What is the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON)?
The Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON), Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation formed to provide an economical high-speed optical network infrastructure for the State of Idaho.
What is the mission of IRON?
IRON’s mission is to facilitate, build and operate a powerful optical infrastructure targeting Idaho’s research, education, health care and government entities to enable research, teaching, learning, clinical and civil collaborations throughout the state. Moreover, IRON is Idaho’s connection to research and education (R&E) networks throughout the United States and around the world.
What are the goals of IRON?
The goals of IRON include the development and deployment of a statewide high-speed networking infrastructure to facilitate interconnectivity with other regional optical networks and national research and education networks. Connected via high-capacity optical networks, Idaho’s research, education and health care facilities can partner in important statewide initiatives as well as large-scale, global research projects. In addition, the IRON gigabit–speed infrastructure will spur innovation in information and computer technologies – the tools of productivity for today’s knowledge economy.
Why is IRON necessary?
IRON’s advanced high-capacity network is essential for Idaho’s research, education and health care facilities ability to compete for large federal grants and new national research facilities. Prior to establishing IRON, Idaho’s research and higher education institutions worked independently to solve their individual network infrastructure needs. In addition, there was no cost-effective solution to connect secondary institutions. IRON creates a dynamic virtual environment for collaboration among Idaho’s research institutions and an economical foundation to increase cooperation and extend the power of this infrastructure to participate in large-scale, global research initiatives.
Who will use IRON?
Research, education, health care and government organizations throughout the state can tap into IRON’s fiber optic network. From e-medicine to workforce preparation and from emergency services to life-long learning, a robust network infrastructure underpins essential statewide services and resources.
How will the State of Idaho benefit from IRON?
By leveraging the infrastructure investments of IRON’s charter institutions, the entire state benefits in the ‘digital dividend.’ In today’s world, technological progress and innovation is essential for an effective and efficient government. Idaho’s government agencies are now well positioned to use information technology in new ways to streamline operations and processes as well as improve the delivery and quality of services for all of its citizens.
What are the most important technical priorities for the IRON infrastructure?
The technical priorities for the IRON infrastructure include:
- Establishing the Boise GigaPOP: Essential to connecting IRON to national R&E networks, regional RONs and GigaPOPs (e.g., PNWGP)
- Completing the North-South corridor from Spokane to Boise
- Completing the East-West corridor from Boise to Portland
- Completing the East-West corridor from Idaho Falls to Boise
How is IRON funded?
The founding charter associates of IRON are the principal investors in the fiber backbone. The charter associates are Boise State University, Brigham Young University–Idaho, Idaho Hospital Association, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho State University, State of Idaho, University of Idaho, and Washington State University. Other entities can join IRON as General Associates and will benefit from IRON services by paying an annual fee of $2,500 plus monthly charges based on bandwidth used.