When Chicago’s Pokemon Go Festival had major issues with its server and wireless capacity in 2016, the issue made headlines. That kind of situation is an event planner’s worst nightmare. The festival’s activities and festivities were meant to be celebrated largely through the use of smartphones and networks, but the available networks became so overused that these events were inaccessible.
This is one of the most recent and widely publicized failures of a network to accommodate people. But it’s far from the only occurrence. You should definitely be concerned about your event attendees’ ability to access social media and the internet. This is doubly true when a large portion of your event coordination relies on system networking. But if you follow these six simple planning steps, you’ll be well on your way to having the best event internet for your function.
- Estimate the number of guests that will attend the event.
Your ability to estimate your guest total will vary depending on the type of event. Events that are invitation-only will be much easier to estimate than festivals and open events. If your event is open to the public, you should still use the available data to gather an estimate. How much interest have you seen via social media? Has the event been hosted in the past, and if so, how many people attended?
If your event guests will need to use networking and cellular data to download an app, it’s critical that you understand when and where your peak guest flow will be. At peak arrival times, the chances of an overloaded network increase. If too many people are using the same network at once, especially while downloading important information, the network might become laggy or fail completely.
- Determine the amount of network capacity that your event requires.
You’ll approach this question by taking into account a number of different data factors.
First of all, you’ll need to understand the file size of any downloadable content for the event. The smaller the file size, the faster the downloads will complete. It’s a good idea to try to scale down your information and apps into small storage spaces.
If all of your guests intend to download the content on the same network, and all intend to do so upon arrival, you should estimate the number of guests that will be using the network at once. Guess high and make sure you account for peak arrival times.
The amount of data that each guest consumes during the event will affect the capacity your network needs. Obviously, events with thousands of guests will need higher network capacity than events with a few dozen people. Similarly, events with streaming content and downloadable apps will need to increase their capacity to accommodate their guests.
- Have a plan to connect your guests.
You can’t rely on cellular data alone for your guest experience. You need to provide a network with which they can download information. If you rely on cellular data, you run the risk of guests with slow connections being unable to participate. Depending on how rural your event is, some guests might not have cell phone service at all.
If your event is being run in an outdoor area, you’ll have an additional challenge. It’s difficult to build a high capacity WiFi network without the internal wiring of buildings. To do so, you’ll need to invest in specialized hardware. You’ll also need to work with a team of experts and plan your network construction well in advance.
Some guests will use cellular data rather than the network. But if you have thousands of people in one area at a time, the cell signals will also become laggy and disruptive. Cell towers aren’t built to withstand population fluctuations in the thousands.
- Get your priorities straight.
With a network-based event, your most important mission is to construct networks that can handle the demand. The construction isn’t the end, though. Instead, you’ll need to give priority to certain traffic types. Your engineering team might make all cloud-based connections priority, or have another way to ensure event-goers receive the best network benefits.
If there are sponsored live streams as part of the event, you’ll need to make sure you have a high network capacity to avoid interruptions and lag. This means investing in a great deal of bandwidth. It might also mean creating a private network specifically for the live stream so that alternate traffic doesn’t interrupt the connection.
No matter what type of event you’re hosting, it’s possible to configure your network to prioritize the right kinds of traffic.
- Find creative solutions that increase your user satisfaction.
One way to enhance the event experience is by streamlining your network connectivity. Integrate the networks and downloads into the event itself. When you do this, the constructed networks and downloads become another piece of the adventure, rather than a chore.
When your event covers a great deal of space, you might benefit from sectioning off an “App Downloading and Updating Zone.” Limit the capacity to about 300 people or less. This will ensure the network doesn’t become overloaded. Within that zone, you and your team should construct a wireless internet hotspot with extremely fast speeds.
There are two major benefits to this type of sectioning. First of all, the majority of your bandwidth requirement will be shifted from cellular networks to your WiFi network. Second of all, the creative setup will enhance the event experience of your guests. It shows that you’ve given thought to networking requirements.
- Be committed to making an investment.
You should have a budget in place for the event. Make sure that you have estimates for all event costs including the construction of wireless internet networks. Then, make sure that your projected budget realistically lines up with your estimates. Long before the actual event, you should be planning and refining the experience.
For more information on pop-up internet or help planning your event, call Big Internet at 800-741-2924 or contact us here.