The Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) hosted its biannual member in-person meeting on May 18 at Ohio University in conjunction with the Ohio Higher Education Computing Council conference. The meeting featured OARnet’s latest projects, a presentation from BroadbandOhio and panel discussions on security and workforce development.
OARnet leadership spotlighted major initiatives underway that will benefit communities statewide.
Networking and infrastructure projects include the launch of the 400 Gigabits per second (Gbps) upgrade of the statewide fiber-optic backbone; new 400 Gbps Internet2 connections in Cincinnati and Cleveland; forthcoming 100 Gbps circuit upgrades to Chicago and Ashburn to support peering, cloud and research network connectivity; and the start of a 100 Gbps upgrade for large urban K-12 schools and Information Technology Centers.
OARnet also is engaged in several initiatives to strengthen network security, such as identity and access management, external penetration testing and cloud risk-based vulnerability management.
In addition, the organization is completing networking upgrades and extending services launched as part of the Department of Higher Education’s COVID-19 initiatives. OARnet will conclude work on the Last Mile Enhancement Program’s connectivity and security upgrades to colleges and universities this month, and will continue to offer the Internet Enhancement Program—which doubles internet bandwidth at no additional cost—through June 2023.
Peter Voderberg, chief of BroadbandOhio, discussed how the office has been advancing the state’s broadband strategy since its creation two years ago. He stressed the importance of leveraging OARnet’s network to improve internet access, adoption and affordability in Ohio, and also highlighted how BroadbandOhio has worked with OARnet to complete several pilot projects in rural and urban areas. The entities will continue to collaborate on initiatives such as the expansion of middle mile infrastructure.
The member meeting also included a panel discussion with information technology leaders at Miami University, The Ohio State University and Youngstown State University about the top security initiatives and challenges their higher education institutions are managing. A second panel discussion featuring faculty and administrators from Central Ohio Technical College, Columbus State Community College, Denison University and The Ohio State University highlighted workforce development initiatives and opportunities, including the forthcoming Intel manufacturing complex in Licking County.
Since 1987, OARnet has delivered technology-based solutions that reduce costs, increase productivity and improve customer service. As a division of the Ohio Department of Higher Education's Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH), OARnet serves Ohio's education, health care, public broadcasting and government communities. Other members of the consortium include the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK).