Sands Expo Unveils 2.25 Million Square Feet of High Bandwith Wi-Fi Connections

February 12, 2013

The Sands Expo & Convention Center is one of the busiest convention and meetings properties in the United States, with many thousands of attendees often at just one of the venue’s several annual events all wanting to be connected and stay connected at the same time.

The challenge was, if let’s say 5,000 attendees were at a keynote and the speaker wanted everyone to answer a question through an audience response system, how could the Sands make sure they delivered as a venue in this moment?

Justin Herrman, executive director of IT at the Sands, said a lot of the high-performance wireless networks the venue considered to solve this issue just weren’t up to par, until they looked into Xirrus.

“We did a pilot with Xirrus, and it always worked,” he added.

The deployment covers more than 2.2 million square feet, including the main Sands Expo floor, as well as adjacent meeting rooms and common areas at the Palazzo and Venetian properties in Las Vegas.

“What really set Xirrus apart is its ability to function as an application-aware wireless switch. As new users connect, there is no degradation of experience for the already-connected users,” Herrman said.

He added, “As more users come on to the Arrays, their application experience remains consistent. Each Xirrus Array – and I’ve seen this personally – can support 200, 500, 800 or even more than 1,000 users, depending on the model. Xirrus can scale and provide seamless roaming so that our guests always have a perfect wireless experience – no matter the traffic load.”

Bruce Miller, vice president of product marketing for Xirrus, said the reason why his company succeeds in keeping people connected, while other companies may fail, is because “we put a lot of radios in the same device.” In other words, where there used to be two radios in a device, which required dozens of units, with more radios, fewer units are required.

At the Sands, he added, there are about 200 units that cover 2.25 million sq. ft. of space. As a result, there also is less cable needed to connect everything and that means savings on costs, equipment and management, Miller said.

The Sands hosts several high-tech events, including VM World, HP Universe and Microsoft MMS, to name a few, besides large trade shows such as SHOT Show and ASD Las Vegas, both of which attract tens of thousands of attendees.

“Show managers want everyone to be online and to have the capability for real-time feedback,” he said. Having a high-performance wireless network is crucial to this success, and now that Xirrus is in the building, Herrman said, it could help attract even more shows looking to stay connected.

Beyond just the Wi-Fi network, Miller said there are several other services that can be deployed in the future, including wayfinding GPS systems for mobile devices; threshold marketing that will pick up when someone walks past an establishment a few times and offer them incentives; and when an attendee walks into a booth, a splash screen could appear asking them if they want to download marketing materials to their device.

“It’s not just about Wi-Fi,” Miller said. “It’s about other services being added on (and) starting to monetize the network. It’s a big trend we’re starting to see in large, public venues.”

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact