recommended reading

White House might finally go wireless

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Obama and the White House staff can tap into some of the most sophisticated communications systems in the world, but not the wireless networks found in many U.S. households -- a technology gap the Defense Information Systems Agency wants to fix.

DISA, in a notice to industry posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Wednesday, said the White House Communications Agency, which it manages, is looking for a White House campus Wi-Fi network. The network would serve 60 buildings, along with a half mile of three roads next to the White House and several outdoor areas.

The detailed sources sought notice said the lack of a Wi-Fi network has affected the daily operations of White House personnel who have "embraced the use of a mobile virtual architecture."

The staffs of the president, vice president, National Security Council and Secret Service "operate in a mobile environment away from more traditional land line/fixed cable infrastructure," the sources sought notice stated. "In order to fulfill this mission WHCA must provide wireless connectivity in fixed, mobile and temporary environments."

DISA said the White House campus network should support access to Defense Department unclassified networks and the commercial Internet, with both services transmitted from the same access points using separate service set identifiers, which broadcast the name of each network.

The planned Wi-Fi environment should allow White House staffers to move from one access point to another without losing a signal, DISA said.

The agency specified the latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n, which has a raw data rate of 600 megabits a second and backward compatibility with the older 802.11 a/b/g standards.

The 802.11 a and g standards provide maximum data throughput of 54 megabits per second and the 802.11b standard transmits data at a rate of 11 megabits per second. The White House Wi-Fi network needs to operate in the unlicensed 5-GHz frequency band that access points and clients on the 802.11a standard use as well as the 2.4-GHz frequency band for 802.11 b/g devices, DISA said.

Howard Robertson, federal sales manager for Wi-Fi access point vendor Tropos Networks, said his company has supplied this kind of campus network to corporations. He estimated it would take about 135 access points to meet the White House coverage requirements -- two access points per building for a total of 120, plus another 15 for outdoor coverage.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.