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Cisco Delivers One of World’s Largest Wi-Fi Networks at 2014 Mobile World Congress

by david.nunes

Cisco Delivers One of World’s Largest Wi-Fi Networks at 2014 Mobile World Congress

Network Supported Nearly 81,000 Connections and Carried 19 Terabytes of High-Speed Data in Four Days, Emphasizing the Growing Importance of Wi-Fi to Cellular

SAN JOSE, Calif. – March 12, 2014 – Cisco today announced it worked with Fira de Barcelona and the GSMA to successfully provide one of the world’s largest carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks at the GSMA’s recent Mobile World Congress 2014 at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona.

During the event, more than 80,000 attendees had access to free Wi-Fi at Fira Gran Via and over the four days nearly 81,000 Internet-connected devices generated a total of 19.1 terabytes of traffic.

A preliminary breakdown of the unprecedented volume of data exchanged revealed a 300 per cent year on year increase in the amount of traffic at the event, reflecting the performance and reliability of the high-density Wi-Fi network enabled by Cisco.

Attendees predominantly used the Wi-Fi network to enable productivity and to stay in touch with their social networks; 33 percent of the traffic was used for highly-secure connections to business services such as email, closely followed by web browsing, Skype, Google Services and Facebook.

Fast Facts on the Cisco-based Mobile World Congress Wi-Fi network

  • 80,880 Internet-enabled devices were connected, doubling the number from the 2013 Mobile World Congress;
  • 1.2 gigabytes per second of peak Internet traffic;
  • 19.1 terabytes of data – offloading 3G/4G traffic from mobile networks to provide an improved, integrated mobile experience for attendees;
  • Five gigahertz (GHz) to 2.4 GHz ratio was 58 percent to 42 percent — indicating a shift to higher adoption of five GHz devices;
  • 280 gigabytes uploaded and transmitted via a single access point in the Mobile World Congress Media Village on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014; and
  • By 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2014, the number of connections had surpassed the total number of connections on last year’s network, ultimately reaching 22,126 peak-concurrent connections.

Key Highlights

  • Cisco worked with Fira de Barcelona to install a permanent Wi-Fi network covering 240,000 square meters of the Fira’s Gran Via venue, the site of the annual Mobile World Congress.
  • The Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi solution allowed the GSMA to offer free high-speed Wi-Fi service to Mobile World Congress attendees at Fira Gran Via and allowed Fira to offer exhibitors Wi-Fi services in the eight exhibit halls.
  • High-performance results demonstrate that carrier-grade Wi-Fi can complement cellular services in even the toughest environments. Delivering high-density Wi-Fi service in a venue as large as the Fira requires precise planning, monitoring and management. Cisco worked closely with the Fira in the months prior to the event to prepare the network for the four-day conference and exhibition.
  • Cisco also worked with AT&T and Accuris Networks to provide highly-secure and seamless authentication on the Wi-Fi network with a Hotspot 2.0 next-generation network allowing show attendees to securely roam onto the Wi-Fi network as easily as they do on the cellular network.

Supporting Quotes

  • Xavier Michavila, Technology Services Director, Fira Barcelona

“Barcelona is the mobile world capital and Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue hosts the largest mobile event in the industry. We wanted a Wi-Fi network that was second to none and achieved that and more with Cisco. They helped us design and deploy the network and enable the Wi-Fi services available to more than 80,000 attendees at Fira Gran Via.”

  • Laia Ripoll, Event Director, GSMA Mobile World Congress

“Mobile World Congress brings together representatives from all over the mobile ecosystem and key adjacent industry sectors, underscoring just how pervasive mobile is in our everyday lives and how integrated it is becoming in everything that we do. At Mobile World Congress, we want to offer our attendees the best very experiences and part of that is ensuring continuous, high-quality, high-speed Wi-Fi services. We were pleased that Cisco delivered the network, working with Fira de Barcelona, and the results at Mobile World Congress demonstrate the value of the three teams coming together with a common purpose.”

  • Kelly Ahuja, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider Mobility Business Group, Cisco

“At this year’s edition of the GSMA Mobile World Congress, Wi-Fi became more relevant than ever before. Attendees received high-speed Wi-Fi service for transacting business and general communication, and the Fira was able to add Wi-Fi as a tiered-service offering to exhibitors. Cisco is proud to have played an important role in making this happen, and to collaborate closely with the Fira and the GSMA to deliver a great experience to attendees and exhibitors.”

Supporting Photo

  • Kelly Ahuja

Supporting Resources:


Cisco, Fira de Barcelona, GSMA, Mobile World Congress, MWC, Fira Gran Via,, Kelly Ahuja, Laia Ripoll, Xavier Michavila, Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution, Wi-Fi, Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, Cisco VNI, VNI

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About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. Cisco is also a leader in carrier grade Wi-Fi and in cellular small cell technology. Several of its latest products combine these technologies to support the converged mobile network. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

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