Museums and the Web

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Wireless Networking at the Victoria & Albert Museum

TitleWireless Networking at the Victoria & Albert Museum
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsCroxford, I.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2006: Proceedings
Conference Start DateMarch 22 - 25
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedAlbuquerque, New Mexico, USA
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordshandheld, network, public access, wireless

The V&A was one of the earliest adopters of Wireless networking in Europe as it offered a cost effective solution for providing network access for operational functions where the historic fabric of the building made it very difficult to get approval for traditional copper cabling. We have charted the progress of technology and standards, and have first hand experience of the problems of security and reliability inherent in the technology. We now have an IP based telephony system at the main South Kensington site, and have to manage a fully converged network that requires standards of reliability hitherto unknown in the museum. We have progressed from using Wireless networks for internal use to providing interactives and digital installations in the galleries, and hope to use Wireless as the main technology for providing digital activities in the galleries. With the opening of the Education Study Centre in 2007, we will be providing full open wireless access facilities to students and visitors, and have planned the infrastructure and security necessary to manage them in a cost effective and safe manner. We look forward to sharing experiences with other academic institutions that have similarly opened up their networks.