Wi-Fi upgrades coming to convention center after pandemic delay

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The Indiana Convention Center (IBJ file photo)

The Capital Improvement Board is moving forward with plans to upgrade the Wi-Fi at the Indiana Convention Center, after efforts to do so in 2020 were derailed by the pandemic.

The upgrade project was first pursued in September 2019, alongside updates to the convention center’s 500 Ballroom and lighting fixtures in exhibition halls. Those projects have been put on hold as the CIB tightened its belt in early 2020 to remain financially stable.

However, the CIB voted unanimously on Friday to move forward with the Wi-Fi project.

The project is expected to cost $3.2 to $3.8 million, with most of that cost covered by the CIB’s wireless vendor, Smart City. The board will cover anything beyond the $3 million mark.

The new Wi-Fi system will feature the latest in wireless technology, commonly called Wi-Fi 6, with about 1,026 access points, compared to the 409 that are in the facility now. The last upgrade to the Indiana Convention Center’s wireless technology came in 2011, ahead of Super Bowl XLVI.

The aging system has created friction between the CIB and some users of the convention center—most notably Gen Con, which wrote in 2018 emails it was concerned the Wi-Fi system was falling short of meeting its needs.

The new wireless system will be akin to the one implemented at Lucas Oil Stadium in summer 2019 as part of a $7 million partnership between the CIB, the Colts and Verizon.

It’s not clear when the Wi-Fi upgrades will get under way.

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