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How GaETC Provided Unbeatable Wi-Fi Connections Throughout Event

Bob Nilsson Director, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 20 Dec 2018

GaETC Partners with Extreme to Stand Up Robust Network

“This year at GaETC, the Wi-Fi deployment was far and away the most successful we’ve ever had,”–  Blair Johnston, GaETC Facilities Chair

Almost 5,000 Georgia education technology leaders enjoyed high speed, flawless Wi-Fi access as they learned about the latest technology and innovations for teaching at the Georgia Educational Technology Conference (GaETC). The conference featured 250 sessions on new styles of learning, virtual reality, online assessment, and exhibits by over 200 vendors whose demonstrations were highly dependent on high speed Internet access. The annual event, sponsored by the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium, is dedicated to the professional development of educators. It offers a forum for discussion among professionals concerned with technology in education.

Extreme Networks has been standing up event networks for GaETC for the past six years. As the conference has continued to grow, the requirement for excellent connectivity for presenters and attendees alike was more important than ever this year.


[Members of the Extreme Team pictured at their GaETC booth]

“For 2018, we did away with our paper program and didn’t have a posted schedule throughout the GICC like we normally did. This required attendees to download our app or look in our mobile version of scheduling.  In order for this arrangement to work, the Wi-Fi had to be spot on and it was. My support team received zero complaints about the Wi-Fi and even received many compliments from attendees that have been attending for the last few years.” – Blair Johnston, GaETC Facilities Chair

GaETC Event Network Details

With roughly 5,000 unique devices connecting to the network at GaETC, the Extreme team had their work cut out for them. The team started on the Sunday prior to the beginning of the event and used two full days for deployment.

[Left to right; Jacob Morton and Gabby Roebling of Extreme accepting a Vendor Appreciation Award from GaETC Board Member Jay Cawley]

“We worked closely with our partner, as well as the event board to make the conference a success. We keep several solution engineers on the ready because large venues like this can be challenging, but everything about the deployment worked smoothly throughout the conference,” said Paul Brady, Extreme Networks SE manager.

The conference deployment included these products and solutions:  

“The Extreme Team was a key component in the success of the 2018 GaETC network infrastructure.  From planning to design to implementation to support during the conference, they were part of the team every step of the way.  GaETC is a very challenging environment for WiFi due to the high number of users/devices relying on it during the conference.  The Extreme solution worked flawlessly and gave us visibility to every layer of the network during the conference.  The feedback received has been incredible.  The user experience was great.  We found throughout this process that the Extreme solution, including the WiFi access points, switches, network software and especially the team, all came together easily and reliably, even in this incredibly challenging environment.” – Chris Minton, 1 Accord, Extreme reselling partner.

Successful Connectivity Outcomes for Attendees and Presenters

Once the network was stood up and configured, there was minimal troubleshooting. The Extreme team, their partners, and the board collaborated as a team to make sure everything working correctly and any any issues affecting users were proactively identified. “When all was said and done, there was no network downtime or issues. It was fantastic,” said Jacob Morton, Extreme Networks solutions engineer who assisted with the network build, as well as management.

As Blair Johnson, GaETC facilities chair, pointed out, the event did away with their paper program this year, and didn’t have a posted schedule throughout the Georgia International Convention Center. As a result, every attendee downloaded the app during the keynote, a situation that could bring most networks to a grinding slow-down. The Extreme network passed this test with flying colors, and no one had any issues. Blair Jonson noted that his support team did not have any complaints at all about the Wi-Fi.

“With our analytics we saw the traffic spike as attendees all downloaded the app at once, but we could see that the network easily handled it,” Brady said. “Based on our experience with large arenas and NFL stadiums, we put a lot of effort into pre-planning. Jacob is an expert in wireless and knows these large venues. The bottom line is that Extreme has a great team of engineers who apply a lot of forethought before we put our feet on the street, and that’s why everything always goes as planned.” 

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