How to Ensure Your Event WiFi Doesn’t Suck
ensuring stable event wifi
  • by Seth Burstein
  • Jun 24, 2019
  • event wifi problems

Internet connectivity at an event venue can be tricky to get right. There’s almost never enough time to set up everything exactly the way you want, and as attendees start to pour in and connect to the WiFi, something is inevitably going to go sideways. If you don’t have a skilled technician on-site, your guests may be stuck with Internet that just isn’t up to par – or worse.


Why event WiFi often fails


For fixed environments like hotels, resorts, and office buildings, its easy to predict most factors affecting network connectivity, such as the number of connected devices, where the hotspots should be located, and how the WiFi will be used. The installation might span days or weeks, and there’s ample time to test and troubleshoot the network in order to work out the defects. As such, these networks tend to be built for longevity and high performance.


When it comes to setting up the WiFi at an event venue, however, you can’t expect the same luxuries. Even for organizers who perform network tests before their events, it’s nearly impossible to predict exactly how the Internet will perform once the guests have arrived and everyone has connected to the network. The variable number of people attending an event and how many devices they’re bringing are two factors that make it difficult to come up with a truly accurate estimate.


Other factors that may be a challenge to estimate beforehand include:

-        The types of devices being connected to the network, with different devices requiring different WiFi settings.

-        What the devices will be used for, whether it’s sharing pictures, streaming videos, or other more intensive applications.


It’s also difficult to predict the precise speeds event attendees will need. Even in situations where you can predict the number of attendees and their devices, the physical location of the devices are ever-changing. Large crowds of people moving from one area to another can put serious strain on the performance of event WiFi networks.


So, what can you do?


Precautionary steps to avoid a WiFi failure


Despite the unpredictability involved in setting up network connectivity at a venue, avoiding a mishap is still possible if you engage in proper event WiFi planning. Here are a few quick tips to make sure your event WiFi is sufficient to keep attendees happy:


1 - Hire a skilled network engineer

When it comes to managing the network connection at an event, hiring specialized event network engineers can take away a good chunk of your worries. Ask your service provider (the company managing your network) if a trained network engineer will be on-site during your event and make note of the approximate response time in the case of a WiFi outage. Ensure that your engineer will be available during the entirety of the event, whether in person or over the phone, as they can help you minimize the chance of disruption and provide immediate support should a network failure occur. Of course, in person is preferred, but it does come at a cost.


2 - Invest in the latest network technology

With network hardware, newer is almost always better. Make a point to query your provider about the age of the network equipment being used for your event and whether or not the hardware is designed for high-density environments. Using the latest enterprise-grade equipment results in a much greater chance of stable, uninterrupted WiFi.


3- Know your requirements

Sharing your network requirements with your service provider can give them a better idea of how to best meet your needs. Be sure to mention anything relevant to your event, including the number of people expected to attend, what they might be using the Internet for, the maximum number of simultaneous users, and whether or not you plan to use the WiFi for registrations, payments, live polls, etc. Being informed is always a step in the right direction, and your provider should be able to create a priority “virtual network” or VLAN for critical functions.


4- Don’t go overboard

If youre on a tight budget after having finalized your venue, and you’re not sure that the WiFi can face everything event-goers might throw at it, consider limiting your scope. Restricting online functions to the basics (like email) while allowing slightly more leeway for production and presenter purposes can be an effective way of cutting back. While this won’t net you any awards, itll limit the risk of failure, and meeting minimal attendee requirements with efficiency is better than serving everyone poorly.


If everything goes well, you’ll hear nothing more than the satisfied silence of your attendees as they make the most of the WiFi at your next event, the true mark of success.


That said, wed like to leave you with one more great tip: consider Trade Show Internet for your event WiFi solutions.


We’ve deployed high-performance Internet at hundreds of events and have established many of the industry’s best practices along the way. Take a look at our solutions for Event WiFi and our Event IT Solution. For a successful installation at your next event that covers all of your needs, let’s get in touch.