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Sands Expo Upgrades Xirrus Wi-Fi Network to 802.11ac in Record Time
Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 03:07:39 PM


Sands Expo now has the largest 802.11ac convention center network west of the Mississippi, covering over 2.25 million square feet. Fees from access and location-based services paid back the investment in the original Xirrus network in just three months

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – April 30, 2015 – Xirrus, the leading provider of high-performance wireless networks, announced that Sands Expo Las Vegas has completed the upgrade of its Xirrus Wi-Fi 802.11n network to the faster 802.11ac standard. Covering 2.25 million square feet, Sands Expo’s Xirrus network is now the largest 802.11ac convention center network west of the Mississippi. The upgrade to 802.11ac improves the experience for exhibitors and convention-goers by providing faster performance and support for tens of thousands of simultaneous connections.

Fastest Upgrade to 802.11ac

Sands Expo’s upgrade to 802.11ac was the fastest network upgrade they ever achieved. Converting the 200 existing Xirrus 802.11n access points to 802.11ac took under 3 days. The speed of the upgrade is a result of its simplicity: rather than replacing the access points, Sands Expo simply popped in new radios, upgraded software, and then selected radios for high-speed 802.11ac operation with the click of a button in the management console. In addition to saving time, the modular upgrade saved Sands Expo the significant costs of purchasing and deploying all new access points.

“The Internet of Things has made high-density Wi-Fi very important for our customers,” said Justin Herrman, executive director of information technology and Internet delivery services for Sands Expo. “They prefer to hold their events at a venue offering 802.11ac Wi-Fi because exhibitors and guests want the faster performance. Xirrus’ modular Wi-Fi platform allowed us to quickly upgrade to the 802.11ac standard with a simple software setting. Our customers didn’t have to wait for a lengthy upgrade, and we saved the cost of 200 new access points plus controllers.”

3-Month Investment Payback for Original Xirrus Network

Sands Expo deployed its original Xirrus 802.11n network in 2012. Xirrus needed only 200 high density access points to provide coverage over the entire 2.25 million-square-foot facility, while other vendors quoted at least 1300 access points. The reason is that Xirrus access points can contain up to 16 radios, the most radios-per-access point in the industry. Building a high-density Wi-Fi network with a fraction of the access points significantly reduced Sands Expo’s capital costs, cable plant, and ongoing operational expense.

The original Xirrus 802.11n network paid for itself in just three months from fee-based Wi-Fi services that Sands Expo offers to show owners and exhibitors. These services include displaying links to the exhibitor’s literature when devices connect near the booth; audience polling during keynotes; mapping of pedestrian traffic patterns; and counting people who click through ads, attend programs, or stay on site for meals, for example.

Competitive Advantage

The largest convention center in the Western U.S., Sands Expo hosts over 60,000 trade shows and events annually. The high-density Xirrus 802.11ac network has become a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining customers such as Computer Electronics Show (CES) and VMworld. One reason is that the Xirrus network can support a massive number of simultaneous connections on show floors. At VMworld 2014 a record 38,000 wireless devices connected simultaneously.

“Conference centers represent one of the densest environments that tax a Wi-Fi network, “ said Bruce Miller, vice president product marketing. “The next generation of Xirrus 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi solutions delivers Sands Expo unmatched scalability and ease of deployment – supporting tens of thousands of users at the same time.”

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