U.S. Department of Energy selects Consiliant Technologies to build complex outdoor Wi-Fi network for biennially Solar Decathlon.

The Challenge:

Every two years, the U.S. Department of Energy Decathlon brings together 14 teams from universities from around the world compete to design and build the home of the future.  There are several goals for the teams, including high-performance, low-carbon buildings that mitigate climate change and improve quality of life, with special attention on energy efficiency.

Teams get to experience the latest smart home technologies and materials in energy-efficient design, clean energy production, water conservation, and high-performance building.​

The Solution:

The City of Irvine selected Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, CA-based technology solutions provider to build and run the fibre and large Wi-Fi network throughout the contest. 

Consiliant worked closely with 2 of its trusted vendors; Brocade and Aerohive Networks. Because it was a complex project and environment, Brocade switches and routers were used and wireless equipment from Aerohive Networks. 

The primary network feed was via a microwave relay to trailers (like the one pictured below) which also provided solar power to the equipment and a strategic place to mount the wireless antennas for Aerohive Networks.

Consiliant utilized its own management software along with the Brocade Network Advisor on its own Cisco UCS server.

Consiliant also ran fibre networking cables from the command center to 11 Brocade 6450 switches to setup 16 different wireless networks separated by VLANs, including a separate network for each of the 14 home-building teams.

The Requirements:

Each team needed isolated wireless technology so that an array of sensors in each home would provide the metrics needed to judge their sustainability. Providing this Wi-Fi which was no small feat in such a large outdoor venue. Sensors had to be connected and tested to the Consiliant-built network before the judging could begin.

An estimated 10,000 visitors a day needed to be supported via free Wi-Fi as well.

Timing was critical on this project as everything needed to be in place and working in less than a week!


The Results:

Consiliant provided the wired and wireless networking connectivity to the 14 home-building teams with traffic evenly divided. In addition, they provided free Wi-Fi for all visitors to the contest (approx. 10,000 per day).

As part of its contract, Consiliant built a permanent wireless networking solution for the site, which is in the heart of the Orange County Great Park.



“The Solar Decathlon is more than just a contest, it’s a tremendous learning event for students and the overall community,”

Dave Cerniglia, Founder & CEO – Consiliant Technologies

“Helping students learn about smart home technologies and providing the infrastructure to design energy-efficient homes is just one way we are able to give back to our community.”

Joe Kadlec, Vice President and Sr. Partner – Consiliant Technologies

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