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Kilkenny’s Wi-Fi network ghosts through castle walls

Ireland's Office of Public Works (OPW) has rolled out a high-power wireless network at 12th century Kilkenny Castle to provide internet access to staff and visitors.

The castle, home to an art gallery, conference centre, a branch of the OPW and 60 staff, was difficult to connect internally because it is a world heritage site. This places restrictions on modifying the structure or appearance of the building.

"We wanted to help boost staff productivity and increase revenues from the conference centre, where guests expected high-speed internet connectivity," said Paul Smith, project manager at the OPW.

The only external link to the castle was a dial-up internet connection, which was too slow to meet the needs of those working at the castle and using the conference centre.

"Although a wireless network was an obvious solution this also had challenges because of the castle's thick walls and irregular layout across six floors in three separate wings," said Smith.

The OPW contracted Dimension Network Systems to plan and roll out the network. The network service provider used a combination of Motorola wireless technologies of different ranges to provide internal connectivity of 11gbps across 90% of the castle and a 20gps link to the outside world via the local OPW headquarters.

Dimension Network Systems used Motorola WS5100 switches and Wi-Fi access points to provide unobtrusive coverage at the castle, and Motorola high-power PTP 400 Ethernet bridges to link various parts of the site, as well as provide long-range external connectivity.

"The wireless access points were easily hidden from view and installation was completed in four days without disrupting guided tours of the castle," said Smith.


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