Have you ever attended a conference and failed to even get a basic Wi-Fi connection?
Well that’s down to congestion, where too many users are sapping the venue’s bandwidth and the system can't cope with the demand. Anyone attending a major business or trade conference will expect to be instantly connected to the internet.
Most business venues will have a Wi-Fi connection but will it be strong enough for your needs?
A serious amount of preparation is required to supply a world-class connection.
If you’re organising a big event what you have to ask yourself is whether the Wi-Fi will be fast enough? And will it support the number of users who are going to attend?
When organising a business event it’s important to consider the following themes before deciding upon your Wi-Fi supplier.
Supply and Demand
If 500 people are scheduled to attend your event then the Wi-Fi connection may have to cope with up to 1250 devices wanting a signal. Modern attendees are likely to have more than one smartphone, tablet or laptop at their disposal. Therefore you need to consider the sheer volume of internet-enabled devices connecting to your venue’s Wi-Fi connection at any given time.
Wi-Fi networks should be seen and not heard at a business conference. Can you imagine if the venue’s poor signal became the focal point of the entire event? With hundreds of people looking to check their emails on their smartphones, there can’t be any risks when it comes to Wi-Fi.
A recent business conference in Japan has shown what can go wrong if the internet signal is weak. In this instance, the conference room had no Wi-Fi connection but the hallway outside managed to pick up a signal; furthermore the signal could only support a hundred devices at any one time.
At the end of the session there was a mass exodus from the conference hall, as everyone wanted to be one of the lucky hundred who could check their emails. Inevitably the venue’s poor Wi-Fi connection completely overshadowed the main event and became the talking point of the entire conference.
In order to prevent this from happening to your event, it is important to plan ahead and ensure the main areas of the venue are Wi-Fi friendly. As it’s very unlikely an entire venue will be covered in full. The ability to roam seamlessly between rooms may also prove to be a problem because of the way Wi-Fi operates.
Wi-Fi dual band
Therefore understanding the technology behind Wi-Fi is crucial when organising a business conference. 2.4 Ghz is the original Wi-Fi frequency and is the standard type you receive in most commercial venues. However, there is a problem with 2.4 Ghz as the signal is often very weak, susceptible to interference and increasingly congested.
5 Ghz is the new standard for Wi-Fi and is far superior to the older model. It can penetrate walls better and most new smartphones will support this model. Progressive venues are now using 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz at the same time. If they are using dual band technology your users will have a more reliable Wi-Fi experience, so before organising an event you have to consider the venue’s Wi-Fi reach.
Traffic shaping restrictions
Another major issue for business venues is controlling the limits of the Wi-Fi network. Restricting the amount of Wi-Fi data is standard practice when putting on a conference, as you don’t want an individual delegate streaming a live video and affecting everybody else’s service. A quality Wi-Fi connection will allow you to shape and control the traffic to suit your business needs. However, as the event organiser you will want unrestricted access for you and your team.
Need for speed
Above all a successful business conference will have a super-fast Wi-Fi connection that corresponds with user’s demands. 10Mb per 100 users is our recommendation for a high usage crowd, while 2Mb per 100 users is standard for smaller events. A number of websites can test the internet speed of a venue and speedtest.net is our favourite. When you run a test you are looking for a ping speed of less than 30ms and an internet speed of 2Mb per 100 users, so 1000 low usage users (checking emails and social media) 20Mb should be fine.
A top quality Wi-Fi connection should be a seamless experience that everyone will take for granted. The internet has become a utility like tap water and modern users are increasingly demanding. Unfortunately if a host venue has not thoroughly prepared then users may leave your conference frustrated and disappointed.
A poor Wi-Fi connection is bad for business. Together we can help and ensure your Wi-Fi connection is a fast and seamless experience for everyone. Get yourself connected today.