|With a vision of creating a network to benefit the State of Idaho and international research, the INL funded the conceptual design of a high-speed fiber optic research network. Qwest and Engineering Professional Services (EPS) were contracted to analyze requirements, evaluate state/regional capabilities, and propose design alternatives. This process fostered independent and creative solutions.
The design process focused primarily on:
- Delivering an economically-feasible, technically sound, and achievable design.
- Providing clear benefits to the State of Idaho.
- Ensuring the research, education, health care, and economic development needs of the entire state are considered.
Benefits of an Idaho High Speed Optical Network
World events are putting the State of Idaho, INL, and Idaho universities at the center of a nuclear renaissance. The intellectual contribution that Idaho will be able to make in this “rebirth of nuclear energy” is dependent upon a robust network infrastructure.
Furthers the Idaho Economy
In today’s global marketplace, high-speed network access is imperative to economic opportunities in all areas, specifically in information and technology growth. Economic expansion is realized by the increasing number of new commercial endeavors that are created in technology parks where reliable, cost-effective, high-speed network connectivity is critical. Without IRON, Idaho will continue as one of the few remaining states on the wrong side of the “digital divide” and will be at a disadvantage in sustaining existing technology businesses and attracting new high-tech businesses to the region. IRON bridges the digital divide and will increase research and funding at universities and laboratories in Idaho. A by-product of the increase in research is additional jobs for Idaho’s workforce.
Improved Access and Connectivity
By increasing both speed and reliability, IRON will provide education, health care, and research with cost-effective access to national research and education networks. This enhanced connectivity will improve access to state-of-the-art scientific instruments and other scientific resources available through the INL. Finally, high-speed connections between state universities and health care facilities will allow cost-effective sharing of information resources.
Enables Large-Scale Research
IRON provides the network bandwidth required for Idaho to compete for, attract, and support new and existing research programs and facilities in nuclear energy. For example, one of the requirements for hosting a National Science Foundation (NSF) supercomputer center is having at least two connections to U.S. research networks. This capability is not currently available in Idaho without IRON.