ITSD recognized several years ago the need for cellular service on the Yard as they watched land line use decline, said the division’s executive director Doug Afdahl. But the Naval Academy facilities – and Bancroft Hall especially – presented a unique challenge in providing consistent, high-quality coverage.
"We live in an environment here at the Naval Academy that has a lot of boundary conditions," said Lou Giannotti, ITSD director. "It's not easy to provide this type of service when you have many feet of block construction that prevents signals from traveling."
Providing 4G/LTE service inside the largest building on the Yard required the installation of more than 300 antennas, wired to a communications room on each floor which are in turn wired to main equipment rooms.
"There's a very sophisticated infrastructure to this system," said Giannotti. "There's a lot of equipment, a lot of wiring, a lot of different types of antennas."
Outfitting Bancroft Hall is the first in a multiphase project to provide high-quality cellular service across the Yard.
"If we can overcome those obstacles in Bancroft Hall, we can prove that it works well and we can spread that throughout the Naval Academy," said Giannotti.
The project goes a long way to improving quality of life for midshipmen, faculty and staff on the Yard.
"We believe this is extremely important to the midshipmen," said Giannotti. "It provides them connectivity, keeps them mobile. These are the kind of things they thrive on. It's important to them and therefore it's important to us that we be able to provide this."