Moscone’s New $4.5MM WiFi System is Deployed

Expectations for WiFi services at a convention center will never be the same.

Gone are the days of fighting for a signal on an overloaded network, while pacing back and forth to find a WiFi signal. Moscone Convention Center has initiated a new standard of continuous connectivity by installing a permanent indoor high-density WiFi network. The newly installed $4.5M wireless system can support as many as 60,000+ simultaneous devices, while effectively eliminating service area “dead zones.” Shen Milsom & Wilke (SM&W) provided the telecommunications and IT design for this project.

Designing the network posed some unique challenges. Traditionally, convention organizers bring in temporary wireless systems, which are set up on the floor, to support anticipated mobile traffic. Often times, wireless access points cannot be optimally located, resulting in patchy service. Moscone’s permanent system utilizes multiple ceiling fixtures throughout the facility, eliminating areas of patchy service and allowing for better utilization of floor space.

“We believe this is the first permanent high-density WiFi system to be installed in a convention center. When designing the system, we had to look at the existing technologies and systems and envision how they might function at this scale,” said Kirk Iliev, a Senior Consultant at SM&W.

“Today’s mobile consumer expects a much higher level of connectivity performance,” explained Jeff Hardy, Network Engineer for The Moscone Center. “Demand for wireless service at trade shows and conventions has increased, but most venues have been slow to adapt to the demand.  We saw this as an opportunity to set a new standard.”

The wireless upgrade is part of Moscone’s efforts to create a “new” convention center. SF Travel, the City and County of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District have spent $56 million to renovate the convention center.

Shen Milsom & Wilke is an international technology consulting firm. Its west coast office is located at 33 New Montgomery, Suite 1040, San Francisco, CA 94105. For more information, call 415.391.7610 or email:

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