BOREAS is the Broadband Optical Research, Education and Sciences Network, a collaboration of four major research institutions in the upper Midwest: Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. BOREAS intends to build and operate a Regional Optical Network (RON) to service the advanced production and experimental network requirements of the research and education institutions in our region. High-speed optical network capability is essential for our researchers to move vast amounts of research data between researchers worldwide and to engage in collaborative research activities with peer institutions and national laboratories. This capability is also necessary for our institutions to compete effectively for research funding. Our universities also believe that BOREAS capability is needed for us to be able to recruit and retain top research faculty.

BOREAS members are part of the Northern Tier Network Consortium (NTNC), an alliance of Universities, research labs, network organizations, and in some instances state network organizations from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean across the northern part of our country. NTNC is working to be able to have good network capability and good connections to the national research network for all of its member institutions - a 2100 mile swath of connectivity. More information about the NTNC is available at We anticipate that BOREAS will be the eastern segment of the Northern Tier Network.

The initial task of the founding partners of BOREAS is to provide a ring between the founding institutions and the CIC Omni-PoP (Point of Presence) in Chicago. The Omni-PoP will provide connectivity to Internet-2, to research networks that have PoPs at Starlite, and to National Lambda Rail. The Omni-PoP also provides access to commodity networks that we all use. BOREAS is also connecting Kansas City, so that we have a redundant connection to the world in case of problems in the Chicago area. The solid lines on the BOREAS map indicate the connections that the BOREAS partners are currently developing. The dotted lines are possible connections with our partners in the NTNC as that network develops.

Our Vision:

BOREAS strives to be the blueprint model for Regional Optical Network Cyberinfrastructure. BOREAS facilitates collaboration between its founding members and Regional Optical Networks and their constituents. It enables outreach, research and education in a stable framework and returns value on our network investments many times over. Our organizational transparency and our ability to influence the market within and outside BOREAS geographical boundaries creates a new definition in high speed networking evolution and management. BOREAS offers its members competitive advantage in consideration of grant awards and furnishes researchers with the flexibility to provide connections for the varied requirements of any top tier research institution.



BOREAS will be a dark-fiber (unused optical fiber) network among the following cities:

  • Ames, Iowa - Des Moines, Iowa
  • Chicago, Illinois * Iowa City, Iowa
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota




Founding members of BOREAS include the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.

    Boreas - in Greek mythology - god of the north wind.
Copyright 2006