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The Need for Strong Wi-Fi Networks at Convention Centers

Mar 15, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

Convention center Wi-Fi networks must support tens of thousands of wireless devices and a multitude of technologies. The hundreds of venues in the United States typically accommodate several thousand attendees, whether they are there for a business conference, cheer competition, fishing expo, or other major event.

Why It Matters

Modern convention centers and other large-scale venues serve high-traffic hubs requiring reliable wireless connectivity to elevate the guest and exhibitor experience, whether using their laptops, tablets, smartphones, or smart watches.

And since hundreds or even thousands of attendees and exhibitors access the network simultaneously, a high-density/high-capacity Wi-Fi network ensures fast and reliable wireless connectivity when people are gathering in a conference room, making a presentation, trying to drum up business, or emailing from their smartphone.

Zoom Out

Pushed beyond their limits, conventional wireless networks simply can’t handle massive crowds and their devices. Centers with out-of-date internet service often disappoint attendees when the internet is either slow or non-existent.

Below are a few connectivity-related pain points convention centers must overcome, along with the benefits of installing solutions to handle today’s evolving technology standards.

Avoiding Major Network Traffic Jams

A main hurdle convention centers face is overlapping signal traffic, which occurs when hundreds of exhibitors, attendees, or others are in the same vicinity. Networks begin to act like bumper cars with drivers ramming into each other as they compete with signals going in and out, resulting in the dreaded dropped Wi-Fi coverage.

With large facilities-based wireless connections, experienced Wi-Fi providers spread signals out and reduce instances of dropped coverage for exhibitors, attendees, and the venue alike.

The Price Isn’t Right

Costly installations and insufficient budgets are another challenge convention centers and exhibitors face. They need sufficient bandwidth yet lack the deep pockets, or the opposite—they think they will need more transmission capacity than is necessary, so they overbuy.

An internet provider well-versed in large venues can help convention centers and their exhibitors unravel the complexities and understand specific bandwidth needs while keeping budgets in check. The provider might suggest flexible high-capacity Wi-Fi, including shared bandwidth, which allows more than one nearby exhibitor in the same venue to share connectivity.

Guests Want to Dig Deeper

A third challenge is often felt most directly by conference center guests. Complex log-in portals, multiple devices, and hard-to-remember passwords could present roadblocks to necessary internet access, which erodes the guest experience. Attendees want to take in everything the event has to offer, and small snags along the way can make the event seem clunky and burdensome.

Similarly, when someone must walk to the far reaches of a sprawling center, connectivity is often lost or they are forced to repeatedly log in to their device and reconnect. A Wi-Fi provider with experience in such massive venues can ensure a responsive, consistent network throughout a facility, regardless of its size.

Making a Comeback

According to reports from publications across the country, the convention business continues to rebound after in-person events all but came to a halt in 2020. Phrases like “coming back strong,” “surges in demand,” and “maxed out” are being used in cities as varied as Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Cities are investing in optical fiber, while convention centers are upgrading facilities and boosting bandwidth from 500 megabits per second to 2 gigabits per second for faster, more reliable internet, for instance.

In June 2023, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) predicted the U.S. business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions industry would rebound and recover from COVID-related event cancellations. Specifically, 2024 is expected to see similar success that took place for the industry in 2019.

The Bottom Line

As such, investments are being made to modernize convention centers with a high-capacity Wi-Fi network. In doing so, value is shared by guests, attendees, and exhibitors, along with conference center IT and business teams.

These upgraded networks can simultaneously support anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of wireless clients on their device of choice. And they do so while maintaining a responsible, reliable, and consistent network that our society has come not only to rely upon—but expect.

Jady West is vice president of Hospitality Network, an affiliate of Cox Business.

The post The Need for Strong Wi-Fi Networks at Convention Centers appeared first on Facilities Management Advisor.


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