Columbia College Chicago Leverages Cutting-edge Dark Fiber Solution to Greatly Expand Bandwidth Availability

VERNON HILLS, Ill. – October 24, 2011 – For many colleges, students downloading videos, photographs, music and other media-rich content is an activity that strains the network and the patience of IT staff.  However, at Columbia College Chicago, the largest private arts and media college in North America, accessing and editing media content in real time is vital to students and their studies, but the college had an aging network that limited their access to critical course materials.  Working with CDW Government LLC (CDW-G), a leading provider of technology solutions to government, education and healthcare customers, the college is implementing a dark fiber solution that will significantly expand bandwidth to all campus locations.

CDW-G recommended Sidera Networks to provide the dark fiber network connection that will enable the college to scale its network at will.  Dark fiber is a custom, private connection that, when combined with the latest routing and switching technology, will help Columbia College Chicago manage its own network and reduce bandwidth restrictions and extra costs from a local telecommunications provider.

“The majority of our academic programs are digital in nature, and students need to be able to access and move large files over the network,” said Bernadette McMahon, area vice president and chief information officer, Columbia College Chicago.  “On our older network, students have to physically walk large audio and media files between buildings.  With dark fiber, students can move and access their course files with a click of a mouse from any building on campus.”  In addition to the educational benefits, McMahon noted that the college expects to recoup its infrastructure investment within three years, and it will reinvest those savings in new classroom technology.

Columbia College Chicago turned to CDW-G to evaluate multiple carriers and recommend the best solution for its students and faculty.  “We understood that Columbia College Chicago’s students needed faster and more reliable access,” said Andy Lausch, vice president for higher education, CDW-G.  “In recommending Sidera Networks, we looked at the college’s current and future bandwidth needs, and Columbia College Chicago selected Sidera Networks from among the 60 telecommunications carriers we work with because of the company’s track record and ability to build out complex fiber networks.  The dark fiber solution will enable students to learn and collaborate on projects in real time, without being hindered by a cumbersome network.”

The dark fiber network, which will be completed this winter, will connect fifteen buildings, enabling the college’s 12,000 students and more than 2,000 academic staff to seamlessly access Web tools and applications.

“Columbia College Chicago’s network had extremely limited bandwidth.  With Sidera’s dark fiber solution, the college will see a much larger bandwidth capacity – more than 10 gigabytes – without additional costs,” said Tony Bloom, vice president of wholesale, Sidera Networks.  “Columbia College Chicago built its dark fiber solution in a ring topology, which independently connects each building to provide the college with built-in redundancy.”  Bloom explained that if one section of the fiber is cut, causing an outage, the college’s network technology will automatically re-route data around the ring, ensuring that the network remains up and eliminating the risk of data loss.

“Dark fiber will change our connectivity and infrastructure for the better, providing a truly digital environment that our media arts students expect,” McMahon said.  “We wanted to implement dark fiber for a long time, and CDW-G and Sidera Networks helped us select the best solution for our needs and at a price point in line with our budget.”

For more information about CDW-G’s telecommunications solutions for higher education, please visit www.cdwg.com/content/services/telecommunications.aspx.

About CDW-G
A wholly owned subsidiary of CDW LLC, ranked No. 38 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, CDW Government LLC (CDW-G) is a leading provider of technology solutions to government, education and healthcare customers. The company features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs. The company’s solutions architects and engineers offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Areas of focus include notebooks, desktops, printers, servers and storage, unified communications, security, wireless, power and cooling, networking, software licensing and mobility solutions.

For more information about CDW-G product offerings, procurement options, service and solutions, call 1.800.808.4239, email cdwgsales@cdwg.com or visit the CDW-G Web site at CDWG.com.

About Sidera Networks
Sidera Networks, LLC, www.sidera.net, is the premier provider of tailored, high capacity communications services to carrier and enterprise customers. Sidera Networks offers a comprehensive suite of facilities-based services including: Ethernet, SONET, Wavelength, Dark Fiber, Internet Access, Colocation and more. With a fiber optic network leveraging unique rights-of-way that delivers connectivity to the major metropolitan areas from Maine to Virginia and out to Chicago, as well as access to Toronto and London, Sidera is committed to delivering cost-effective, custom solutions coupled with superior industry expertise, service and support.

For more information about Sidera and its leading network solutions, visit www.sidera.net or follow Sidera on twitter @sideranetworks.