For anyone who has had the urge to roam the exhibit hall while staying connected to the Internet, the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center says, ‘Go ahead.’ The Center recently installed a wireless network by Avaya, Basking Ridge, N.J., which brings communications to a new level in the more than 4.1 million-square-foot facility.

The OCCC joins a very short list of major convention centers in the country to offer wireless services to exhibitors, and Ray Sirizi, network services supervisor at the OCCC, believes the new Avaya wireless network will save time and money for the center and for attendees. “Exhibitors can access the Internet on laptop computers from anywhere in the exhibit halls without being restricted by wires,” he says. The center says that the network will significantly reduce exhibitor setup time, and last-minute exhibitors will be able to hook up to the network with ease.

The Center's meeting rooms also can be equipped with wireless capabilities, and the infrastructure continues to grow. As of July 1, the center plans to begin extending the wireless network to the facility's common areas and lobbies. By 2002, the plan is to be able to have the center's staff use wireless, handheld units to process exhibit work orders and customer requests. “We see a picture on the horizon where we might, with their agreement, extend the system to nearby hotels,” says Mike Walker, OCCC's manager of information services.