Lyon joins ARE-ON, secures additional research opportunities for students

Lyon College has joined the Arkansas Research Education Optical Network (ARE-ON), providing access to national research networks and allowing the College to collaborate with other higher education institutions. 

ARE-ON is a consortium of all public degree-granting institutions in Arkansas and other selected higher education organizations.

Lyon’s Director of Information Services Jeremiah Cherwien said Lyon is the first private college in Arkansas to join. Apogee, Lyon’s network services provider, will manage the connection for Lyon.

By being part of ARE-ON, the College will be able to share data, research and resources with other colleges and universities across the state. Cherwien said these connections mean big opportunities for Lyon’s academic programs.

“For example, the University of Arkansas in Little Rock shares data sets with other schools and transfers those quickly with ARE-ON. I’m hoping we can use that for our data science program.”

ARE-ON will also give them access to Internet2, a national research network that allows colleges to communicate online without commercial traffic, like ads.

ARE-ON provides a high-speed fiber optic backbone network throughout the state with 1Gb, 10Gb, and 100Gb Ethernet connections to its members, affiliates, national research and education networks, regional optical networks, and commercial service providers. The network consists of approximately 2,200 miles of long-haul fiber optic cable and about 85 miles of metro fiber in twenty-four cities and four neighboring states. 

ARE-ON’s extensive reach allows institutions to connect, collaborate, and innovate within the organization’s core agendas: education, telemedicine, research, and emergency preparedness.

Cherwien said this network will provide 10 times the bandwidth Lyon currently has, which will help the College facilitate online instruction this fall.

“Faculty and students might notice that things download quicker and transferring files from those other universities will be faster.”

He said Lyon plans to use ARE-ON in the future to develop a disaster recovery site, a place to have the College’s servers running somewhere outside of Batesville.

“That way, if something happens here, we can keep working,” Cherwien said.

ARE-ON completed a site survey in July, and Lyon is expected to be connected to the network this fall.