Top 10 Problems with Wi-Fi Access at Events, Part 1
Aug 24, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Wi-Fi networks are all the rage at conferences, seminars, and training meetings. Most attendees expect them to be available, work properly, and most importantly, to be fast. However, often times without the proper questions being asked of the conference services organization, the attendee and meeting planner are left frustrated and unhappy with their Wi-Fi experience.

Below, are some common problems with WiFi at events and suggested solutions:

#1: Wi-Fi Network is faulty, slow, or non-existent
Wi-Fi array equipment rentalToday, we expect Wi-Fi to be available everywhere. After all, it’s even at McDonald’s! The problem is, the casual users at McDonald’s, are not fighting for bandwidth with hundreds or thousands of other attendees all at the same time, for a specified length of time. So when 500 attendees get on the system at the same time, Internet access slows to a snail’s pace or worse it crashes and some frantic staff member gets up on stage and says "The Wi-Fi isn’t working". In some instances, there are venues that have no Wi-Fi at all. 
What to do? Ask for references of similar-sized meetings that have used Wi-Fi extensively at their venue. Better yet, see if you can sit in the back of the room for a few minutes and test the bandwidth yourself at a meeting. Lastly, never assume they have Wi-Fi…Ask!
And if you feel that the Wi-Fi network is unreliable and slow, consider a wireless network array rental from AV Event Solutions. The high-performance wireless network array offers reliable, access points capable of delivering vast amounts of bandwidth, capacity and user-density for wired-like performance.

#2: Attendee has to pay for connection services

Never, ever allow this to happen. Your attendees are going to be extremely unhappy if they go to their guest rooms and learn, they have to pay for Internet connection. Negotiate all Wi-Fi service provider charges up front and put it into the standard venue contract. Make certain you have the contract at the meeting and available to you at all times. Go over the contract once on-site with the appropriate hotel and convention staff, so no one ends up with a charge on their bill. 

#3: Tech support is not on-site or immediately available, if there is a problem

Attendees expect instantaneousous results if the network crashes. Having to wait 24 hours just isn’t going to cut it. A good Wi-Fi solution provider is going to have tech support staff on-site or a phone call away to fix the problem. Event organizers need to let attendees know what is happening by posting up-to-the-minute updates on when the network will be back up. 

#4: Venue has installed no extra equipment for a larger meeting

Wi-Fi access for 20 attendees is a whole lot different than an event for 2,000. If the hotel or convention center has not added more access points and speed, the attendees system will crash. It is important to have the company providing Wi-Fi know the number of attendees coming to the event, the room configuration, and an estimation of how many mobile devices will be used by the attendees, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Be prepared to allocate more money in your budget for an enterprise wireless network router and labor to install and test it.
#5: Conference services staff has no idea what you are talking about

Most hoteliers and convention staffers know nothing about Wi-Fi, except that they have it. They don’t know technology and probably never will. So it is your job to surround yourself with people who can come on a site visit, ask the right questions, and inspect the location’s Wi-Fi installation. AV Event Solutions provides this service with its network array rental.

Are you planning an event and need to boost the Wi-Fi performance at the facility? Contact AV Event Solutions to provide you with a WiFi solution as well as state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals, including iPads, Tablet PCs, and laptops. 

Make sure you read Part 2 to learn about the other 5 problems with Wi-Fi access at Events.

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