September 28, 2018

Most event organisers implement event WiFi now and then, but they aren’t engaged regularly with the process. As such, solving connectivity problems can be a confusing and frustrating experience, because the technology is constantly changing. As specialist event WiFi providers, we come across all kinds of misconceptions about coverage and WiFi usage, which can lead to ineffective solutions, or an inability to provide adequate service on the day.

Here are some of the mistakes we’ve come across, and our advice to put things right.

Objects That Cause Signal Loss

Clients sometimes tell us that the equipment in venue kitchens is causing interference. The microwave is probably the number one suspect.

In truth, microwaves can interfere with WiFi networks. But modern technologies are making this less of a problem.

When we deploy event WiFi, we generally offer both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz networks. Of the two, 2.4 GHz is more susceptible to interference. Microwaves do cause problems, but even something like a fish tank could provide an obstacle and reduce your WiFi range.

That’s not to say 5 GHz signals are completely immune to interference. We have to take care if we’re using WiFi near air bases, for example, since radar can interfere. But it’s fair to say there are fewer devices that are likely to interfere in a typical business setting, so – for now – 5 GHz is a safer bet.

Creating Secure Networks

We hear a lot about the dangers of public WiFi networks. And it’s true that, in some cases, shared networks can be a risk. We advise that all networks are set up with a strong password, and that password is not widely advertised beyond the boundaries of the event venue.

The reason for this is simple: once a hacker is on your network, they can eavesdrop. If someone logs into their work network, those details could theoretically be intercepted. Malware can also be distributed, which can infect mobile devices and quickly spread to corporate networks.

Providing your network is password protected, and you are diligent about distributing that password, the risk to users is greatly reduced.

When we set up a network, we also use WPA2-PSK security as standard. Other forms of security, such as WEP, are alarmingly easy to hack. The ‘PSK’ stands for ‘pre-shared key’, which is essentially the password for the network. This is widely regarded to offer the best combination of convenience, security and speed.

Covering Large Areas

Event organisers sometimes assume that more access points is better. In fact, buying extra equipment can just generate additional cost burdens and increase interference.

Paying for a WiFi survey will reveal the connection black spots and weak points, so you can use fewer access points that are more effectively positioned, and use additional hardware only where it is needed. This is far better than over-spending.

Being Prepared

A site survey is a critical part of network planning; we can look at the line of sight both inside and outside, and whether you need additional equipment to bridge problem areas. We’ll also look at attendance and footfall, to ensure you have adequate coverage. For more information, don’t hesitate to give Simpli-Fi a call.