An event without wi-fi is pretty lame. It makes the event producers look cheap and inhibits people from having a good time, streaming and sharing.
In 2018 having wi-fi at an event is the bare minimum in digital hospitality. It’s become the norm in coffee shops, offices and even entire cities. Providing wi-fi at your event also allows payment processing machines to work, allows you to upload footage of your event in real time, gives VIPs the royal treatment and allows all your guests to digitally enhance the great time they’re already having.
Hooking up your event with wi-fi isn’t difficult, but it must be done correctly to ensure it’s all benefit and no headache. With these tips you’ll have strong, successful wi-fi for guests to connect to seamlessly, helping everyone connect and use their mobile devices they way they prefer.
- Estimate Your Usage
Create a spreadsheet outlining all the reasons you need wi-fi and how many people signing on that will entail. Having this information ready for your wi-fi vendor will help them recommend an appropriate package that will adequately serve all your guests without wasting your budget.
- Find A Vendor
Do your online research to find a reputable, local wi-fi company. Read reviews from past clients and look at the length of the time the company has been in business, how recently updated their website is and their customer service tone. Wi-fi vendors are as much in the service industry as they are the IT industry, and their attitude towards helping their customers should reflect this.
- Learn Some Lingo
You don’t need to learn every term in an internet almanac, but learning some industry jargon will help you follow along in conversations with any vendor you’re considering. Some common terms are:
- SSID-The name of the wireless network should be something quickly identifiable
- Hardline-A wire connection that some devices may require to connect to the internet if there is no option to connect by wi-fi
- Splash/Portal Page-The page guests are taken to when they select your mobile network to connect to. This page may collect personal information such as an email, display company branding, or may simply ask users to tap a button to connect with no hoops to jump through.
- Access Point-The device that emits the wi-fi signal
- Cat 5 or Cat 6-Types of cables used
- Hot Spare-A backup wi-fi device that’s kept on site in case the first device breaks down for any reason
- SLA-Stands for Service Level Agreement, a contract that defines service expectations between provider and client
The vendor you’re in conversation shouldn’t throw an endless stream of industry jargon at you. If they’re trying to confuse you with professional lingo then they might be attempting to pull the wool over your eyes in other areas, such as your service contract. A good vendor makes everything transparent so as to avoid disputes mid-course and keep the relationship on good terms.
- Pick The Right Bandwidth
The term bandwidth has more than one definition, but for the purposes of event wi-fi, it refers to how much information the internet connection can handle. The amount of bandwidth you’ll need will depend on how many people will be attending your event, how long the event is going for and how large the venue is.
Most temporary internet solutions are delivered by antennas which can generally accommodate over 10 gigabytes per second.
- Create Different Networks
It’s good to segregate your networks depending on what they’ll be used for. For example, your payment machines should run on a different network than the one for your guests, and you can have a private staff network as well. Use your spreadsheet to determine how many unique usages your wi-fi will be put to and create individual networks for each. This helps to maintain information security and keeps each network running smoothly.
- Anticipate Usage Density
Some areas of your event will collect a higher density of people (for example, a bar or a stage) and will need a reinforced wi-fi connection to handle the network strain.
- Ask Your Vendor For Insights
One of the great things about technology is it yields recorded data. Your vendor should provide you with a report of how many devices connected and when, how long they were connected for and how much internet they used. This will help get a sense of your guests activity and help you plan for future events.
Your guests want, need and expect wi-fi, so be a good host and hook them up! By working with a reliable vendor you’ll be making a great investment in your event and provide your guests real value. There are a few details to be on top of, but other than that wi-fi is there to make everyone’s lives easier. Good wi-fi connection allows your guests to connect using mobile technology and easily share the amazing time they’re having, making your event a truly memorable occasion.