The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow~ Bill Gates
Thanks to internet accessibility, life is not the same as it used to be a decade back!
Internet access has become more of a necessity than a luxury. It has become the life of the party. From live tweeting about events to clicking Insta-worthy selfies to going Facebook live – event goers want to do it all!
Hence, introducing temporary wifi for events is a no-brainer quintessential!
A number of events require temporary internet access for conducting a successful show. By introducing the feature of temporary wifi service, you can achieve two results: enhanced visitor experience, and event promotion through visitors!
Regardless of the event type, you may need a WiFi network for guests, production staff, cameras, and speakers! A strong and stable temporary internet connection may also be required for registration, POS machines, and media or video streaming.
Setting Up WiFi for Event
Now that you understand the value of giving temporary internet to your visitors, here’s how you can go about devising the perfect plan for successful implementation.
Partner With a Reliable WiFi Vendor
The process of establishing a strong temporary internet network starts with choosing a suitable event WiFi provider. You need to look for someone who has prior experience in providing WiFi, especially for large events. Experienced organisations will be able to offer you holistic event WiFi solutions. From setting up the equipment to fixing technical faults – they should be capable to handle it all.
Reach out in your networks for recommendations and look up their business over LinkedIn, Facebook, and other such review platforms. While contacting the company representatives, share all the details about your event. Clearly outline the structure of your event. Understand the event wifi services that the vendor offers. Discuss all the details at length and find out the optimum balance between your expectations and their deliver-ability.
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Do Your Homework
Since most interactions would be tech-centric, you are bound to come across some jargon’s. To ensure that you are not totally lost, try and get accustomed to the language. Some commonly used terms may be:
- Service Set Identifier or SSID: it is the name of the WiFi network
- Splash: this is the portal that welcomes guests when they attempt to connect to the network
- Access point: much like a temporary wifi router, access points emit WiFi signals
- Hardline: hardlines are actual physical connections and cables required to set up a temporary wifi network
- SLA: SLA stands for Service Level Agreement, which is a contract between you and the WiFi provider
- Hot Spare: it is a preconfigured device set up at the site to act as a backup
Remember, you do not have to be a networking expert, but a basic knowledge of these terms will help convey your thoughts and ideas more effortlessly.
Chart a Cable Plan for Equipment
Even though the temporary wifi connection will be primarily wireless, there are going to be physical networks involved. There may be some devices that require an ethernet connection. Some sections of the event venue may only require wired connections. Similarly, there are going to be power cables for the equipment.
Hence, to avoid any mishap or deficiency, you need to create a cable plan at the very early stages. Try to draft it in parallel with your event planning so that you can have everything in order much before the D-day. Once it has been prepared, share it with your vendor so they can prepare accordingly. Do not forget to mention the essential details such as the presence of walls, beams, or partitions that they may have to cut or drill through.
Choose the Correct Bandwidth
Temporary wifi internet service providers will offer you multi-tiered plans that offer varying speeds. Opting for a dedicated bandwidth will ensure that your event will conclude successfully without any network-related hiccups. However, they can also be a little pricey. You need to pick a bandwidth that can sustain and support your activities without upsetting your budget.
Partition the WiFi for Organisers and Guests
The internet requirements of your team of organisers would be much more crucial than that of your guests. A slight downtime on your work network can kick off a disastrous chain reaction! Thus, you need to ensure that there are separate networks for the visitors and the organising team. This bifurcation will allow you to work seamlessly without burdening the guest WiFi. Plus, it bolsters the security of your work network, which may otherwise be compromised if it is accessible to all.
You wouldn’t want to witness the complete WiFi network collapsing just because one of your guests decided to download the latest Game of Thrones episode!
Having two separate networks also ensures that your tasks do not slow down the visitor’s experience. Having dedicated WiFi connections takes the load off a single general network.
Map Out User Density
There are going to be regions at your venue that will experience a greater guest density than others.
It could be near the refreshment counters, or the bar, or the stage. Considering that these areas will be the focus of visitor’s attention, it will also have a greater demand. Upon identifying these niches, you can ask your WiFi provider to set up high-density temporary wifi hotspot units. Make sure that you have access points that are more than a year old and can support a minimum of 100 active devices simultaneously.
While in the previous case, user behaviour can be foretold, in other cases, it can be hard to predict. On the day of the event, you may have guests that make use of multiple devices to access the internet. These devices do not necessarily have to be mobile phones. The visitors may also be carrying laptops, network cameras, tablets, and smart watches. Such devices have varying bandwidth requirements.
Thus, be prepared to handle fluctuating requirements while installing temporary WiFi for events.
Maintain Top Security Standards
Maintaining high levels of security and data privacy should be a given while dealing with setting up internet connections. Consult a network expert to determine the level of security that your event needs. Due to the lack of encryption involved, unsecured wireless networks are more responsive than their secured counterparts. However, if you make use of high-quality access points, then you can offer enhanced security without compromising on the speed or signal strength.
Don’t just simply rely on what your WiFi vendor’s promises, test out the network for yourself. The last thing that you would is a hacker getting access to your network to steal visitor information. Similarly, having a dormant malware spread from a visitor’s device to the entire network would be a total nightmare.
Tips for Temporary Event WiFi
Since you have understood what it takes to set up temporary WiFi for events, here’s how you can make the experience even better:
The construction of your event venue plays a vital role in determining the placement of the access points. Event WiFi providers factor in the following infrastructural designs:
- Composition and thickness of the walls and floors
- Placement of concrete structures
- Presence of metallic surfaces
- Location of structural beams; and
- Any system to offer ground to the building
These construction elements can block or dampen the WiFi signals. The metallic components can cause interference and hamper with the signal quality.
To avoid such a situation where the coverage area of your temporary event WiFi gets reduced, run your event floor plan with a wireless specialist. By this practice, the event WiFi provider can strategically figure out the optimum placement of the equipment and access points.
Request for a Unified Management System
Whether you are establishing an indoor or outdoor event WiFi, you will need an integrated hub to manage the networks. At present, cloud-based technology is turning mainstream and temporary WiFi service is also catching up with it. From consoles to temporary wifi dongle, every equipment can be easily controlled by a cloud controller.
Through cloud controllers, you can bypass on-site controllers to have centralised control over the network available in different locations. Plus, it is capable of capturing user analytics more effectively. Some cloud controllers offer mobile apps, which makes management portable and convenient.
Hence, request your vendor to offer you a cloud-based network management system.
Factor in External Interference
Sometimes, seemingly innocent objects such as rice lights could interfere with the WiFi signal dispersion!
Depending on the nature of your event, the temporary internet will have to be specifically configured. WiFi technology primarily operates at the 2.4GHz channel, which is widely used in phones, wireless communication devices, and even security systems.
Thus, if a large number of devices are operational at a 2.4GHz bandwidth, it will cause high volume traffic and frequency overlapping. To combat this menace, wireless network experts suggest setting up a dual channel wireless communication system that operates at a frequency that’s less congested. Normally, a 5GHz bandwidth is used for complementing the 2.4GHz bandwidth.
Consider the Environmental Condition
In continuation with the above point, the environment also affects temporary internet services. Water can hamper with the WiFi signal dispersion. There are a number of elements that can dampen the signal strength or speed.
Amongst the possible culprits, the most potent element is liquid, and in most cases, water. Thus, climatic events such as rain or mist can reduce the efficacy of outdoor event WiFi. In fact, the effect of water is so strong that dense foliage can completely block the dissipation of WiFi signals!
Interestingly, our bodies are composed of 75% water. Thus, even the presence of a large number of people in confined spaces can reduce WiFi performance!
Gather Event Insights
The greatest advantage of offering temporary WiFi service is that you get analytical reports related to your event. As an event organiser, getting the opportunity to gather data is similar to striking gold!
You will get information related to the number of devices connected, the bandwidth usage patterns, and how useful it was to introduce WiFi. Using this data, you can build on the inputs collected and have more successful events in the future.
Furthermore, you can send out feedback links to the attendees. Due to internet access, you can now get your feedback almost instantly!
Stay Away From Self-Promoters
While considering a vendor that offers temporary WiFi for events, be mindful of those who have a leaning towards shameless self-promotion. They could sneakily add their own advertisement or branding on the Splash page. Some may even try to outshine your client’s brand!
The most frustrating part of this action would be that such service providers may not even seek your permission for running self-promotions!
Finally, dealing in event WiFi services is a sensitive matter since you can gain access to visitor information. Thus, choose a vendor who is responsible enough to carry out their tasks professionally.
Large public events are already stressful enough. As an event planner, you may have a lot to manage. However, giving your audience temporary internet access for events can definitely pay off as an effective tactic. It is also rather useful in the long run to gather valuable event insights. Remember, setting up temporary WiFi services requires time and thorough planning. It is not something that can be achieved overnight. In the hands of an expert, much of the technical aspects are taken off your shoulders. Involve the WiFi vendor right from the planning process so that they can give inputs on maximising the signal strength and coverage.
Hopefully, this guide will help you feel well-versed with setting up a temporary WiFi service for a large public event. With this knowledge, you may feel less daunted by the task at hand.
How has your experience been, as an event organiser or an attendee, at an event where temporary internet is accessible? Let us know in the comments below!