Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) completed the first calendar year using a new wireless system installed by partner CCLD Networks in February 2014. GWCC went with a wireless solution that was unique from the competition, but it has paid tremendous dividends.
CCLD Networks teamed with Meru Networks on the design and implementation of the system. The decision on choosing the wireless vendor was a long process, but after evaluating many different vendors, Meru was chosen due to its system handling network traffic in a unique way.
The greatest challenges in providing wireless service are the density of the devices and the different wireless frequencies (2.4Ghz & 5Ghz). In most wireless environments, the 2.4Ghz wireless frequency can get filled to capacity quickly in a dense environment, and users cannot connect with their various devices. This is no longer an issue at the GWCC as this new system allocates time for each user allowing everyone space within this range to connect. Wireless channel layering played a huge role in the implementation as no one access point gets overwhelmed with users. The 5Ghz frequency has more wireless channels available so the experience in this range is slightly easier to provide service.
Many events have used the wireless service with great success over the last year. The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) had huge demands on the network, but everything went great as over 13,000 simultaneous users connected through four days last June. Numerous other events, such as Big South Volleyball (7,000 concurrent users), Federal Student Aid (3,500 users), Food and Nutrition (2,000 users), NBMBAA (1,500 users) and IPPE (4,000 users), used the system with tremendous success.
“The customer is the focus of everything we do in Atlanta, and reliable wireless connectivity is extremely important for everyone. From the results of the last year, we can handle practically any amount of devices running the highest bandwidth applications on a consistent basis,” stated Mark Zimmerman, general manager, GWCC.
CCLD Networks also overhauled the wired event network in late 2013. This allows for gigabit connectivity throughout the facility. Connectivity speeds up to 10Gbps are currently available and back haul speeds up to 40Gbps were also prepped during the upgrade. CCLD Networks has invested $2 million over the last two years to make the GWCC one of the most technically advanced convention centers in the country. The GWCC is ready to handle any technology event that many come to Atlanta today and well into the future.