The Field Museum in Chicago recently upgraded its data services to a 1Gbps Ethernet connection from Comcast Business.

The additional bandwidth allows museum goers to interact with collections, content and exhibits while giving the museum’s staff a faster connection for file transfers and other business uses. 

Before the upgrade to Ethernet Dedicated Internet, the museum’s entire staff and business applications had to share an Internet connection of 30 Mbps. With the upgrade, the museum’s Wi-Fi system can now transfers more than 15.5 Terabytes (TB) of data a year to more than 113,000 individual users.

“Museums are expected to continually incorporate new digital technologies and make visitor experiences even more interactive. Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet has helped us meet these challenges by providing a reliable, high-capacity network that we can scale as needed,” said Rob Zschernitz, director of technology, The Field Museum. “Further, it gives us the ability to provide a more interactive and immersive experience for our visitors.”

Located in Chicago's lakefront Museum Campus, the Field Museum features natural history collections and is home to exhibitions and educational programs. 

On the IT front, the museum has also expanded its core internal network, replaced its storage area network technology—expanding its data storage capacity to over 120TB (to be further expanded to over 160TB by this summer)—and increased and upgraded its virtual server infrastructure. This will not only increase energy efficiency, it will support advanced features, such as server uptime and centralized management.

The museum also released a mobile app last fall, which is loaded with exclusive content, experiences and curated tours, according to Zchernitz.

“Through video and sound, museum scientists give visitors greater insight into featured artifacts and specimens,” said Zchernitz. “In addition, visitors can use the museum’s Wi-Fi to share their favorite tours with friends or create their own tours based on interest or theme. New objects and tours are added on a regular basis, so there is always something new to discover.”

Recently, the museum deployed gigabit Ethernet connectivity across the entire facility.  Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet also provides the museum more bandwidth and a highly secure, dedicated connection between its existing Local Area Network (LAN) and the Internet.  Because Ethernet is flexible, the museum can ramp up its bandwidth requirements to 10 Gbps to meet future needs.

“As a community anchor institution, The Field Museum is a cultural icon in education, research, exhibits and events in Chicago. Based on its recent IT projects, we also can add technology innovator to that list,” said Jay Dirkmaat, regional vice president, Comcast Business. “From deploying a network throughout the museum to online access to the museum’s collection of 24 million exhibit items and even microsites for extended digital exploration of exhibits, Ethernet is proving to be a powerful new addition for the museum’s visitors and staff.”