The event planning industry is hectic to say the least. Months of planning go into an event that could last only 3 hours. Planning often includes: budgeting, selecting dates, picking a venue, acquiring permits, coordinating transportation, developing a theme, arranging décor, tables, chairs, tents, support, security, catering, signage and finally making sure there’s suitable WiFi in the venue to support the needs of the exhibitors and guests.
Setting up proper WiFi can be tricky. Using equipment not meant for high density environments can often lead to this:
To make life easier, we’ve created a short checklist to help event managers better understand their WiFi needs
Start off by defining the purpose of the WiFi:
- Do you want to provide basic access for social media, web and email or is the WiFi more mission critical like in an online auction or fundraiser.
- Do you want your guests to stream video? In standard definition or high definition?
All these different situations require different amounts of bandwidth and can be unsuccessful if not properly addressed.
Once you understand your WiFi needs, figure out how many people you plan on supporting on the WiFi at once. Bandwidth needs will multiply incrementally based on simultaneous connections. Keep in mind that some exhibitors or event staff might have a need for dedicated bandwidth, be sure to figure out their needs early in the process.
Now that you know how much bandwidth you need, find out if your event venue has an existing internet connection and what speed it supports. Buying additional bandwidth is often the biggest expense for event producers and can usually be significantly reduced if purchased in advance.
Once you’re confident with your bandwidth requirements, start thinking about your WiFi footprint. Do you plan to offer WiFi throughout the entire event venue or do you just want to set up a HotSpot in a certain area? Are there Ethernet and power connections where you want to set up your hotspot? If not, you’ll have to run wires to connect the wireless infrastructure.
Access points or APs are used to deliver wireless access to users and each has a reach of about 3000 square feet in an open space. APs do have a user limit and can usually support between 50 and 100 people depending on the model. Keep in mind that APs work better from an elevated environment
Now that these major aspects are covered, you can start thinking about WiFi add-ons like setting up a branded client facing portal or delivering advertisements over your network.