This weekend, Georgetown County will replace a portion of its network core, housed at the historic courthouse. Once complete, the process will result in better network connectivity and faster connections, said Johnny Pope, a network engineer with the county’s MIS Department.
“It’s a rack of switches, basically, that controls everything in this building and provides connection to our network and to the internet,” Pope explained.
MIS staff has been working with HTC to prepare for the replacement. While the replacement is in process, internet and network services at many county sites will be down. 911 services will not be impacted. The only public services that will be affected are the county’s GIS system and online tax payments, which will not be accessible for at least part of this weekend.
One of the ways the county has been preparing for the core replacement is through the purchase of a cache of Cradlepoint routers. Cradlepoints are networking devices that provide reliable internet connectivity. They are frequently used when traditional networks are down or otherwise unavailable in an area. They will keep departments that are open on Saturday online, and serve as a backup to keep county offices running the following week in the unlikely event something goes wrong during the core replacement, or the replacement takes longer than anticipated and the outage stretches into Monday business hours.
After the replacement, the Cradlepoint devices will become part of the county’s disaster kit, ready to be deployed if a hurricane or other event takes down the county’s network.
“You can hook up anywhere from 15-20 devices to each one of these,” Pope said. “We’ll have them on standby to be deployed to various departments so people can still have access to the Internet, email, anything they need that’s web-based.”
Departments will also be able to check them out for special circumstances, such as travel or hosting an event somewhere that doesn’t have reliable internet service.
The MIS Department purchased 13 Cradlepoint devices. Additional Cradlepoints are also housed in the Emergency Management Division, 911 and the Sheriff’s Office.