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The introduction of optical private networks (lightpaths) has significantly improved the capacity of long distance network links, making it feasible to run large parallel applications in a distributed fashion on multiple sites of a computational grid. Besides offering bandwidths of 10 Gbit/s or more, lightpaths also allow network connections to be dynamically reconfigured. This paper describes our experiences with running data-intensive applications on a grid that offers a (manually) reconfigurable optical wide-area network. We show that the flexibility offered by such a network is useful for applications and that it is often possible to estimate the necessary network configuration in advance.