Republican Convention building getting "hooked-up" in preparation

September 2, 2008

Republican Convention building getting hooked-up in preparation The Republican National Convention to be held in Minneapolis is warranting some major improvements to the Xcel Center- the building housing the convention and all its visitors.  Qwest Communications along with event staff have been working for the past 16 months getting everything ready, including taking on the task of completely re-wiring the Xcel Center to prepare for the massive amounts of data, video, and gadget-use. 

Qwest, the official communications provider for the convention, has laid the groundwork for wireline voice and data services in the Xcel Center, according to CNet.  The aggregate data capacity of Qwest’s network is about 50 billion bits per second, or fast enough to transmit an entire HD movie in just a few seconds.  That speed and more will be needed for the Convention, but Qwest is up to the task.

Qwest overlaid 100 percent of the wiring in the Xcel Center, even though the building is only eight years old.  Trent Clausen, Qwest’s director of network operations for the RNC, said that the building’s age made the transition to Qwest’s network “pretty seamless.”  The only problem was trying to hide the miles and miles of wire within the building, given its vast openness.

Among the many tasks involved, 229 miles of copper and coaxial cable were ran, as well as 12 miles of high-capacity fiber-optic lines for a network spanning more than 138,000 route miles.  The result of this means Ethernet-based service at a 10-Megabit or 100-Megabit level will be available to anyone who orders it anywhere within the Xcel Center or the adjacent parking lots.  Above that, Qwest will be able to deliver up to a gigabyte of bandwidth via Ethernet to any point in the venue.  “We’ve done provisioning of services to anywhere someone wants a drop,” Clausen said. “So even if somebody requests a service at a far corner of a storeroom, we have generally honored every one of those requests.”

These conventions, along with all the political events for that matter, are seeing a larger need to bandwidth to handle the massive amount of data and video streaming taking place.  The GOP will be streaming a much higher volume of video than it has at previous conventions, and from multiple locations, “in an effort to give people a better view of what it’s like on the ground here at the convention,” said Max Everett, RNC chief information officer.

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