Exhibition centre finds cure for Wi-Fi congestion

Wi-Fi is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the short-range wireless technology takes a load off fixed networks and is relatively easy to install.

The curse is that it is relatively easy to install.

As a result, a number of organizations have casually added access points suited for homes to their networks without thinking through the long-term implications.

Then one day management realizes this haphazard network can't cope.

That's what happened at the International Centre, a 1 million square foot exhibition space across the street from Toronto's international airport and site of over 400 consumer product and trade shows a year which attract up to 10,000 attendees.

"We would only be able to get five to 10 users [online] at a time" in the exhibition space says Anthony Seebaran, the centre's manager of information systems. In the conference centre things were only slightly better.