Broadband Internet…The Essentials You Need To Know To Keep Your Event Connected.


You want to connect to your attendees, and attendees want to connect with each other, right?!  The foundation of many of our interactions, especially at meetings and events, is the internet; yet even with its ever-growing importance, it is still one of the biggest complications for many meeting professionals.

Today, we will discuss the questions you should be asking the venue, the best practices for planning your network needs, and tips for keeping your event connected.

Determine Your Onsite Network Needs

Before approaching a venue or network provider, you’ll want to determine, how much bandwidth will be sufficient for your event.  As mentioned in our previous post, 15 Reasons Your Event Needs an App, each person has an average of 2.7 devices, which vary in use from checking email, to video streaming.  When estimating usage, consider how many devices, not attendee will be at your event, and what the devices will most commonly be used for.  Use an online bandwidth calculator to assist you in determining your needs.

Qualify the Venue or Network Provider

Once you’ve determined how much bandwidth will be needed at your event, you will want to ensure the network at your venue can support your needs. Asking specific and solicitous questions will save you time, money, and frustrations in internet usage.  Here are the top five questions to ask when approaching a venue:

  1. Does the site include wireless isolation to separate your attendees from other users within the venue?

 Not only does isolation protect your attendees’ information from being shared via the internet connection. A dedicated bandwidth may cost more, yet it will often be less congested and provide your attendees with a faster, more secure connection. Depending on the information being shared at your event it may be necessary to have a dedicated network for security purposes.


  1. Is the Wi-Fi you are purchasing available venue-wide, or is it for specific areas (i.e., the ballroom, breakout rooms, sleeping rooms, etc.)?

 Some facilities may redirect the bandwidth to the meeting space, which may leave your attendees disconnected in their sleeping rooms. Others still, may have one network for the entire venue; this may cause congestion at peak hours when your attendees and other venue guests are all connecting at the same time.


  1. Will you be charged per device or for a certain about of bandwidth for the entire event?

 If you are being charged a flat fee for internet for your entire event, what Mbps is going to be consistently available to your attendees? If you are being charged per device, ensure the hotel can provide you with real-time reporting of how much bandwidth is being used by your attendees.  If you are being charged per device, ensure the hotel can provide you with real-time reporting of the number of devices being used on your network.


  1. When was the facilities technology last updated?

 With the ever-evolving technological capabilities, equipment can be obsolete in a matter of years. Request the facility provides you with Wireless Access Point Diagrams to make certain that the network can handle your needs. If the facility’s equipment is has now been updated in the last five years, consider bringing in your own network. Your AV provider should be able to provide you with hotspots or snap kits that create a personal network for your event.


  1. What support will be provided onsite in the event that your network goes down?

 Ask what times the onsite support is available, as well as their average response time. If remote support is offered ask to be walked through the process of contacting the remote company and what back-up network is provided while the support is working to fix your network. Being prepared and knowledge about both onsite and remote support will save you stress and time if problems arise during your event.


Tips for Keeping Attendees Connected at your Next Event

Remember everyone from the sales team to the onsite support wants to assist you in making your event a success; connect with them early on to build a relationship that will set-up your event for success. Communicating with the technicians prior to your event will allow them to share tips with you that may make connecting easier and more effective.

When on your site tour, or prior to the start of your event, download a speed test app on your personal device. These tools can assist you in determining the strength and speed of the network before and during your event.

If your network will be used only for light browsing, and is not imperative to your attendees during general or break-out sessions; consider asking the provider to set-up timeouts for inactive users. This will limit the number of devices connected to your network at any given time, allow for faster connecting, and less bandwidth usage. If internet will be used heavily during any sessions timeouts will cause frustration and discord with your attendees, when deciding rather to employ time-outs be considerate of what type of network usage your attendees require.

A native App lives within your attendees’ devices, and will work without internet. Consider using an Event App as your communication platform to limit the bandwidth needed at your next event. This can save you a great deal of time, money, and frustrations when planning your next event.