As part of a transformational renovation of the storied Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, the planners wanted to provide travelers, sports fans and conventioneers a memorable in-venue experience from their smartphones and mobile devices. This required engaging Wi-Fi that enables seamless network access for 7,500 simultaneous devices with each connection remaining consistently strong as guests travel throughout the facility.
Previously known as the Charleston Civic Center, the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center is the preeminent entertainment venue in West Virginia. The coliseum offers broad adaptability with over 13,000 seats and 30,500 square feet of event space. The attached convention center is comprised of a Grand Hall and adjoining West Halls, providing over 60,000 square feet of Class A flexible exhibition space and over 50,000 square feet of premium, unobstructed exhibit area and is utilized for exhibitions, banquets, corporate meetings, and celebrations on a grand scale.
A Transformational Project
The Civic Center opened in 1959 with an addition in 1965. The coliseum was completed in 1980, and the original building, which is now the exhibition hall, was renovated in 1983. A $10 million renovation in 2000 expanded the exhibition space and eliminated an ice rink. However, with some of its mechanics dating back to 1958, there was no avoiding the need for significant updates at the Civic Center.
Recognizing this need, the city awarded a contract for the renovation, which would be completed in phases over the next three years to allow portions of the facility to remain open during construction. The project broke ground in June of 2015 and was completed in early 2019 at a total cost of 100 million dollars. In addition to renovations of the nearly 136,000 square feet of existing space, there was more than 148,000 square feet of new construction – including a 25,000 square foot ballroom and 10,000 square feet of new meeting space.
Large Scale Wi-Fi Upgrade
As part of the physical upgrade to the facilities, the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center also wanted to increase its overall wireless internet connectivity and availability. Leaders understood that to properly serve people attending events in this smartphone and social media-driven era, they needed to increase overall wireless scale and capacity dramatically. Taking the lead on this large-scale Wi-Fi expansion project was Advantage Technology.
The project started with Advantage Technology’s network engineers performing site surveys to determine the optimal placement of Wi-Fi antennas and access points using advanced RF analysis tools, helping to ensure proper coverage and capacity.
Based upon the results of the site analysis, Advantage Technology installed approximately 275 access points throughout the facility. With this expansion, the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center has increased its wireless internet capacity from 100 concurrent users to more than 7,500 – a 75 fold increase. The Advantage Technology led team is also installed 32 new Ethernet switches and oversaw the installation of more than 142,000 feet of Cat 6a Ethernet cable in support of the Wi-Fi expansion.
The overall aesthetics of the installation was crucial to the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center leadership, and Advantage Technology took great pains to make sure that the new wireless access points and associated wiring blended in with the surroundings. The Advantage Technology team created specialized mountings to ensure that the access points were securely mounted behind ceiling panels or in utility spaces.
The enterprise-level size, scale, and complexity of this project clearly demonstrates the skill and knowledge that Advantage Technology brings.
- Largest Wi-Fi install in the state of West Virginia, with a $8M total budget
- Approximately 280 wireless access points
- 75-fold Increase in concurrent user capacity, going from 100 to over 7,500
- Advanced security with Aruba ClearPass Network Access Controls
- Special emphasis on aesthetics and harmonization with the overall architecture
Our Advantage Is Our People
For over 15 years Advantage Technology has been providing IT services and solutions. With offices in Charleston, Shepherdstown, and Morgantown, WV, as well Williamsport, MD, and Lexington, KY, we service companies in West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region along with clients in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, and Canada.
Because we have over 80 technicians, we can specialize in emerging areas of information technology and have dedicated resources to specific disciplines, rather than merely being computer generalists. Our focus and innovation enable us to support over 800 companies and continue to expand into cutting edge areas of information technology.
Key to the success of the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center Wi-Fi project was Jonathan Knight who leads the networking team.
Jonathan is a networking, connectivity, data communications and data centers expert with a career working for Fortune 500 companies. He has in-depth knowledge coordinating multi-group, complex enterprise-level projects from concept to completion. In addition to his technical expertise, he has supervisory experience planning, directing and coordinating network engineering projects for fast-paced growth companies.
Since 2012, he has been Customer Solutions Director at Advantage Technology, where he develops and manages complex networking and datacenter problems for a wide range of customers.
It is the knowledge, experience, and dedication of people like Jonathan that make projects such as this successful.