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MCI Gives The Heart of A Network to UVa

February 14, 1997

MCI Donates High-Speed Data Switches To Engineering School

Sending U.Va. a Valentine, MCI today donated six Cisco Lightstream Switches to the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The gift, valued at nearly $1 million, will be announced at a dedication ceremony at 11:30 a.m. in Conference Room 228-E in Olsson Hall on Friday, Feb. 14.

The switches will provide the backbone for U.Va.'s high-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network, which can be used for research and data applications by many different departments. Already, researchers in computer science and radiology have built a network for transmitting digital mammograms from the Medical Center to a computer lab in the engineering school. The switches will enable them to establish a dedicated network capable of managing massive amounts of data as they work to enhance the system's quality.

Charles Lee, senior manager of MCI Government Markets, said, "MCI knows the benefits of high-performance networking and we are pleased that this gift will enable U.Va. to use those advantages to further its state-of-the-art research."

In the same way that a heart and valves conduct the flow of blood through the body, a switch, which is a mechanical device, controls the flow of data through a computer system by opening and closing different pathways. The switch is also critical in determining how much and how fast data can move through the network, which is formed when there is a link between two or more switches.

"With these switches, a world of possibilities opens for U.Va.," said Jorg Liebeherr, assistant professor of computer science. "Once the system is completed, we will be able to access radial imaging data immediately from any location connected to this network. That in turn will allow medical and computer science researchers to work together to conceive and improve medical imaging applications. And with the University's planned connection to the nation's high-speed computer network this summer, we can expect to enter into research collaborations on a nationwide basis."

MCI is providing six Cisco LightStream L2020 Switches and the corresponding software licenses. The equipment will be replaced as MCI upgrades its very High Speed Backbone Network (vBNS).

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., MCI provides a full range of integrated communication services to more than 20 million customers. With annual revenues of more than $18 billion, MCI is one of the largest and fastest growing telecommunication companies in the world.

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