For GOP, Wireless Is MIA - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Business & Finance

For GOP, Wireless Is MIA

For their convention, the Republican Party eschewed Wi-Fi wireless networks in favor of 40,000 miles of cables that feed phones, high-speed Internet connections, and broadcast circuits.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The wiring at the Republican National Convention is rich enough to download the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in roughly 30 seconds. More noteworthy, though, is what the gathering lacks: Wi-Fi wireless networks for Internet access.

Max Everett, the convention's infotech director, considered Wi-Fi unproven technology that carries security risks and could interfere with remote-control technologies used by broadcast networks.

So Verizon Communications Inc. returned to the basics with cabling: Some 40,000 miles that snake through Madison Square Garden and the adjacent media center, feeding more than 5,000 phone lines, 300 high-speed Internet connections, and 140 broadcast circuits.

Thin red, orange, blue, and green wires jut out of racks of networking equipment hidden in one makeshift utility closet. Bundles of cables drop from the ceiling into skyboxes used by broadcasters. Wires poke through small holes on the floor of the main convention hall.

Making the wiring fit into the area's tight space required a careful study of the floor plan, said Karen M. Daidone, Verizon's project manager. Technicians will have only three weeks to rip everything out once the convention ends Thursday night.

Verizon's wireless unit, meanwhile, upgraded cellular equipment inside the Garden and throughout midtown Manhattan, including the train tunnels underneath the arena. Much of the equipment will stay afterward.

Verizon Wireless and Nextel Communications Inc. have trucks equipped with cellular transmitters on standby for any emergencies.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is providing free tablet PCs, handhelds, laptops, and printers, as the company did during the Democratic convention.

Compared to four years ago, there's less paper and greater use of computers to hold schedules, speeches, and other details, Everett said. Still, he doesn't want to rely too much on the most advanced technologies.

"The more technology you have out there, the more things that can break," Everett said. "When you're bringing in hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, you just want to make sure things are basic and simple enough so they can just walk in and start working."

Broadcast networks, on the other hand, are more willing to experiment.

CNN ordered microphones and earpieces that are wireless and custom-fitted to each reporter or crew member's ears. Older technologies pick up too much background noise to broadcast extensively from the convention floor, said David Bohrman, CNN's Washington bureau chief. CNN also ordered newer wireless cameras.

The increased reliance on wireless does raise the prospect for interference. So last week, broadcasters, law enforcement personnel, and other wireless users turned on their equipment simultaneously at full blast, so adjustments could be made.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Rethinking IT: Tech Investments that Drive Business Growth
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/3/2019
IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/1/2019
Six Inevitable Technologies and the Milestones They Unlock
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  10/3/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll