Incorporating WiFi Into Your Conference Experience

Today’s guest post is written by Adam Steadman, CEO of Get Me Connected, who supplies reliable WiFi connection from an event perspective, as well as a technological one, all over Europe.

Have you ever attended a conference and failed to even get a basic Wi-Fi connection? Where too many users are sapping the venue’s bandwidth and the system can’t cope with the demand? It’s beyond frustrating. In this day and age, anyone attending a conference will expect to be instantly connected to the internet.

Most venues these days have a WiFi 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 organizing a big event it’s important to ask yourself is whether the WiFi will be fast enough, and if it will support the number of users who are going to attend.

When organizing a conference, it’s absolutely vital to consider the following themes before deciding upon your Wi-Fi supplier.

Supply and Demand

Have-you-ever-attended-a-conference-and-failed-to-even-get-a-basic-Wi-Fi-connection-lots-of-devices

If 500 people are scheduled to attend your event, the WiFi connection could have to cope with up to 1250 devices wanting a signal since 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.

Coverage

Have-you-ever-attended-a-conference-and-failed-to-even-get-a-basic-Wi-Fi-connection-Speed

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 WiFi.

A recent business conference in Japan is a perfect example of what can go wrong if the internet signal is weak. At this particular event, the conference room had no WiFi connection, but the hallway outside managed to pick up a signal, but was only able to support a few hundred devices at a time.

At the each of the session, there was a mass exodus from the conference hall, as everyone wanted to be one of the lucky who could check their emails. Inevitably the venue’s poor WiFi connection completely overshadowed the main event and became the talking point of the entire conference.

In order to prevent this from happening at your event, it is important to plan ahead and ensure the main areas of the venue are WiFi 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 WiFi operates.

WiFi Dual Band

Have-you-ever-attended-a-conference-and-failed-to-even-get-a-basic-Wi-Fi-connection-Coverage

Understanding the technology behind WiFi is crucial when organizing a conference. 2.4Ghz is the original WiFi frequency and is the standard type you receive in most commercial venues. However, there is a problem with 2.4Ghz as the signal is often very weak, susceptible to interference and increasingly congested.

5Ghz is the new standard for WiFi 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 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz at the same time. If they are using dual band technology your users will have a more reliable WiFi experience, so before organizing an event at a venue, it’s important to inquire which model they support (or if they support both).

Traffic Shaping Restrictions

Another major issue for business venues is controlling the limits of the WiFi network. Restricting the amount of WiFi 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 WiFi connection will allow you to shape and control the traffic to suit your business needs. However, as the event organizer you will want unrestricted access for you and your team.

Need For Speed

Above all, a successful business conference will have a super-fast WiFi 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 (speedtest.net is our favorite!). When you run a test, you should look 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 WiFi connection should be a seamless experience for all attendees. The internet has become a utility like tap water and modern users are increasingly demanding. If a host venue has not thoroughly prepared, users may leave your conference frustrated and disappointed. In short, a poor WiFi connection is bad for business.

If you’re planning an event in Europe, reach out to Get Me Connected to ensure that the WiFi connection at your next conference is a fast and seamless experience for everyone. Get yourself connected today!