Unless your event is in a secluded forest, your guests are probably going to expect a way to connect their phones and laptops to WiFi. But figuring out an affordable WiFi option can get confusing — and there’s plenty of misinformation floating around out there.
A secluded forest is definitely a vibe. But it’s probably not yours. We broke down some of the biggest misconceptions around temporary WiFi for events so your guests can stay connected.
MYTH: The only way to get guest WiFi is through your hotel or venue.
FACT: There are actually lots of ways to provide temporary WiFi solutions for your attendees. There are smaller options like setting up 4G hotspots. Or, there are more professional options like 4G enabled WiFi routers, satellite services, or even using third party telecom companies.
Or, when you work with our audio visual production services, you have the option to add on our NetCube Conference WiFi, which provides internet for up to 400 attendees in a general session, and has the ability to provide breakout room WiFi, too.
MYTH: WiFi is sufficient for all of my event needs.
FACT: While WiFi can be great for your guests, you will still probably need dedicated hardwired internet for anything mission critical, like presentations and registration. Even the best WiFi is inherently less dependable than a wired connection, and you don’t want to risk using WiFi for anything that could impact your entire program. Most hotels and venues will have a fast hardwired connection for things that are critical to your event running smoothly.
MYTH: If I get internet from the hotel, only my company and guests will have access to the internet.
FACT: Actually, venue internet is shared across many companies, groups, and events. Hotels don’t have a way to dedicate bandwidth to one group or another, so if one group is streaming videos or using tons of bandwidth in another way, everyone’s speed may suffer.
MYTH: Your hotel or venue can block any outside WiFi.
FACT: That’s illegal. Federal law prohibits people and companies from interfering with cellular, WiFi, or GPS networks. The FCC has enforced this law, too. About five years ago, the FCC ruled against a major hotel chain that blocked attendees’ consumer WiFi networks at a Nashville conference.
MYTH: Hotel WiFi is always going to be the fastest option.
FACT: Most people’s experience on hotel WiFi is not great. A typical cell phone’s 4G cellular data will let often you browse quicker than venue WiFi. Outside event WiFi providers can get your guests just-as-quick or faster connections.
MYTH: The hotel will charge an enormous fee for in-house WiFi if I decide to hire an outside audio visual provider, and there’s no way to prevent it.
FACT: Hotels don’t make most of their profit off WiFi fees — they’re much more concerned with keeping your event business and getting “heads in beds.” If you negotiate at the beginning of your process, you can usually get these fees reduced or even waived. Your AV partner can help you negotiate with your venue every step of the way.
MYTH: Setting up WiFi is the same for every event.
FACT: Depending on the density of people, number of devices, the size of the space, and what your guests are using WiFi for, your setup and bandwidth needs may vary widely. Your AV provider should customize where your WiFi access points need to be. Typically, hotels or venues don’t have this flexibility.
For example, if you’re planning for many people to gather in the foyer, your AV provider should be able to add access points so that area is completely covered with good connection.
MYTH: There’s a 100% solution to ensure perfect WiFi connections for all your guests.
FACT: Be wary of anyone who guarantees absolutely bulletproof, 100% reliable WiFi for your guests. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the technology, there is always the possibility of blips from power issues, supplier hiccups, and more.
The key is to find an event partner who actively monitors your guest event WiFi. At Meeting Tomorrow, we run speed tests every five minutes to make sure WiFi is delivering at the speed we expect. We even developed custom software to do this. If we start to see an issue, we will be proactive about fixing it and finding a solution in the moment.
Ready to set up great, temporary WiFi for events? We’d love to hear more about what you’re looking for!