DISA Eyes Wi-Fi at Fort Meade

The network would cover more than 1 million square feet of office space over five buildings.

The Defense Information System Agency plans to cover its Fort Meade, Md., campus with Wi-Fi service, a technology embraced by coffee shops worldwide about a decade ago.

In a request to industry earlier this month, the agency said it wants the network to blanket its campus, which includes five buildings with of 1.1 million square feet housing over 4,300 personnel.

DISA wants the short range wireless system to provide service in offices, 95 conference rooms, four auditoriums, nine classrooms, four lobby areas, a cafeteria and courtyard.

The agency wants to use commercial Wi-Fi systems operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Those conform to the 802.11N standard, which has a maximum data rate of 600 megabits per second with the same type of WPA2 encryption I use here at my home office in the original Las Vegas, N.M.

DISA plans to run only unclassified traffic over the Wi-FI network and also plans to install a guest network for the use of non-Defense Department employees, which I assume will consists mostly of visiting contractors.

This is a plain vanilla but highly visible installation, and I bet DISA will attract a lot of interest when and if it puts the project out for bid.