High speed fiber optics network connects higher education in East-Central Indiana

Colleges and universities in East Central Indiana now have significantly greater access to very high-speed networking for collaboration, research, and education thanks to the expansion of I-Light, Indiana’s statewide higher education optical fiber network. Indiana University East is the newest institution on the I-Light network, joined by Earlham College and Purdue University College of Technology. Ivy Tech Community College in Richmond will join the network later.

Wendy Chang, IU East vice chancellor for Information Technology, said IU East is delighted to be the host for the I-Light network in East Central Indiana.

“In addition to greater partnership with fellow higher education institutions in teaching and research, I-Light will also significantly enhance our role in the transformation of East Central Indiana’s economy by fueling advanced technology transfers, business incubation, and regional and interstate engagement and collaboration,” Chang said.

I-Light is made up with 15 major network connection points, called “nodes,” at Indianapolis, Anderson, Muncie, Marion, Ft. Wayne, South Bend, Gary, West Lafayette, Terre Haute, Richmond, Sellersburg, Vincennes, Evansville, Bloomington and Kokomo. Installation of each of these major nodes started in late 2006 and will be completed in 2007.

“Connectedness – both in person and online – is the most critical element of our experiences with students and our interactions with fellow faculty and staff around the state and around the world,” said Kara N. Monroe, executive director of Finance, Facilities, and Information Technology at Ivy Tech. “In order to ensure that we can be connected at all times, access to robust, high-speed data networks is of critical importance for effective collaboration as well as ensuring that Indiana residents have access to the highest quality research and learning tools.”

Len Clark, Earlham’s Academic Dean, said the opportunity for Earlham to get connected to the I-Light network is really an opportunity to leverage information technology to enhance its academic program by providing access to resources that would be unavailable otherwise.

“I-Light will allow our faculty to create educational opportunities that in the past would be available only to students in the largest, wealthiest institutions. We are excited that this resource is being made available to us, and are confident that our faculty will utilize I-Light to provide unique educational opportunities for our students, while making positive contributions to the world-wide academic community,” Clark said.

Purdue University College of Technology at Richmond also highlighted the student benefit of the system.

“I-Light will enable Purdue students to communicate in the fast lane of the digital superhighway,” said Brian Alenskis, director. “For example, Purdue’s local computer graphics technology students transfer large visual media files, including their original computer animations. The I-Light network will facilitate both their work and their learning.”

For more information, visit the I-Light website.