You never really know someone until you’ve seen them use slow internet. We’ve all been through the frustration of an app or web page not loading when we need it most – and it can test anyone’s patience.
When it comes to event planning, it’s worth installing Wi-Fi at your venue, or temporarily upgrading your existing network to keep attendees satisfied. Whether you’re hosting a music festival or conference, communication is central to any event – whatever its size.
Why is Wi-Fi Needed at Events?
A good connection is vital to any event, as a lack of Wi-Fi may deter those who depend on being connected from attending. Also, poor user experience can reflect badly on your brand, and people may be tempted to use their mobile network to share their disappointment across social media.
Wi-Fi is important for event organisers to ensure everything goes to plan. For example, Steve Jobs was left dumbfounded in 2010 when he couldn’t access the iPhone 4’s network to demonstrate its features, due to no event Wi-Fi.
Understanding the Technology Behind Wi-Fi
To ensure a positive attendee experience, a fast and stable network is necessary. The original standard Wi-Fi frequency was 2.4 GHz, the type you’ll find in older equipment and domestic routers. These days 5 GHz is the norm, which uses many more channels and is less prone to interference. Combined with intelligent Wi-Fi controllers and well-designed networks, Wi-Fi users can now enjoy trouble free connectivity even in noisy environments.
The right solution depends on the type of event and should be negotiated in advance. Various manufacturers supply equipment with different capabilities, depending on the project in hand.
Why Wi-Fi May Struggle at Events
Wi-Fi users expect excellence nowadays and take an uninterrupted connection for granted. Failure to connect can easily leave attendees frustrated, which may tarnish your reputation.
A bad connection can be down to congestion, where lots of users drain the bandwidth, pressuring the system to cope with everyone’s needs. The speed of Wi-Fi depends on the type of users at the event, high Wi-Fi usage can demand around 50Mb or higher per 100 users, compared to around 10Mb for low usage.
Most venues have Wi-Fi, but it may not be good enough for users’ needs. Ensuring a quality and trusted network takes preparation and the help of event Wi-Fi specialists.
Things to Consider When Planning Your Event
Wi-Fi offers flexibility, and many people object to using up their 3G or 4G allowance. Many event planning experts compare offering internet connectivity at events to water or pens. In other words, Wi-Fi is essential if you want to keep your attendees happy or encourage them to go to the event in the first place.
1) How Many People Are Attending?
It’s safe to assume that at a conference, many people will have two or three devices including phones, laptops and tablets. If you have an idea of how many people are attending the event, you can plan ahead to ensure the Wi-Fi keeps everyone connected.
2) Who Will the Users be?
If you’re holding a business conference,
attendees may want to connect their various devices to continue their daily work-related activities. Meanwhile, festival-goers may want to keep updated with their friends on social media.
Know your audience for an idea of how they’ll be using the internet. Your crowd may require high usage for watching videos, or low usage for checking emails and browsing the web. It’s crucial to cater for these needs, as no one likes slow internet.
You’ll need to prepare for the possibility of bandwidth hogs – those who connect lots of devices to perform different tasks. You may be able to restrict usage to ensure that everyone has a good experience, although event planners may need unrestricted access.
3) When and Where Will Wi-Fi be Used?
There may be times when the Wi-Fi will be used more than others, which can put a strain on it. For example, lots of people may access the internet during breaks at a conference.
Also, it’s unlikely that an event can be fully connected. Your event may be spread across a large area, where you’ll need to prioritise coverage. It’s best to select high-traffic zones to keep most people happy. For instance, it wouldn’t be wise to have the best signal in the toilets!
Roaming seamlessly between rooms can sometimes prove problematic, so decide on which areas need Wi-Fi the most. At a business event, this may be areas like the main room and lunch room, where there are higher densities of people.
A poor Wi-Fi connection can result in displeased attendees, which reflects badly on event organisers. A venue’s existing internet connection probably isn’t adequate for a large number of users, so we recommend you upgrade your network temporarily to meet demand.
Our experts have kept plenty of events connected, with as little as 24 hours notice. Contact us to see how we can help you.Posted 17th November 2016