Technology Region

Northern Illinois, with the foundation of Metro Chicago, is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding centers for technology, a great place to do business, and a great place to start businesses involving advanced technologies. The metro technology economy is fairly diversified, and offers significant advantages for companies in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and communications technology.
People working on computerspeople working in a lab 

North Central Illinois Fiber - The fiber network in the region is extensive, serving all the major cities and industrial sites in the 3 county region. Service is available with >1Gbps download speed. Providers are Frontier, IFiber, and Windstream. For more information:

Click Here to see if iFiber is near you - Interactive Map

Surprising Metro Chicago

A recent "High-Tech and I-Tech" analysis by the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota ranked Chicago as the number one city for both, the number of high-technology and information-technology workers.

  • Over 347,000 high-tech workers employed by Chicago companies - #1 in the nation
  • More than 440 research and development facilities
  • Over 30 federally funded research centers, led by Argonne National Labs and Fermilab
  • Deep, Diverse Talent Pool

As home to three of the world's top ranked institutions for technological innovation, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and DePaul University. Chicago has become known as a breeding ground for some of the greatest technology minds.

  • 21,300 computer programmers (33% more than Silicon Valley)
  • Over 107,000 persons in computer and mathematical occupations
  • 23,190 computer software engineers
  • 16,880 computer support specialists
  • 18,300 computer systems analysts
  • 4,730 database administrators
  • 7,950 network and computer systems administrators
  • 31,600+ engineers
  • 25,000 life and physical scientists
  • 220 biochemists and biophysicists
  • 3,980 chemists
  • 190 material scientists
  • 700 environmental scientists and specialists

Venture Investment
Venture capital investment in Northern Illinois tops over $ 2 Billion a year and the region is consistently in the Top 20  U.S. metros in the receipt of total venture-backed investment dollars. There are currently more than 120 venture capital funds located in the Chicago metro area.

As a globally recognized hub for advanced (high-speed) communications networks, a strong portion of regional commitments were dedicated to companies focused on infrastructure related products, from opto-electronic subsystems and crystal manufacturing to the delivery of long-haul fiber optic bandwidth capacity.

Additionally, Northern Illinois is witnessing a dramatic burst of investment into locally based wireless equipment, application, and network providers. With national investment activity accelerating toward mobile technology, it looks like the Chicago region is taking center stage. Recent venture funds were created, concentrating the bulk of their investments within the fields of robotics, biotechnology, and wireless development.

Unprecedented Surge
Consistent with its history of being a center for applied technologies, the region has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of firms that specialize in the production of telecommunications routing and switching equipment, wireless technologies, and instrumentation critical to data, voice, and video transfer.

As such, Northern Illinois is a world leader in advanced digital communications. Geographically positioned as the centerpoint for advanced (high-speed) networks across the U.S., Chicago is home to the largest Internet exchange point in the world, the Chicago NAP (Network Access Point), located downtown. Chicago is also home to North America's largest telecommunications "carrier hotel," the Lakeside Technology Center, located downtown.

World Leader in Advanced Digital Communications Technology
The Chicago Network Access Point (NAP)--the world's largest Internet exchange point by volume--is located in the central business district. The majority of the advanced telecommunications infrastructure within the region connects directly to the NAP in order to exchange traffic. 

Today - Chicago is World Leader in Advanced Digital Communications

  • More data moves through Chicago's Internet infrastructure than anywhere on earth
  • 10 terabytes/day = a rate of 90,000 full pages of text per second
  • 40 of the National Internet Service Providers (NSPs) connect directly to the Chicago NAP
  • More than 125 different companies, organizations, or institutions peer at the Chicago NAP
  • All 46 of the NSPs have a POP (point-of-presence) in the Chicago area
  • Metro Chicago has a substantial concentration of firms specializing in the production of telecommunications equipment, switches, wireless communications technology, and related devices central to voice and data networks (e.g., Motorola, Lucent Technologies, Tellabs, Rockwell Electronic Commerce, Westell Technologies, U.S. Robotics)
  • North America's largest "carrier hotel" (server/data storage/routing hardware facility) is located in downtown Chicago--The Lakeside Technology Center

Tomorrow - Chicago is World Leader in Next Generation Advanced Digital Communications

Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point (STAR TAP)
The only facility in the world that allows for a cooperative interconnection point among numerous international advanced networks is located in Chicago and peers at the Chicago NAP.

  • 15 international advanced networks and/or consortia networks interconnect at STAR TAP
  • 6 U.S. advanced networks interconnect at STAR TAP
  • STAR TAP enables network flow to international collaborators from over 150 U.S. leading-edge research universities and institutions, including supercomputing centers.
  • The research projects that STAR TAP helps to foster are among the most computation-demanding and/or data-intensive applications in the world.

A few examples of these applications are as follows:

  • Access Grid: Wide-Area Group Collaborative Visualization - is designed to support large-scale distributed meetings, collaborative teamwork sessions, seminars, lecturers, tutorials, and training.
  • GiDVN: Global Internet Digital Video Network - these projects are enhancing media capabilities for the next-generation Internet, enabling new applications to interoperate.
  • Alive: Architectural Linked Immersive Environment - is used to evaluate the usability of collaborative virtual reality for architectural design.
  • Caterpillar's Distributed Virtual Reality System - was designed for engineers, located remotely, to work together on vehicle design.
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