In 2019, Nando Ateho, General Manager of Intech, was searching for something he thought probably didn’t exist — at least not yet. He was looking for a better high-capacity Wifi network solution to power an upcoming outdoor firearms exhibit, “Industry Days at the Range.” The event brings in over 2,500 attendees, members of the press, and vendors to Boulder City, Nevada. Held each year, it serves as a kickoff for the annual SHOT Show, the largest sportsman and hunters show in America.

For years, Intech was forced to saturate the event with expensive, patchy, and complicated networks to provide service. As Nando searched for a better solution, he mentioned his predicament to a former colleague who suggested a software defined antenna platform. It was a new solution for unlicensed RF networks that specialized in outdoor deployments. When Nando connected with Aura Wireless to begin planning Industry Days at the Range 2020, he knew he had finally found the solution he needed.

The Problem

For a show of such importance, each detail of event operations requires careful planning and strategy. Yet, even for these expert event organizers, an effective Wifi solution continually eluded them. They needed a network that would not only support the influx of tradespeople each year, but meet — and exceed — expectations, as well. It seemed a simple request, but one that, year after year, was a challenge to be met.

The problem the Industry Days at the Range  event faced wasn’t unique. Large-scale events like conventions and exhibitions need Wi-Ffi networks that can power demonstrations and displays, process orders, and meet all other general needs of visitors, vendors, and press. Yet, large-scale Wi-Ffi has been a problem that has eluded even the largest wireless network providers. The demand is there, but the answer is always complicated. In years prior, Industry Days at the Range was left to cobble together short-term networks with 10 or more access point locations. But using such a high number of access points in a condensed environment led to connectivity problems; weak signals and even dead zones popped up as competing channels caused widespread access point desensitization.  “We were sure we had all our bases covered,” Ted says, “but some attendees were still not staying connected, so we had to analyze connectivity by individual device. Our CTO lost time — and some hair — to figure it out. Introducing Apogee, we were able to simplify the network setup and cut our AP locations from nine to two and cover everyone and everything we needed to across 22 acres.”

It wasn’t just poor network performance that was causing frustration. Event organizers were paying good money for a solution that was just barely meeting expectations. Even more, it was impeding the ability for media and vloggers’ to live stream effectively. And so, the search continued for a better solution.

The Solution

Aura Wireless was offering the solution Intech had been searching for. The Apogee Software-Defined Antenna Platform combined the power of panel, omni, point-to-point, and point-to-multi-point antennas, into a single device with exponentially greater range and sophistication. Powered by cloud-based software, Apogee would allow Intech to adapt their Wi-Fifi needs in real time. Apogee was the antenna that would make a large-scale wireless network not just possible, but viable for Industry Days at the Range 2,500-plus scattered attendees, media, and vendors.

With such a large following in the sportsman, law enforcement, and hunting communities, Industry Days at the Range was certainly an intimidating test run for Apogee technology. But the incredible results proved that the answer event organizers had been searching for was finally here. Large-scale Wifi networks are possible — with Apogee.
“With Aura’s consistent, powerful network performance,” Ted says, “we hit our mark of excellence with a bullseye.”

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Key Takeaways

• Wi-Fi networks don’t have to be static – and in fact, they shouldn’t be when it comes to large-scale events. With Apogee’s cloud-based software, you can manage coverage areas by defining antenna types, band selection, and more, to fit the changing needs of your event.
• Most solutions for large-scale Wi-Fi face channel conflict and related weak signals or dead zones because of antenna desensitization. But Apogee eliminates this problem by requiring fewer access point locations. One Apogee antenna can displace up to five AP locations.
• The solution for large-scale Wi-Fi networks is more affordable than you think. Apogee provides significant CAPEX and OPEX savings, while delivering a stronger, more reliable Wi-Fi network.

Jason Claybrook

Author Jason Claybrook

Jason Claybrook is the Head of Sales and Marketing at Aura Wireless and is responsible for developing go-to-market strategies focused partner enablement.

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