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Record number of attendees use wi-fi at education technology event

Smart City Networks successfully provided wi-fi service for more than 16,000 attendees at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference held this week at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colo.

Typically, only about 10 percent of attendees at convention center events use wi-fi regularly. Smart City expected the ISTE 2010 event to have a greater demand for wireless internet, but ultimately the usage rate was record-setting. Close to 90 percent of the 18,500 ISTE attendees utilized wireless internet services during the event.

“While the demand for wi-fi during ISTE was tremendous, our pre-event preparation and planning ensured that everyone stayed connected,” said Mark Haley, president of Smart City Networks. “We began working with the ISTE staff months in advance to identify the areas and timeframes that would attract heavy wi-fi traffic. Led by our local manager, Debbie Olivas, our team was then able to meet the unique needs of ISTE and provide the necessary technology to ensure reliable wireless coverage for all attendees.”

Smart City has provided internet services for prior ISTE conferences, but this year, the event’s demand for wi-fi doubled. Attendees are very tech-savvy, and ISTE promoted active back channel communications through live Twitter feeds and the ISTE Blog Roll. Additionally, ISTE offered a specific space for attendees to use their laptops, resulting in more than 5,000 wireless internet users in one room.

To meet this increased demand, Smart City added 500Mb of internet access, provided 138 new access points, and replaced every switch in the building. Haley said Smart City also installed 10 Bluesocket Blue Secure controllers, eight more than the usual number at a facility, to handle the anticipated traffic. All of these technology upgrades sought to ensure a fast and reliable wi-fi connection regardless of how many users were online at once.

“Our technology needs were extensive, and the Smart City team offered superior support to our event,” said Ryan Roberts, director of technology at techIT Solutions, LLC, ISTE’s technology partner. “The wi-fi infrastructure and performance was unparalleled given ISTE’s wi-fi demands. We could not have done it without Smart City.”

MORESmart City Networks has provided the event technology services at the Colorado Convention Center for over a decade.

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