When you’re in charge of creating a wireless infrastructure for an event that drops 125,000 balloons at its culmination, you know that you deployed a network for a huge party.




Since 2000, Cisco has been the Network Technological Provider for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. That means that Cisco provided the networking equipment, which includes the hardware, software and services to these two conventions since Al Gore and George W. Bush were pitted against one another.

This year’s Republican National Convention (RNC) ran from July 18-21 in Cleveland, OH. While the majority of the action took place at the home of the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers: the Quicken Loans Arena, the event was actually spread out over four venues. One of the reasons why Cisco network architects only had 32 days to set up the infrastructure was because the Cavs played so late into the NBA season.

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) took place a week later (running form July 25-28) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. While the DNC architects had a bit longer to prepare their site, 58 days, the amount of venues doubled that of Cleveland; eight to four.

With two such enormous events, a incredible amount of gear was required. There were over 300 Cisco Aironet 3500, 3600, and 3700 Series Access Points deployed in Cleveland to handle the crush of people that attended the conferences. In Philadelphia, a similar amount of Cisco Aironet 3700 Series Access Points and Cisco 8510 Wireless LAN Controllers were used to create the network infrastructure. It was estimated that 10,000 delegates and alternate delegates along with 15,000 media representatives were at both conferences.

The amount of data that was transported via Cisco infrastructure in Cleveland during that time was 28.5TB. To put that another way, that’s the equivalent of someone constantly streaming video every day for almost ten years. In Philadelphia, even more data was used: 50.4TB. This data usage was broken up over social media apps, videos and web browsing.

Rounding out the solution was Cisco Identity Service Engine (ISE) which made sure that the network was secure.

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Byron Magrane

Product Manager, Marketing