Case Study | July 10, 2012

Partnering With VARs And Vendors To Optimize A Wireless Network

Source:
Bill McDonald

Bill McDonald, CIO, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

As the Chief Information Officer for Canada’s largest Convention Center, my team and I encounter unique technology challenges every day. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre spans over 600,000 square feet and plays host to some of the world’s most prestigious and technologically demanding events. In addition, thousands of guests walk through our doors on a daily basis armed with smart phones, tablets and notebooks and expect their device to work seamlessly on the convention centre’s network.

Challenge: Support Exhibitors’ and Attendees’ Wireless Demands

Conference centers present a unique networking challenge as the wireless demands vary for different conferences, meetings and exhibitors. Added to an already complex networking environment is the fact that attendees are not evenly distributed through the convention centre at any point in time. Consequently the ability to manage the network load with all of these variants is our single biggest challenge. We must ensure that it can provide users with 100 percent uptime, while being secure and fast. Without a reliable wireless network, MTCC risks losing important contracts to host exhibitions and trade shows.

As we can only expect that the wireless demands of our visitors and exhibitors will continue to escalate, we required a solution that was capable of supporting our future wireless needs as. To meet the demands of event managers and exhibitors, and maintain MTCC’s stellar reputation as a premier convention centre, we began a thorough evaluation process to identify the right wireless services that could provide stable, high-performing bandwidth across the entire facility.

Solution: Partnering with VAR Speeds Deployment, Boosts ROI

When our team began evaluating different wireless solutions, the most important criteria in our selection process was flexibility and management. To effectively manage the wireless demands of the various groups and attendees entering MTCC, we required wireless access points that could define different service levels to the variety of events taking place across the facility.

After a thorough evaluation process, we selected the OneFabric Edge networking solution from Enterasys Networks. Partnering with Enterasys in this deployment was Secure Links, a local Enterasys VAR that provided installation and support for our complex wireless demands. Secure Links’ onsite assistance was a vital component in helping us configure the Enterasys network to meet the unique demands of each event being hosted by MTCC. Plus, Secure Links’ onsite support helped us optimize the ROI of our newly installed network.

The flexibility and granularity of Enterasys OneFabric Edge architecture delivers the applications that each unique user requires in a secure manner without impacting other users on the network. For MTCC the wireless network is a key business service, and with the high number of users on the network, we act as a mini service provider. Enterasys OneFabric Control Center provides visibility and control over every asset on the network and allows our IT team to easily provision, manage and segment wireless service across various audiences.

Results: Faster Speeds, Better Manageability, More Profits

Since deploying the Enterasys OneFabric architecture, our speeds are phenomenal, and not only do we have better coverage, but it is very stable and easy to manage. The feedback we’ve received from MTCC event planners, exhibitors and attendees has all been extremely positive. In fact, we recently ran one of the most involved networking shows we’ve ever taken on. The IT team for the show was very impressed with our services, and our wireless system in particular, as it is a critical component to their show’s success. We wouldn’t have been able to provide such a high level of wireless support for this show prior to our wireless upgrade.

Although a network upgrade of this level is a significant investment, it was a necessary step to ensure our facility can meet the wireless needs of today’s exhibitors and attendees. By partnering with Secure Links and Enterasys, MTCC now has a better, faster, more secure network to boost the facility’s revenue and support future growth.

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