[ISN] Can you hear me now? In Senate buildings, the answer is yes

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Wed Mar 02 2005 - 23:50:22 PST

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk@private>


By Brad Grimes 
GCN Staff

The Senate this week activated an in-house cellular network that lets 
government employees place and receive calls from the bowels of the 
legislative body's various buildings. They can even check their 
BlackBerry devices. 

No sooner did the service go live Monday than Senate CIO Greg Hanson 
began receiving positive feedback. 

"I'm getting calls from my customers saying 'Greg, my cell phone works 
in the cafeteria of the Dirksen Building,'" Hanson said today at a 
wireless technology conference in Washington. 

The service is not yet available in all Senate buildings - the 
infrastructure is still being rolled out in the Capitol itself - but 
it does support almost all commercial cellular services. Hanson said 
the Senate had reached agreements with all but one cellular carrier. 
He declined to name the sole holdout but expected the carrier's 
service to be live on the Senate network by the end of the month. 

The cellular capabilities are part of an extensive hybrid wireless 
network the Senate is building with technology from MobileAccess Inc. 
of Vienna, Va. 

Not only do the Senate's wireless access points support cellular 
communications, they also allow wireless IEEE 802.11b/g access to 
various networks. Hanson said WiFi access was currently operational in 
approximately 40 percent of the Senate’s office space, which includes 
the Dirksen, Hart and Russell Senate office buildings. 

When deciding how to build a wireless infrastructure that supports 
both cellular and WiFi communications, Hanson said the Senate decided 
it wanted to own the infrastructure and sell the bandwidth back to 
commercial carriers, who in turn sell their services across the 

"How do you satisfy everyone by making [the network] carrier 
agnostic?" Hanson said. Senators and their staff tend to have their 
favorite cellular services because coverage varies from state to 

As it rolls out further, WiFi networking, which the Senate secures 
with hard tokens, virtual private networking and other measures, will 
require new policies. 

"Some offices didn't want to wait so they went to Best Buy and set up 
their own wireless networks," Hanson said. 

Hanson said his office is working with the Senate Rules Committee on a 
policy that would require Senate offices to shut down unauthorized 
wireless networks. For now, Hanson said, his staff does periodic 
"war walking" to identify rogue access points. 

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org

Bellua Cyber Security Asia 2005 -

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