You are having a large event with attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, media, and staff. The venue and hotel space is booked, the speakers selected, and the food and beverage secured. Anything else you need to worry about? Yes there is…network connectivity! Network connectivity can make or break your event and having the right Wi-Fi network that includes wireless network array rentals, enough access points, and bandwidth is as important as having dynamic presenters.
Lets address the different type of event participants and their connectivity needs.
Attendees will generally be accessing mobile devices to check their emails, go on the Internet for Social Media or Google needs, and/or access a web-based mobile application. You will need to determine the following:
- How many wireless devices will each attendee have? How many have smartphones? If you rent iPads for your conference needs, you may want to ask your attendee to leave their laptop at home to prevent the network from slowing down.
- How many wireless devices will be simultaneously connected? Chances are if they have a smartphone and you rent Tablet PCs, those devices will be connected to your Wi-Fi system at all times.
- What is going to be an acceptable connectivity speed? If attendees are used to lighting speed at the office and at home, they will not be satisfied with a 30-second delay every time they want to access something on the Internet. Test the system and when renting audio visual equipment, give your team plenty of time to set up and test the network.
- Is the network secure? Implement proper network security with logins and passwords for remote users.
- Is the support staff monitoring and measuring all network traffic, both internal and external, to ensure the bandwidth is large enough? This also needs to be simulated and tested well before the conference. You may want to limit the number of virtual attendees if you know in advance it will degrade your network.
Most presenters nowadays demand fast and robust connectivity. Sufficient bandwidth is critical and having a AV and IT staff available to keep the network moving along is key.
- Can you put all speakers on a separate network? This is ideal because if the attendee network crashes due to overload, the speakers’ network will not be affected.
- Is the network robust? Having the right bandwidth, number of access points, and mobile technology will give the speaker maximum connectivity and flexibility with audience.
Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors
Sponsors expect to be treated as a VIP attendee and one of their perks may be to have access to a different network, that is both fast and secure. Exhibitors may rent iPads and/or have kiosk rentals to showcase their product and service offerings. They only have a few seconds or minutes with attendees, so network availability and connectivity is key to their success.
- Can you put all sponsors and exhibitors on a separate network? For the same reasons as above, try and keep the network separate from the general attendee population.
- Is the network robust and secure? Again, the worst thing that can happen to your exhibitors is to be demonstrating something on the iPad and for the system to go down! Make sure they have adequate bandwidth and access points.
- Is the support staff immediately available? If something does goes wrong, a high level of technical support is needed to fix the network on a moments notice.