Northwestern University is a major research university with two campuses in the Chicago area. With more than 21,000 students, the university operates an annual budget of over $2 billion and receives more than $600 million in research grants each year.

At a glance.

Company Name

Northwestern University




21,000 students
3,300 faculty members

Solutions Used

Dark Fiber



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The need.

  • Guaranteed bandwidth to conduct advanced research.

  • Meet data demands of students and faculty living and studying on campus.

  • Streamline VoIP and IP video initiatives with high-bandwidth connections and reliable network availability.

  • A private network to ensure the highest levels of security.

  • Redundancies built in to prevent any disruption from a single failure.

The solution.

  • We built a dark fiber network to allow Northwestern to meet bandwidth needs at a fixed cost.

  • A fully redundant fiber optic ring connecting the university’s two campuses at multiple locations, with a connection point at the StarLight facility, an advanced international network exchange funded by the National Science Foundation.

The impact.

  • With their new dark fiber solution, Northwestern is able to meet the high-bandwidth demands of their students and faculty.

  • The built-in redundancies give them security and the knowledge that a single failure won’t jeopardize their research.

  • Communication is optimized between Northwestern’s two campuses.

  • With the ability to share and explore high volumes of data, researchers are able to collaborate with colleagues across the globe.

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