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Saint Elizabeths

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
DC-Net’s state-of-the-art converged IP network provides 1 Gbps data connectivity and campus-wide, secure wireless access.
The New Saint Elizabeth's Psychiatric Hospital Entrance

In the spring of 2009, the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health Services (DMH) engaged DC-Net to provide telecommunication services for a major new mental health hospital it was constructing on the grounds of St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast Washington, DC. This state-of-the-art building was designed to replace the original, 150-year-old hospital.

Completed in early 2010, the new St. Elizabeths features not only state-of-the-art architectural and environmental design, but a telecommunication solution to match. DC-Net’s converged IP network solution accommodates voice over IP (VoIP) communications for over 750 users, 1 Gbps data connectivity to all ports, 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless network access, Intranet and Internet access and continuous network operations support.

To meet DMH’s IT requirements, DC-Net conducted a basic network assessment for the project, determining the full project scope before initiating the architecture design phase. DC-Net then developed its end-to-end network infrastructure design.


DMH needed a fully diverse fiber solution that provided physical and logical layer redundancy to the St. Elizabeths site. To accomplish this, DC-Net established dual links to its network and laid underground and aerial fiber to the campus.

In addition, because this project involved the erection of a newly furnished building, DC-Net specified wiring standards, including electrical power and HVAC construction standards that the building contractor was responsible for meeting in the final design.

After approval of the network design by both DC-Net and DMH in late 2009, DC-Net procured and began installation of electronics, battery backup units and other telecom equipment. As it implemented the network infrastructure, DC-Net conducted quality assurance until the deployment cycle was complete.

Converged IP

To support DMH users, DC-Net implemented a Centralized Cisco Unified Communications solution, deploying over 650 Cisco 7900G series IP phones and wireless IP phones. The system uses Cisco Unified Communications Manager with redundant call routing over the DC-Net network and provides an integrated Bogen paging and voice mail system with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Call Tree features.

Wireless Networking

DC-Net designed and deployed an 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible wireless LAN campus based on Cisco-based components with the following features:

  • RF Security to detect and avoid 802.11 interference and control unwanted RF propagation
  • Wireless LAN intrusion prevention and location
  • Identity-Based Networking, enabling the delivery of individualized security policies to users and user groups including:
    • Layer 2 and Layer 3 security (and above)
    • VLAN assignments
    • Access control lists
    • Quality of Service (QoS)
    • Authentication, authorization and accounting user session policies and rights management
  • Secure mobility
  • Guest tunneling
  • Secure backhaul


With DC-Net telecommunications solution in place, patients, staff and visitors at the new St. Elizabeths hospital can take advantage of a ubiquitous and secure wireless network. DC-Net provides the latest technological solutions that enhance in- and out-patient services, patient medical records management and telemedicine. The voice and data infrastructure within the facility enables doctors and medical specialists to effectively utilize the latest medical tools and applications.