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University of Notre Dame

As a major university, Notre Dame has researchers, faculty and students working and studying in far−off corners of the globe.

So it needs a top−notch data transmission system to communicate with them. Notre found that − and more − with Metronet.

"We are not contained to a finite footprint comprising our campus," says Dewitt Latimer, chief technology officer and deputy CIO at the university.

"Metronet’s optic fiber system has been a real boon to our teaching and research efforts, helping faculty, staff and students share huge amounts of data for research projects," he says.

On a typical day, he says Metronet allows the university to transmit an average of roughly five terabytes − the equivalent of about 7,406 CDs.

He says tapping into the powerful telecommunications capacity of Metronet makes it possible for colleagues in South Bend to communicate and hold real−time teleconferences with peers working in Antarctica or even run multi−site meetings with scientists working in the jungles of Africa.

"We have interests all over the place and a lot of needs," adds Latimer, who notes that Notre Dame was one of the initial founders of Metronet and a main instigator.

Latimer says Notre Dame maintains several major connections to and from South Bend’s old Union Station, the so−called "carrier hotel" that is home to Metronet and other telecom operators.

"We maintain several gig links to connect with our national and international peers," he said. "We also have disaster recovery and hot sites at three data centers spread throughout South Bend and we maintain redundant links to all those facilities."

By using Metronet instead of a commercial carrier, Latimer says the savings to Notre Dame have been "substantial."

In addition, he says the university has benefited from Metronet by "allowing us to do things that we wouldn’t have been able to do."

"As you go through any initiative and start costing things out, it seems like high−speed networking is always one of those (financial) deal breakers," he says. "Disaster recovery is a good example."

"There are lots of schools that would love to have a secondary data center, disconnected from their campus. But the second you throw in the networking component, it becomes very problematic and very expensive so a lot of schools just don’t do it."

"By not being burdened with those expensive networking services, it allows us a lot of freedom to execute and do things we might not otherwise be able to do," he said.

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