Clark County Department of Aviation officials have launched the nation’s largest free wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) airport network at McCarran International Airport. The new service will provide travelers with Wi-Fi-enabled computers and personal digital assistants unlimited free high-speed access to the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week from virtually any public area at the nation’s seventh busiest airport.
Unlike other airports, McCarran owns and operates its own airport-wide telecommunications infrastructure. By tapping into this existing fiber optic network, information systems staff was able to implement this value-added wireless communication service with an investment of $70,000 in hardware and software from technology partner Aruba Wireless Networks.
“This state-of-the-art centralized wireless system will allow us to provide a wide range of innovative services to our passengers and tenants,” said Clark County Director of Aviation Randall H. Walker. “In addition to giving the public free and easy access to the Internet and e-mail services, we plan to use the wireless technology to support other internal business applications that will enhance operational efficiencies and realize an additional cost-savings benefit.”
To produce McCarran’s 1.7 million square feet of coverage, 21 802.11 b/g access points, or connection radios, were strategically placed throughout Terminals 1 and 2 near existing power and network access. Phase 1 of the project provides complete customer coverage throughout the airport. Phase 2 will include the deployment of nine additional access points to non-public areas at McCarran providing airport tenants remote access to proprietary programs that will further enhance customer service and facilitate passenger processing for McCarran travelers.
By providing a single common network for both public and business use at no charge, airport officials can reduce radio frequency interference and mitigate potential conflict over control and use of the unlicensed spectrum.
The new Wi-Fi service is McCarran’s latest effort to use technology to enhance services and facilities while providing added customer convenience. An aviation industry leader in technology, McCarran was the first airport to implement other innovations including Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE), SpeedCheck, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and TIPS, the Traveler Information Prescreening Series. McCarran was recently recognized as one of the top 10 airports in the world for customer satisfaction in the JD Power and Associates 2004 Global Airport Satisfaction study.
The high-speed Wi-Fi service is also provided free of charge at North Las Vegas Airport and Henderson Executive Airport, two general aviation facilities in the Clark County airport system.