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McHenry OKs better network technology

MCHENRY – The City Council approved a $15,000 project to link the municipal center’s communications network with the public works facility’s system.

The installation of a “2-hop microwave system” by Future Link of Illinois for the two facilities was unanimously approved during Monday night’s City Council meeting, and is expected to be up and running this year.

The project will establish a network connection between the municipal center at 333 S. Green St. and the public works building at 1415 Industrial Drive and provide centralized data management and data recovery.

“If something happened [in the municipal center], we can set up shop at the public works facility,” said Bill Hobson, assistant city administrator. “It allows us to manage public works files and data more effectively.”

Officials pursued a similar project five years ago. At the time the same technology “would have cost us $50,000,” Hobson said.

“It was cost prohibitive at that time.”

Since then, costs of microwave-link technology have dropped, he said.

Alderman Victor Santi asked whether there would be “some expansion available to us if needed.”

Hobson said the technology is versatile and will allow expansion.

In response to Alderman Andy Glab’s concern about the technology’s expected use and longevity, Hobson said the city can expect to rely on the network connection for at least 10 years.

Administrators say the new, centralized, high-speed system eventually will lead to cost savings when the existing Internet service at the public works facility and multiple telephone lines and equipment are eliminated.

“Once operational, the [public works facility] will be connected to the same network used by all employees,” according to a staff memo to the council. “This means that file sharing will be available as well as Internet connectivity and regular backups of their files.”

The council’s approval includes a budget amendment because the expenditure was not included in the budget earlier this year, Hobson said. He said it was an oversight that it wasn’t in the budget.

The cost of the installation, $14,870.28, will be covered through the city’s Information Technology fund. Annual maintenance was quoted at $1,863.46.

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