20 december 2019 Social Media 6 min

The types of WiFi-solutions for your event

Andy Greenwood

Nowadays having internet is pretty much a basic need; you take for granted the ability to watch videos of playful pandas - or plan the fastest route to the nearest zoo - in any place, at any time. As an event organiser, you know that your festival’s visitors are becoming more interested in taking, sharing and watching videos and pictures on social media instantaneously. In general, this user-generated content is good for your event as it serves as free exposure, but to get the most out of it you’ll need to ensure there is a stable internet connection that can cater to the size of your crowd.

Although the internet is still a luxury, strictly speaking, it has also become necessary to maintain the basic functionality of a lot of high-end technology. Our scanners fall under that category; they do work offline, but they won’t be able to communicate with our system and receive updates. This lack of communication can lead to all sorts of difficulty at the entrance; tickets that were purchased after the connection was lost will be registered as invalid, for instance.

So, now you have two reasons to make sure you have a stable internet connection. But how do you go about setting it up, especially in a remote location?

WiFi at events

When it comes to setting up a WiFi connection there are a lot of options depending on the scale and type of your event. You could go big like at the Zwarte Cross and lay down over ten kilometres worth of fibreglass cables with hundreds of hubs, creating a massive internet infrastructure and ensuring that everyone can surf the web all at once. Or - and this is a lot more likely - you could go for a more humble approach.

A popular way to provide WiFi at festivals, for instance, is through WiFi columns, which can be set up by any number of network provider. These columns are basically large pillars that can come fitted with one or more large LED screens, which you can use to show social media content from your event. In this way, you can kill two birds with one stone; by offering a stable internet connection you can guarantee a constant flow of content, whereas the screen provides a platform for the content to be viewed on. You can also use the screens to offer potential sponsors a place to advertise at your event, which can help you bring in more revenue for the production of your event. Keep in mind that even though you will be able to reach a large number of people with a connection like this, there will likely be a limit on how many simultaneous connections there can be.

For events in a forest and other unusual or remote locations, there are all sorts of solutions and which one you need depends on whether or not you can lay down a temporary landline, but this can be expensive.

A solution that may be more cost-effective is to use 4G routers. These routers use a SIM-card with a specific number and an ‘unlimited’-data bundle to create a WiFi signal using the local 4G network. This works so well that a lot of maritime ships use this technology to access the internet in foreign ports. The only problem here is that most companies have a Fair Use Policy which limits your ‘unlimited’ bundle to 5GB’s per day. So, if you’re hosting anything more than a small event, make sure you contact your provider and discuss options to expand your bundle. Of course, there are plenty of companies that can provide these solutions for you.

If you’re hosting an indoor event, it’s always wise to check what kind of internet connection the venue already has in place. Then, depending on how heavy-duty the network is (and whether the venue agrees), you may be able to offer it to your visitors too, however, this is very unlikely. But that’s fine! How many indoor parties have you been to where everyone had WiFi access? As long as the scanners and the rest of your staff are connected, you should be okay!

If you’re hosting a business event, you’ll probably be looking for a more professional and faster type of connection. For instance, you could go for a more traditional but expansive WiFi solution. This usually consists of heavy-duty routers and networks connected by LAN cables and set-up to provide full coverage for everyone. In situations like this, people will likely be looking to connect more than a single device and will expect a more stable service across those devices. This can be quite pricey, so be sure that you consider it in your budget! Whatever happens, you don’t want to end up like Steve Jobs at the iPhone 4 launch in 2010.

But why should I invest in WiFi at my event?

As mentioned above, one of the big advantages of having a working WiFi network is that your visitors will able to upload and stream their pictures and videos to social media as the event is happening. This user-generated content is basically a free form of advertising and helps create buzz around your event. The better the connection, the more likely your guests will be tempted to upload more and keep an active feed running. Similarly, if you’re relying on your guests to upload content through their own mobile internet connection - but you’re hosting your party in a forest - your online presence will probably be significantly less.

Another advantage of creating your own network for your guests is that you can create your own landing page for when people connect. This landing page can serve two functions: On the one hand, you can use this space for your sponsors, and on the other, you can use it to enhance your branding (or a combination of both, of course). You could even encourage people to ‘Like’ your event on Facebook before you grant them access to the internet, as a quick growth hack. You could also put a timetable of the line-up on the landing page if you want to help your guests out a bit.

If you would like to know more about how to get WiFi coverage at your event, send us a message in the chat! If you would like to make use of our ticket sales system, go straight to our dashboard!

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Andy Greenwood

Content Marketeer

Once took a peek behind the scenes at events and never wanted to leave again. Has a serious passion for music and plays guitar in his band.