps network fine-tuned for research, ensures the connectivity researchers require to share computing resources across our state. OneNet must grow our network as research requirements grow at our research institutions.


A second priority for OneNet is serving as a resource for our subscribers. Many of our subscribers are small libraries or schools in rural areas of our state. These subscribers often are lacking the resources required to manage their services, and OneNet strives to provide support, whether it’s troubleshooting the subscriber’s network or offering managed router and firewall services. OneNet often collaborates with smaller higher education institutions on network planning or application hosting. OneNet has a highly experienced engineering team, and we make sharing their expertise with those we serve a priority.

Connecting Oklahoma Graphic


The third priority is partnerships. OneNet has been built on partnerships since our inception in 1996. Our public-private partnerships with local telecommunications providers are vital in delivering services to our subscribers. In FY21, OneNet paid $12.4 million to last-mile providers across the state to connect our subscribers to the OneNet network. These partnerships are critical to OneNet’s success. OneNet has also established regional partnerships to increase networking capabilities across the southcentral states. Our partnerships with the Great Plains Network and the Midsouth U.S. Internet Exchange enhance connectivity and reduce costs for R&E networks in our region and enable us to better serve our subscribers.

Reach Out!

As I begin my first year in this new role, I look forward to working with each of you, whether you are a subscriber, partner, community leader or other constituent. I hope we can establish new partnerships and collaborations that advance connectivity for research, education, health care and government services across our state. OneNet’s team is proud to be a leader in the national R&E community, and I’m committed to growing that legacy. I would enjoy hearing from you—you can reach out to me at john@onenet.net.


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