With the majority of attendees bring smartphones to events, and many trade show vendors and presenters doing the same, high-quality wi-fi has become an expectation at any venue. Add to that the ability to host live-streams for those who can’t attend, or even have casual live videos shared by all of your participants, and the need for speedy, reliable internet is greater than ever.
More events are hosting access to live streams today than ever before, and services like Facebook Live and YouTube gives you attendees the ability to share their experience with others with ease.
Did you know that the minimum amount of upload speed required for each live stream is typically considered to be 1.5 Mbps? If you had 20 live streamers at once, using the 1.5 Mbps minimum, then they are using 30 Mbps in bandwidth.
And, did you know, a 4k video may require 30 Mbps by itself? That’s a lot of bandwidth, and it only supports one video at a time.
As more instant broadcasts enter the space, the more your WiFi bandwidth is taxed. And, if you don’t have enough speed to go around, your attendees, sponsors, speakers, and vendors are going to notice.
That means, as an event professional, you are going to need to bolster the available bandwidth to ensure everyone has the access they require regardless of whether they will be live-streaming or just keeping up with their email. To help make that possible, here are some ways to bring more capacity into your space.
Get a Reputable WiFi Consultant
Unless you are familiar with technology and the demands of live-streaming, you may benefit from hiring a reputable Wi-Fi consultant to help assess your needs and venue.
These professionals can review what is available at your site and make recommendations to ensure you have all of the bandwidth you need based on the anticipated crowd size and potential activities they will be engaged in. Often, they are well versed in the available technologies and coverage areas, so they may even be able to recommend specific service providers based on your locations and the amount of bandwidth required.
A MiFi is a portable broadband device that receives its services through a supplier, like a major wireless carrier or specialized business. The devices themselves are typically small boxes, normally no larger than a deck of cards, that produce Wi-Fi signals that can provide other devices, like laptops and smartphones, with a connection.
The available speeds are typically similar to what a smartphone can access, making these suitable for live-streaming in areas with LTE coverage. However, the number of possible connections is limited, so they can’t support a wide number of users.
While this may not seem helpful at first, they can actually be ideal for live-streams associated with the event itself when you need a dedicated connection that isn’t affected by other users being attached to the device. Vendors may also be interested in the technology, as it gives them an essentially private connection to manage their needs.
Here are a few vendors to consider.
If you’re looking for a flexible solution with global capabilities, Skyroam is an excellent choice. These MiFi devices can be purchased or rented, and you are only charged on the days that you use the service.
The standard device supports up to five devices at a time and, once you activate a 24-hour service window, your usage is unlimited. It works in over 100 countries, doesn’t require SIM swaps or configurations when you change locations, and operates for a flat daily rate with no contracts of subscriptions.
Karma offers coverage in over 460 cities in the US and provides download speeds of up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds as high as 3 Mbps (based on a 4G LTE signal). It allows for up to eight devices to be connected simultaneously and can sustain a connection for up to 100 feet.
A variety of pay-as-you-go and subscription plans are available, giving you the flexibility you need to manage your event. There are never any contracts, so you always have the ability to change plans or cancel your service whenever the need arises.
Temporary Internet WiFi Providers
There are also companies that specialize in temporary internet connections for events, including those that take place outdoors. These service options can be ideal when either the location of the conference or the structure of the building makes traditional wireless services unreliable, as slow speeds or inconsistent connectivity will affect your ability to support live-streaming at the event.
If these are the kinds of services you need, here are a few providers to consider.
Trade Show Internet provides wired and wireless internet solutions that are suitable for almost any location. They have the capacity to support high-density populations, making them ideal for conferences and trade shows, and have a skilled team of network engineers to manage all of the setup requirements. Through their CONNECT service, you even have the option of full-time support throughout your event, ensuring you’ll never have to worry about a thing.
Another managed service provider that can provide WiFi for your events is Transbeam. They have the ability to support thousands of connections, provide professional installation, and offer 24/7 monitoring and support. You even have the option to create personalized splash pages to share information about the event, provide a welcome message, or promote key sponsors.
As you can see, there are options out there to help you get the WiFi bandwidth you need to support all of your (and your attendees, sponsors, and vendor) live-streaming needs. Don’t be afraid to explore multiple options or even take a combination approach to get the job done. In the end, by investing in your WiFi, you can make sure your live streams are as beautiful to watch as they are informative.