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SMU Deals With Bandwidth Demands

University spends millions to keep students connected

By Keaton Fox
|  Wednesday, May 15, 2013  |  Updated 1:38 PM CDT
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SMU spends millions to keep its students -- and their average five devices that use the Internet -- online.

Keaton Fox, NBC 5 News

SMU spends millions to keep its students -- and their average five devices that use the Internet -- online.

There's no shortage of technology on college campuses today, but a drag on bandwidth comes with all that technology.

The average student has five devices that use the Internet -- everything from laptops to iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and even gaming devices.

"It's challenging," said Joe Gargiulo, who runs Southern Methodist University's information technology systems. "The expectation is they're all going to work and the bandwidth is going to be there to support it, so you get to five real easy. We've got some that get up to 10 and 12, and we've got to make it work."

Gargiulo's job is to make sure the Internet pipes can handle all the traffic.

"We really are plumbers, when you think about it," he said. "The network is only as good as the copper and fiber the network data passes through."

SMU has put in some big pipes to handle all the research and studying-related Internet activity -- as well as all the Netflix-watching and gaming.

The university spends millions keeping up with demands. It completely rewired the dorms to give them the highest speeds possible. And SMU is building a brand new data center to handle more data and more computing.

But the job is never really done.

"From an infrastructure perspective, you're never ever actually done," Gargiulo said. "You start on one end; by the time you get to the other end, it's time to go back and start all over again. With the number of components we've got that make up the infrastructure -- between the routers, the switches, the security devices, the cabling, all of those things -- you're never done."

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