A well-designed WiFi infrastructure is essential for venues that regularly host events — like conference centers, hotels, and exhibition halls. But what if you plan to host an event somewhere without a permanent WiFi setup?
Don’t worry. Your attendees aren’t doomed to rely on 4/5G. Temporary or outdoor WiFi solutions allow your guests to stay connected and enjoy all the features of a powerful WiFi network. This guide walks you through WiFi solutions perfect for your unique event, whether you’re organizing a music festival, business conference, outdoor trade show, or fundraising event.
The Importance of Reliable Event WiFi
Fast, reliable, and secure event (or exhibition) WiFi is fast becoming the foundation of a successful event — and in today’s digital world, only “back to nature” events like yoga retreats thrive without it.
Excellent event WiFi is a win-win for organizers, attendees, and beyond:
- Excellent temporary WiFi solutions support registration, networking, social media sharing, and scheduling.
- It allows your attendees to stay connected, offer feedback in real-time, charge their devices at WiFi-connected charging stations, and access quick and secure payment options that won’t keep them waiting.
- Event WiFi allows organizers to collect valuable data, connect with future customers, and generate leads.
- It allows sponsors to reach future customers (benefiting organizers in the process).
- Event WiFi reduces paper trails, reducing waste and benefiting the planet.
Reliable event WiFi almost sounds like a superpower. However, organizers who know WiFi will play a key role in turning their event into a wild success may be apprehensive about the challenges associated with installing temporary WiFi networks. Don’t be scared. Temporary WiFi doesn’t have to break the bank, and (with the right vendor on your side) you’ll even get to hold onto your sanity.
Temporary WiFi Setups: Quick and Efficient
Temporary WiFi setups perfect for events come in all shapes and sizes — just like permanent business WiFi solutions.
We don’t want to overwhelm you, but we do want you to be aware of your options. Here’s a very quick tour:
- Mobile hotspots use cellphone networks to provide connectivity. They’re great for smaller (outdoor) events but have data limits and depend on reliable signal strength.
- Rented WiFi routers designed for temporary use are another excellent choice, especially for indoor events. Because these routers can be connected to existing internet connections, event organizers gain more control over configuration options, while attendees and organizers benefit from increased security.
- Mesh WiFi networks rely on interconnected access points to extend coverage over a wider area, making them excellent for large outdoor events like sports events or music festivals. Their design ensures network stability even if an individual access point stops working, but mesh networks are complex to set up.
- Temporary satellite internet can be set up in remote areas without existing internet infrastructure. While most costly and less reliable, it is sometimes the only option.
How to Choose the Right Temporary WiFi Setup
Planning the right temporary WiFi setup requires organizers to consider the nature, duration, and size of the event. One size never fits all, and that’s doubly true for complex events. Consider your attendees’ needs, goals, and the limitations inherent in your location before making your choice — and reach out if you need any help.
Event WiFi Bandwidth: Finding the Sweet Spot
Finding your “Goldilocks zone” (not too hot, not too cold, but just right!) is a complex undertaking, especially if you don’t have technical knowledge. Don’t be afraid to leave this task to the professionals, but be armed with the following info:
- Your planned number of attendees.
- The types of activities your temporary event WiFi needs to support, like browsing, social media, streaming, uploads and downloads, gaming, and integrating smart devices.
- The size and layout of your venue.
- Quality-of-service requirements to prioritize critical applications and activities, redundancy, load balancing, and backup plans.
Once you have a solid picture of your needs, your networking professionals can work with you to ensure that your event WiFi network reliably supports all your needs, with full coverage and minimal downtime.
Common Bandwidth Pitfalls
Temporary event WiFi networks present several unique challenges — and organizers who don’t have experience with their installation often make understandable but avoidable mistakes.
Take the fact that your network will have peak times (like keynote speeches or registration) that can cause overloads. Planning for redundancies and load balancing is key to avoiding network congestion and slow performance.
Contingency planning that ensures your network can handle hiccups is vital, and it’s especially important to remember that your attendees won’t be the only ones to use your event WiFi network. Your employees and smart devices need sufficient bandwidth, too.
Event WiFi for Livestreaming: Capturing the Moment
Unless you’re organizing a ‘90s nostalgia event, it’s essential for event WiFi networks that support livestreaming to be low-latency and high-quality. Nobody wants to deal with a constantly-buffering stream that plays in 114p, after all.
Remember that livestreaming primarily depends on upload speeds, with 5 to 10 Mbps (or more) typically required for HD streams. Your bandwidth requirements grow with each concurrent livestream you plan to host.
Choose a reliable platform, like YouTube, Facebook Live, or Twitch, make sure your temporary event WiFi network is configured correctly, and use a dedicated encoder to facilitate smooth live streaming. Quality-of-service features can ensure that your live streams receive appropriate priority within your WiFi network.
Tips for Seamless Livestreaming
Ensuring a smooth streaming experience is tricky, but adhering to best practices goes a long way. Start by consulting this handy checklist:
- Make sure you have sufficient bandwidth, taking into account that high-quality streams in HD or 4K require more bandwidth.
- Configure your encoding settings to ensure quality and performance.
- Use a wired (Ethernet) connection for streaming where possible to ensure a smooth experience.
- Secure quality hardware — cameras, capture cards, and microphones.
- Conduct extensive testing before your livestreams.
- Use monitoring tools to track your performance in real-time.
- Safeguard your stream key.
- Choose a reputable streaming platform suitable for your needs.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Event WiFi: A Tale of Two Venues
The perfect temporary event WiFi solution for your unique event already exists — but the nature of your venue greatly impacts the challenges you’ll face. While indoor and outdoor venues are associated with common pitfalls, you can also count on solutions that make your event WiFi work for you.
Considerations for Outdoor WiFi
Are you organizing an outdoor event and determined to secure the right temporary WiFi solution? You’ll have to deal with:
- The weather. Outdoor networks are vulnerable to interference from wind, rain, and extreme temperatures. You’ll require access points designed for outdoor use and surge protectors.
- The great outdoors. Nature doesn’t have a natural endpoint. You’ll need to plan the placement of your access points strategically to ensure optimal coverage and may need high-gain antennas.
- Your power supply. Solar power, generators, and power-over-Ethernet solutions may be required.
- Red tape. Regulations related to WiFi coverage in outdoor areas may also come into play, so make sure you’re compliant and obtain the required permits.
- Security. Outdoor networks can, depending on your setup, be more vulnerable to physical interference or rogue access points. Have strong encryption protocols in place and continuously monitor the network for malicious activity.
Considerations for Indoor WiFi
While indoor WiFi is the “default,” you’ll still face unique challenges when installing a temporary event WiFi network in a location without a permanent WiFi infrastructure. To make your event a success, be mindful of these problems:
- Network interference. Indoor areas come with interference from other WiFi networks or mobile devices, slowing internet speeds. Using dual-band or tri-band routers can minimize interference, but access point placement is also vital.
- Physical barriers. Consider that walls, floors, ceilings, and obstacles can cause dead zones by blocking WiFi signals, and plan your access points accordingly.
- User density. Crowded areas with numerous users lead to slow internet speeds. Plan ahead by investing in quality hardware and implementing quality-of-service features.
- Security. Indoor networks face security threats stemming from unauthorized access, so robust encryption is a must.
Event organizers can look forward to exciting innovations that will revolutionize event planning, including 5G and Internet of Things integration, AI-powered network management, and virtual reality experiences and attractions. Even now, however, there’s no question that you need an efficient WiFi network to make your event come to life.
No matter what type of event you are organizing, it’s a unique opportunity to connect people. In today’s world, that means more than physical handshakes and old-school networking — it also means a fast, reliable, and safe event WiFi network.
An excellent WiFi network supports your attendees from registration to the invitation to participate in future opportunities right after a successful event. Effective temporary event WiFi solutions are, in short, the core of your success — and making the right choice is crucial.