For anyone who has had the urge to roam the exhibit hall while staying connected to the Internet, the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center has news for you. It has installed a wireless network by Avaya, a corporate networking solutions and services firm headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., which brings communications within the more than 4.1 million-square-foot facility to a new level.

OCCC is one of the first major convention centers in the country to offer wireless services to exhibitors, and Ray Sirizi, network services supervisor, believes the network will save time and money for the convention center and convention 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 reduce setup time for each computer in a trade show booth from several hours to 30 minutes, and last-minute exhibitors can still hook up to the network — an impossibility with a wired setup. Meeting rooms also can be equipped using the wireless capabilities.

“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.

The center plans to begin extending the wireless network to the facility's common areas and lobbies. By 2002, the plan is to have the center's staff use wireless, hand-held units to process exhibit work orders and customer requests.