How Much Bandwidth Does All of PAX Use?

By Published April 29, 2016 at 10:50 am

PAX East's show floor was flooded with as many attendees – if not more – as we've seen in the past five years, but this year marked a major milestone: The wireless internet was usable. Traditionally, the sheer size of PAX begins an onslaught upon the internet which is unsustainable by convention center networks. This year, the BCEC stepped-up its game with the Aruba WiFi project and went forth to release statistics on bandwidth consumption, active concurrent users, and total user count for the weekend. The project was a culmination of work from Aruba Networks, MCCA, and M S Ben Bow, and has been underway since 2014.

This also gives an updated idea as to the size of PAX. We haven't received numbers in years, but the show should be in excess of 70,000 attendees at this point. The wireless network is not, of course, used by every attendee (none of our staff connected to it with mobile devices), but it's still heavily saturated.

Here are a few charts:




Total combined up/downlink utilization totaled 16.1TB of data at roughly 496.9Mb/s over three days. This bandwidth was consumed by a total of 36,402 unique users, a number which the Aruba project managers identified as “about a 50% take rate of all people attending PAX.”

Friday reached 12,000 peak concurrent users (simultaneous users at one second – an impressive number), Saturday hit 15,000 and set a record for the BCEC, and Sunday achieved 14,000 peak concurrent users. The Aruba WiFi group also indicated that 20-25% of total internet traffic was consumed by wired booths (Overwatch, Twitch, Intel streamers, so forth); the remaining ~75% of internet traffic was carried by WiFi.

A total of 518 access points were deployed throughout the building (specifically, models AP-224 and AP-225, which seem to run about $1000 each). Mike Binkowski of the project ran his own speed test from “the middle of the show floor” and achieved a 32.03Mbps downrate and 23.56Mbps uprate – better than the majority of America's home network speeds, despite being shared by thousands of concurrent users.

Just some interesting stats. Read the rest of our PAX coverage here.

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on April 29, 2016 at 10:50 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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