Garden Valley Technologies, a local Internet service provider whose offices overlook the fairgrounds, has been supplying the Pennington County Fairground’s Internet service since expanding into Thief River Falls in 2020. Recently, the connectivity needs of the fair have expanded to include electronic ticketing for admission and events, vendors conducting credit card sales transactions, increased software needs, and more. As a result, fairgoer data use has risen dramatically. The fair board needed a new connectivity solution and reached out to Garden Valley Technologies to configure a more robust wireless network.

Garden Valley Technologies CEO/General Manager, Timothy Brinkman explains, “with the high demand of Wi-Fi and the limited and overloaded 4G network, we wanted to create a Wi-Fi network that would not only serve the needs of fair staff and vendors, but also the public, so we presented an outdoor SmartBiz Wi-Fi solution.”

To configure the new wireless network, Garden Valley Technologies utilized existing indoor Gigaspire Wi-Fi systems that were already in place on the fairgrounds and connected them to an all-new outdoor network. GVT mounted four outdoor GigaPros in strategic locations throughout the fairgrounds to provide Wi-Fi coverage from the Grandstands to the Midway and beyond. The deployment of this enhanced network not only provides the needed communications infrastructure, but also offers network security and public access to free Wi-Fi through a custom splash page.

When fairgoers arrive at the fair, they will be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi by joining the Free GVT Wi-Fi network. There is no password required, just enter a name and email address on the splash page for access. “The ultimate goal was to create a technology-friendly environment for fairgoers and staff that allows people to better communicate,” explains Timothy Brinkman, GVT CEO/General Manager.

Garden Valley Technologies plans to offer a similar solution at the Marshall County Fair the following week. In the future, the goal would be for all county fairs and large community events in the GVT service to have access to a reliable, secure Wi-Fi network with outdoor capabilities.

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