Please note that iFiber and Northern Illinois University will be closed for Winter break from Dec. 22, 2023 through Jan. 2, 2024, for normal iFiber and NIUNet operations. During that time, iFiber service issues and interruptions should be reported via phone to NIMC (Northern Illinois Monitoring Center) at 1-877-753-8100.
October 3, 2023
FALL BATTERY PHYSICAL MAINTENANCE INSPECTION
iFiber is in the process of performing annual Fall Battery Physical Maintenance Inspections (PMI) at its Core Location and Distribution sites. Those sites have been notified with the anticipated day needed this week for building access. This is preventative maintenance, so the inspection does not include replacing batteries. The process will move a lot quicker than previous inspections. As always, iFiber technicians will be notifying the contact person when they are on their way. iFiber appreciates your time and assistance.
Illinois Broadband Lab Series Broadband Technologies Overview
Marc Thorson, iFiber’s Operations Director, spoke about Fiber & Middle-Mile as it relates to broadband as part of the Illinois Broadband Lab Series Broadband Technologies Overview on Aug. 10. To listen to the webinar, visit https://youtu.be/3uc_4XhvXyE. Other topics covered in the webinar were: Fiber & Fixed Wireless, as well as discussion about what broadband is, and how we connect to the Internet. The Illinois Broadband Lab Summer Webinar Series “Community Roles in Broadband and Digital Equity” is hosted by Illinois Office of Broadband | University of Illinois System | University of Illinois Extension | Benton Institute for Broadband & Society | Illinois Broadband Lab. For more information on the series, visit: https://go.illinois.edu/IBLseries.
Staking University Seminar a Success
iFiber and Northern Illinois University hosted a JULIE / Staking University One-Day Locating Seminar July 19, at NIU’s Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center, DeKalb, IL. Professional trainers from Staking University covered proper procedures, understanding the receiver and transmitter, and methods of energizing JULIE buried utilities. Presenting the training program were JULIE’s Damage Prevention Manager, Dave VanWy (white shirt) and Staking University trainer Paul Larkin (black shirt).
August 9, 2023
iFiber’s Thorson in Broadband Webinar Aug. 10
iFiber’s Operations Director Marc Thorson will participate in a webinar titled “Broadband Technologies Overview,” Thursday, Aug. 10, from noon-1 pm. The webinar is part of the Illinois Broadband Lab Summer Webinar Series: Community Roles in Broadband and Digital Equity. It is hosted by the Illinois Office of Broadband; University of Illinois System; University of Illinois Extension; Benton Institute for Broadband & Society; and Illinois Broadband Lab. The webinar track is designed for local leaders, community stakeholders, and the general public who are looking to learn how to increase broadband access, adoption, and application in their communities. For information and registration, visit: https://extension.illinois.edu/events/2023-08-10-broadband-technologies-overview. In the Aug. 10 webinar, Thorson will explain iFiber’s status as an open-access network. This means the fiber optic cable iFiber owns and its network running across Northwest Illinois are available to any Internet, phone, and other service providers. This model lowers the barriers for any service provider to compete against much larger service provider companies. It allows those companies to invest more into the services provided. It also provides customers in the iFiber footprint to have more choices for service providers. Thorson is Executive Director for Regional Technology Services in Northern Illinois University’s Division of Information Technology (DoIT). He supports iFiber in his primary role of overseeing the operations and strategy execution for NIU’s support of iFiber. He oversees all aspects of NIU’s broadband, Internet service, and technology service offerings to communities, school districts, and other government and nonprofits organizations.
Service disruption from an outage that occurred due to fiber damage was restored Wednesday, April 19, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Because of the extensive nature of the damage, a temporary fix was put in place while the iFiber team works with its maintenance contractor on permanent resolution. The permanent repair will be completed during a scheduled maintenance window, with customers receiving advance notification.
April 19, 2023
iFiber Outage April 19, 2023
iFiber Outage April 19, 2023: A service outage occurred this afternoon in the Dixon area. Alerts began at 1 pm (CDT). Crews dispatched to patrol the fiber routes have located the damage and are working to restore service to the affected area as quickly as possible. The expected restoration time is before midnight tonight.
iFiber Service Maintained During Ice Storm Power Outage
FEBRUARY 2023 – iFiber’s commitment to maintaining its core sites passed a major test during the ice storm that crippled much of northwestern Illinois Feb. 22-23.
A power outage affected Eastland Middle School, site of the iFiber broadband network’s core distribution site in the Shannon region. When the site lost power, it went onto battery back-up as it is designed to do. But when the generator failed to start as expected, Eric Haan, District Technology Director for Eastland CUSD #308, knew there was a critical issue. Upon investigation and assisted by John Prowant, Director of Operations, Haan discovered an animal had gnawed a hole through the cooling system’s generator cap (see photo).
As President of iFiber’s Board of Directors in addition to his IT Director role, Haan was keenly aware of the urgency of the situation. He and Prowant braved the treacherous weather conditions by locating a replacement cap and coolant at a local diesel repair store. Once installed, the generator was immediately back up and running ensuring no major outages in fiber-broadband service for the iFiber network.
The core site situation was made that much more urgent because Shannon site’s equipment was on its last legs battery-wise, according to projected battery ride time. Haan had the generator operating just as the lights on the equipment were starting to dim.
Other iFiber team members worked behind the scenes to ensure network services would not be interrupted for iFiber customers.
Marc Thorson, who oversees iFiber operations as Executive Director of Regional Technology Services, NIU Division of Information Technology, arranged for a mobile generator if it was needed. Jen Uridil-Dolman, Project Manager and Damage Assessor for NIU/iFiber Broadband, provided information on the battery life and records of the preventative maintenance done. Joe Trickey, Sales Engineer and Project Manager, provided technical information on the generator and site electrical options. He also ensured the details were covered for all contingency options to make sure nothing was overlooked.
iFiber (Illinois Fiber Resources Group, not-for-profit) continually works to provide the best possible platform for its Community Anchor Institutions and Service Provider Partners. Since its inception in 2011, iFiber has completed several upgrades of its core network backbone devices.
iFiber has five core sites which ensure redundancy in service. iFiber’s ring architecture design provides a redundant route out of regional sites through ring protection with its Core and Distribution network. In the event of a fiber cut in one location along one of its major routes, iFiber will continue to provide services through its Core and Distribution network.
iFiber is proud to continue offering an open-access fiber option to serve communities working with our service provider partners. iFiber is dedicated to its commitment to meeting ever-changing communication needs now and into the future.