Communication and information access using wireless devices is as common and essential for Wisconsin State legislators as it is for consumers and private sector business environments. The existing Wi-Fi network for legislators in the Capitoll was dated and failing at times when access to it was most important. Time for a change!
There are various wireless networks that exist in the State Capitol, each for specific groups such as the Supreme Court and sometimes the media. The Wisconsin Legislative Technology Services Bureau, which is responsible for all IT needs for the legislators, realized that the very old Wi-Fi system and network created frustrations for the legislators and ongoing performance challenges for the IT team. The decision was made to implement a system based on a solid network design.
CC&N was engaged to engineer the new design due to our reputation of being able to solve complex design challenges. And, there were many challenges within the facility! Granite columns and stairs abound that are unfriendly to wireless signals, very thick walls with ornate architectural features impeded signals and the other specialized wireless networks that existed can produce interference. Extensive surveying was necessary. A complex design focused on placing access points strategically where wireless access for legislators was needed while avoiding facility limitations and signal interference. The plan also had to respect the status of the Capitol as a National Historic Landmark, as it was built in 1917 as a replica of the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. This required where and how to mount wireless access points and the associated cable paths had to be designed very carefully and aesthetically.
The Technology Services bureau is very pleased with how the new design will perform efficiently and meet the need for a high-speed network for the legislative users. The implementation will be complete by mid-2018.