Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue at the forefront of Wi-Fi 6 deployment in Europe

Fira de Barcelona has taken another step in its commitment to lead the trade show industry towards digitization of services in general and cutting-edge connectivity in particular and has begun to deploy Wi-Fi 6 technology in the Gran Via venue. With this improvement, the venue that hosts technological and corporate events such as Cisco Live!, MWC Barcelona, IoT Solutions World Congress, Smart City Expo World Congress, SAP and VM World will provide the best Wi-Fi network in Europe in the exhibition industry. Among others, the benefits of this new technology include 40% faster connections, higher data transfer rates and greater energy efficiency that will reduce the battery consumption of every connected device.

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is a new wireless standard featuring four times higher data transfer rates in high density locations, 75% lower latency, better coverage and optimised device battery usage. In addition, with the deployment of dual-antenna Access Points (APs) Fira’s network will be perfect for very high-density events such as the international shows and conferences hosted by the trade fair institution.

The deployment of Wi-Fi 6 has already been carried out in three of the eight halls of the venue with 9100 series Access Points from Cisco, Fira de Barcelona’s technological partner for connectivity. Once the implementation is completed, the venue’s network will be able to connect 128,000 users simultaneously. Cisco also provides new Cisco Catalyst switches and controllers as well as Cisco DNA Center and Cisco DNA Spaces software technologies to enable innovative network management and analytics.

Wi-Fi 6 and the new Cisco Access Points, switches and controllers will allow to connect more devices with higher quality at Fira’s Gran Vía venue, providing users with an optimized mobile experience and better performance for advanced applications such as 4K video, wireless office, and IoT. It positions Fira at the forefront of public venues for major events such as MWC” says Andreu Vilamitjana, Cisco Spain General Manager.

Along these lines, Marc Serra, Director of Venue Services at Fira de Barcelona, said that “the new network will not only provide cutting edge connectivity for our visitors and exhibitors but will also make the Gran Via a state-of-the art smart venue providing a superior connection capacity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This will enable new remote management of the venue services and capabilities throughout our premises”.

Another benefit of deploying a Wi-Fi 6 network will be the effective recovery of the 2.4 GHz frequency. This will allow a greater number of connections to be managed in a more efficient way than the previous Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) which only operated in the 5 GHz band whereas Wi-Fi 6 operates in both bands.

The 5G of Wi-Fi technology
The arrival and deployment of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will be simultaneous. Many experts agree that these are complementary technologies for wireless telecommunications and while 5G will dominate outdoor connectivity, Wi-Fi 6 will excel, above all in indoor environments. Wth Wi-Fi 6 speeds, 100 users are able to simultaneously stream a 2-hour movie in HD, all using the same access point. In addition, as is also the case with 5G, the reduction in latency, the delay between sending and receiving a data packet, is significant and Wi-Fi 6 registers latencies of 1 ms with maximum of 50 ms in high density situations where Wi-Fi 5 would record latencies of 400 ms thus achieving decreases of up to 80%.

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About Fira Barcelona
Fira de Barcelona is one of the most important trade fair institutions in Europe and the Spanish market leader, especially in trade and industrial shows. It hosts around 150 trade shows, congresses and corporate events per year with 30,000 exhibitors, both direct and represented, and receives 2.5 million visitors from over 200 countries. The institution has some 400,000 m² of exhibition floor space, one of the largest in Europe, spread over 2 venues: Montjuïc and Gran Via. Its annual economic contribution to the city of Barcelona and its surroundings is estimated at over 2,600 million Euros and also brings added social and public value.

Barcelona, January 23rd 2020

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