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As grids become more available and mature in real world settings, users are faced with considerations regarding the efficiency of applications and their capability of utilizing additional nodes distributed over a wide area network. When both tightly coupled clusters and loosely gathered grids are available, a cost effective organization will schedule applications that can execute with minimal performance degradation over wide-area networks on grids, while reserving clusters for applications with high communication costs. We analyze the performance of the NAS parallel benchmarks using both MPICH-G2 and MPICH with the ch_p4 device. We compare the results of these communication devices on both tightly and loosely coupled systems, and present an analysis of how parallel applications perform in real-world environments. We make recommendations as to where applications run most efficiently, and under what conditions.