Press Release

America’s Largest Convention Center Gets Coverage with Wireless Indoor Network by ExteNet Systems
Chicago’s McCormick Place Uses ExteNet System's Patented Technology for Cricket Communications Network

LISLE, Illinois – June 30, 2009 – Cricket Communications Inc., the pioneer of unlimited wireless services with no long-term commitments or credit checks, has launched a new indoor wireless network by ExteNet Systems, Inc., that covers Chicago’s famed McCormick Place convention center. With more than three million annual convention goers, and a never-ending stream of facilities management and operations personnel, the wireless network was installed across all four convention buildings using the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as waveguides for the radio signals.

“This was a complex installation that got great cooperation from Cricket’s team and needed our joint design, procurement and network deployment expertise,” said ExteNet’s Vice President of Inbuilding Solutions, Jon Davis. “We had an aggressive timeline that met the needs of Cricket’s launch in Chicago. Now that the indoor DAS network is operational, we are meeting all the key metrics that were established during the design phase.”

McCormick Place comprises four state-of-the-art buildings with a combined total of 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space, 1.2 million square feet all on one level, making it the nation's largest convention center. The distributed antenna system (DAS) network installed by ExteNet Systems includes base transceiver stations, remote radio units and antennas that help distribute the signal through the buildings’ HVAC metal ductwork.

“The patented wireless-over-HVAC technology used by ExteNet Systems was a great solution for the unique challenges of McCormick Place,” said Davis. “Not only does the network provide coverage in the operations and office space for McCormick Place employees, it also extends throughout the convention center’s exhibit space and adjacent areas. In a complex environment where network installation could not interrupt scheduled conventions and meetings, we were successful in completing the network design, installation, test and optimization within the established timeframe.”

During February 2009, Cricket coverage in the greater Chicago area was launched with unlimited, 3G wireless voice and broadband services. The indoor network at McCormick Place is part of the now contiguous Cricket coverage that stretches for more than 60 miles beginning south of Chicago in Kankakee and extending as far north as Central Wisconsin.

Since demand for wireless services has skyrocketed across the country, enterprise customers and wireless carriers are interested in indoor DAS networks that can expand the reach of conventional cell sites by using discrete indoor antennas – or by using ExteNet’s proprietary wireless-over-HVAC (heating, ventilating & air conditioning) technology. Indoor DAS solutions have been installed by ExteNet Systems in suburban corporate campuses, downtown high-rises, hospitals and other health facilities, and institutions of higher education. This is especially important as nearly 80 percent of mobile phone calls in the United States either originate or terminate inside buildings.