How many access points do I need?
There is no simple answer to this question. The answer depends on how many users you expect to have. How many of those users will want to connect. How many of the connected users will be active at any one time and the type of traffic you expect the users to generate. 200 people watching you tube will require more access points than 1000 people checking occasional emails. A rule of thumb would be 1-2 access point for every 100 users.
What speed do I need?
This is also not a simple question. Speed is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). A 1Mbps connection would allow you to stream a video on you tube. To stream content at higher resolutions you would want at least 5Mbps. An uncompressed Voice over IP (VOIP) phone call would only require 64Kbps. Email and web browsing would have little demand on connection speed unless you are viewing graphic content (Facebook) but 500Kbps – 1Mbps would be sufficient.
So you can see that it is dependent on what the user is doing. Now if you add 50 users to the equation. The question becomes, what will those users be doing? There is no way of knowing exactly what they will be doing but it is possible to make an educated guess based on the type of event and the services being provided. Another factor is how many of those users will be actively trying to access the internet or network at the same time. We will ask you all of the relevant questions before suggesting the right type of products.
How much data do I need?
Data allowances are measured in Megabytes (MB). Not all services have data allowances (limits). Much like the question about how much speed you require. It is completely dependent on the number of users and the type of internet use. It is not possible to say for certain but you can estimate the requirements by finding out more about your customers.
One user browsing, sending emails and using social media while watching some video content could use 100MB in a day quite easily. Therefore 250 users @ 100MB would use 25GB in one day.
What is data contention and how does it affect me?
What is latency and how does it affect me?
What is the difference between normal wifi and high capacity wifi?
Normal Wifi solutions like the device you might have at home allow you to connect to the internet with no problems so why can’t they be used for events?
When the Wifi system starts to encounter difficult radio frequency (RF) situations such as interference, it is not able to actively resolve the problem. As you add more users and the coverage area remains the same as you would find in a conference centre, the problem rapidly gets worse.
Advanced Wifi devices use Wifi controllers. These are responsible for monitoring the RF spectrum and altering settings in real time to respond to changes. The Wifi devices themselves have more capabilities that are designed to deal with harsh RF environments such as those found at events.
There are two ways to design Wifi networks. Coverage or capacity. Coverage allows you to cover a wide area for limited numbers of people. Capacity is where you expect large numbers of people in small areas. When these users put high demands on the network, this is known as a high capacity network. Most event spaces are high capacity networks. When you add hundreds of people to a room, their bodies (being mostly water) absorb huge amounts of Wifi energy. If each of those users has a phone that is trying to connect to Wifi then there is a huge amount of “noise” in the radio environment. You can think of this as trying to have a conversation at a loud party where lots of people are talking at the same time.