Samsung relies on long-time cellular expertise to deliver Wi-Fi to I-X Center

Samsung Electronics America might not be well-known its Wi-Fi offerings – it's been in the business a relatively short time compared with its history in cellular – but it powers the Wi-Fi network in Cleveland's I-X Center, which presented a significant coverage challenge.

samsung wifi

 Samsung's WEA303e features

The center was originally built in the 1940s as a bomber aircraft factory, with high ceilings and heavy concrete. The I-X Center implementation, conducted along with the Business Network Team (BNT), recently was recognized with a CIO of the Year award by Crain's Cleveland Business.

According to John D'Annunzio, general manager of Samsung Wireless Enterprise, Samsung developed a few key technologies that helped make the installation a success. The company has intellectual property across the cellular interface, and in moving into Wi-Fi, it took a lot of the technology it developed in carrier LTE networks and "poured in those algorithms and that experience to create the Wi-Fi," he said. So while it's a relative newcomer to Wi-Fi, it had the algorithms it could tap into in order to make Wi-Fi perform better.

"We did a really good engineering design," he said of the I-X installation. Samsung's intelligent beam steering algorithm means the beam has the ability to steer itself to where the Wi-Fi user is located, including when a user has moved. Specifically, Samsung's intelligent beam steering algorithm technology allows for an optimal radio frequency (RF) pattern using directional antennas that help in focusing the energy coverage on regions of interest, minimizing wasted RF energy for a mobile user, according to D'Annunzio.

In addition, "we allocate bandwidth with a scheduling algorithm that we leverage from LTE so we're just more efficient with the spectrum and the time," he said. All of that helped contribute to the ROI that I-X Center experienced.

More than 220 Samsung WEA303e wireless access points provide Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the center, including the facility's main areas, conference room and administrative offices. The access points feature AirEqualizer, an integrated traffic scheduling technology that provides consistent connectivity to many devices simultaneously.

It's all compliant with the 802.11 standard, "but the implementation is better," he said. It also includes a VoIP component. The I-X Center's phone system now features the ability to move calls between desk phones and smartphones with seamless connectivity.

In addition, Samsung's WEC8500 wireless access point controller lets I-X Center IT staff quickly recalibrate the controlled Wi-Fi network during and after events without having to manually set ports or restring Ethernet cables to each booth.

The 2.2-million-square-foot I-X Center features a showroom floor covering over a million square feet and hosts more than 1.5 million visitors annually. Originally built in 1942 as the Cleveland Bomber Plant, the I-X Center's building materials, heavy concrete and structural design previously made it difficult to install network infrastructure, a challenge Samsung says it overcame with its technology. 

For more:
- see this press release
- see this case study

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