One of the top 10 largest convention centers in the U.S., connectivity at the Sands Expo Convention Center (Sands Expo) in Las Vegas is crucial. Over half of the largest tradeshows at the Sands Expo are technical-based, where exhibitors and attendees are likely to require more mobile data services, according to officials.
“Being the largest hotel-based convention center in Las Vegas with millions of visitors annually, our venue has unique needs in terms of connectivity and communications,” said Justin Herrman, executive director, information technology, Sands Expo.
Connected to The Venetian and The Palazzo Resorts, which not only handles convention attendees, but also services hotel guests and tourists, maintaining uninterrupted, fast-speed connectivity throughout all three properties is of the utmost importance. Boasting guest experience as one of its top priorities, Sands Expo and both adjoining resorts enlisted telecommunications corporate giant AT&T to enhance mobile Internet coverage.
“We want our customers to have a great network experience wherever they are, no matter what they’re doing – whether that’s making a call, checking email, downloading apps or surfing the Internet,” said Stephanie Tyler, president, AT&T Nevada.
To support growing demand for advanced wireless devices and services, a new 4G LTE Distributed Antenna System (DAS) provides additional wireless capacity for guests and attendees.
“[M]ake note of this number – Internet usage over the past couple years has gone up by 30,000 percent,” said Robert Williams, director of sales, AT&T Mobility.
Adding an unprecedented 1,660 DAS access points, AT&T installed and camouflaged antennas to blend into the existing architecture of the Italian-themed resort and exhibition space. DAS units were installed within the 2.25 million square-foot Sands Expo; throughout the Grand Canal Shoppes, a 500,000 square-foot upscale shopping mall located within The Venetian and The Palazzo resorts; and several antennas on each floor of the two parking garages.
“Within the three properties alone, [AT&T] has dedicated network resources, which are equivalent to providing coverage for a small town like El Centro, Calif., or Pahrump, Nev.,” said Shariq Ashfaq, area manager RAN engineering, AT&T Mobility. “Our network covers an area of about seven to eight square miles in traditional network environment using monopoles.”
AT&T has installed 40 miles of Ethernet and 20 miles of fiber along all three properties, according to Williams. Improving the mobile Internet experience, the DAS technology shortens the distance a request must travel. It is expected to help improve call reliability, boost data traffic capacity and enable more consistent network access to help customers make the most of their mobile devices.
“We worked closely with AT&T to implement quality DAS infrastructure improvements to provide our visitors with 4G LTE network speed, capacity and reliability that they expect no matter where they are in our facility,” said Herrman. “Since the installation, we’ve received positive comments both from meeting professionals and meeting attendees.”
The expanded network took two years to plan, and AT&T is still planning for the future by designing for expanded capacity.