While the big days of mega events for corporations may seem like a thing of the past, it doesn’t mean they are gone forever. Talk to anyone who works in event planning and they will tell you that while it isn’t the wild west it used to be, there are still plenty of businesses that hold large events as part of their annual operations. But planning for these events takes more than tent pole entertainment and a dozen well designated tables. Even the smallest event will need to take wifi deployment into consideration as part of their planning. Since nothing kills an event planner’s reputation faster then having poor wifi reception at the event, it helps to know what to look for when making those event plans.
Start with Bandwidth Limits
One of the biggest disruptors of events has been when everyone is on the net at the same time, causing it to crash or be so slow it might as well have done so. But you don’t have to be one of those disaster stories if you start your wifi deployment plan with a decision to enable the bandwidth limits on your server. If you plan for a per client limit of 1-200kb/s you should have everyone covered and still be able to handle anything the attendee needs. Video may be a bit choppy, but for email and social media you are covered and more. Just be sure that you also turn off the “enable speedburst” setting when you are doing this so you don’t have one super user crash your service in the middle of the event.
Splash Pages and Other Limitations
One of the things you will see at any event is a sudden burst of use as visitors first arrive. This is generally when they are looking up the event website for the floor plan and other useful pieces of information. If you set up your wifi deployment to limit the size of the splash page, this will prevent the usual crash and burn so many events experience at the start of the day. When designing the site, keep the initial splash page simple and then redirect to floor plans, speaker schedules etc. This will keep your wifi from crashing and still give your attendees the information they want as they walk in the door.
Know Your Settings
There are so many ways that you can create wifi deployment for an event, it is truly just a matter of setting up some limits. A good example is using a static IP address for any APs to reduce its dependency on an upstream server. If you set up multiple APs in a room, reducing the transmit power of each AP will allow you to control the number of users on each one. This will in turn create a more even distribution of users. You can also achieve more control if you utilize channel spreading so that the various APs in the small area are broadcasting on different channels, spreading the work around. By following these steps and thinking logically about how you want your users to utilize the wifi network, your next event can create the kind of buzz about your event’s tech that will bring you plenty of repeat customers year after year.