StateTech magazine profiles wireless upgrades at Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center

Did you know that Asheville’s civic center — now dubbed the U.S. Cellular Center — has gigabit wireless service? StateTech — a publication that “helps state and local government IT leaders evaluate and implement technology to help organizations work better, smarter and at less cost — profiles the update in a Sept. 14 post by Carolyn Duffy Marsa today: “Why 802.11ac Wi-Fi Networks Appeal to Agencies.” (Local Twitterati “Tatuaje” tweeted about the article.)

Last November, Asheville City Council cited the need for a variety of upgrades at the 1970s-era Civic Center, and approved a $1.3 million deal for the civic center, granting naming rights to U.S. Cellular.

Excerpt from StateTech’s online magazine

As host to the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament in 2013 and 2014, the city of Asheville, N.C., is closely following an emerging wireless standard that promises to bring gigabit speeds to Wi-Fi networks.

Dubbed 802.11ac, the next-generation standard could enhance the civic center’s ability to provide video streaming to the press. “Our venue has some of the best wireless that ESPN reporters have ever seen, and we would like to keep it that way,” says Jonathan Feldman, director of IT services for the city of Asheville.

The civic center has an 802.11n Wi-Fi network that provides megabit speeds to reporters and fans. Feldman will consider upgrading it to 802.11ac in 2014.

Enhanced support for video is one of the drivers behind the development of 802.11ac, which is winding its way through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards process and is on track to be approved early next year. …

Back in Asheville, Feldman isn’t standing still waiting for 802.11ac products in order to provide the best possible video streaming at the city’s civic center. “We’ve got areas where the reporters can get to a wired network to upload all their photos and video,” he says. “And we’re using traffic shaping today so one person watching Netflix is not destroying the wireless connectivity for everyone else.”


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