NIUNet: Next-Generation Communication
Bridging the globe
NIUNet, a high-speed fiber-optic network built by Northern Illinois University, connects the region to the world while enhancing academic research and bolstering economic development.
NIUNet is a roughly 175-mile fiber optic loop throughout the western Chicago suburbs and greater northern Illinois region, consisting of both newly constructed segments and previously unused leased underground fiber. It is a joint effort of NIU's Information Technology Services and Regional Development Institute.
NIUNet’s original goal was to create a high-speed fiber optic network that links the main campus in DeKalb with Outreach Centers in Rockford, Naperville and Hoffman Estates. Soon the goal became much more ambitious: deliver the latest high-speed communication technology not just to NIU facilities but to the entire region - at an affordable price. As the partnerships have grown in number, NIUNet has acquired a reputation for cutting edge technology and innovative cost-sharing arrangements that allowed the network to grow by leaps and bounds. The NIUNet broadband model makes low-cost connectivity to Internet Service Providers and between facilities for NIUNet partners possible.
Connecting Illinois Communities
When complete, the network will connect every school, library, municipality and hospital within a 10-county area to high-speed fiber. Most of those institutions will see their Internet speed rocket up to 1,000 faster while the costs for those services will plummet.
Once the infrastructure is in place, community anchor institutions will have the ability to:
Provide researchers access high-speed unrestricted broadband to national labs and databases throughout northern Illinois.
Deliver distance education in essentially real-time with DVD-quality picture and sound.
Enable doctors to diagnose and consult with other physicians from hundreds of miles away. Patients will be able to access specialists without traveling to them.
Allow cities to share resources for planning, emergency management and economic development. High-tech jobs will come and stay instead of leaving for more "connected" communities on the coasts.
Over $120 million
Fiber is the Future (11/21/12)