Simply Wi-Fi: What to ask, What to Get and What to Pay

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Wireless internet access is a must-have at meetings, but do you really know how to get what you need? Let’s begin with a few definitions.

BANDWIDTH: the amount of internet traffic volume a wireless connection handles per second. This is usually measured in megabytes per second (MBs) or gigabytes per second (GBs). The bandwidth is affected by

IP/USER CAPACITY: This is the actual number of users a network system can handle at any one time. This is expressed by IP value—each device that is connected consumes one IP. Planners, ask venues about user capacity; there is only a finite amount available. 

WIRELESS ACCESS POINT DEPLOYMENT: This signifies how many users can be handled at one time. If there are gaps in coverage, it will limit the number of users in a specific area that can be online at one time. 

HOW MANY ACCESS POINTS SHOULD THERE BE FOR A LARGE BALLROOM? “The primary factor is the number of people who will be accessing the Wi-Fi,” says Bradley Shaw, an Addison-based digital marketing professional at SEO Expert Brad Inc. “I would also consider the range of the Wi-Fi. Does it only cover the meeting room, or does it extend out to the hallways or possibly the outside area? Will the guests have to enter a password?” 

Most hotel meeting spaces will be equipped with enough access points to handle the type of room. It’s a good idea, however, to confirm with hotel staff where the access points are located and whether there is enough coverage for the room style. 

WHAT SHOULD THE DOWNLOAD OR UPLOAD SPEEDS BE? “How fast data and images can download or upload is measured in megabytes per second,” Shaw says. “In today’s data hungry society, I would always go for at least 25 MBs in a meeting space. For comparison sake, your cable internet at home is 10-25 MBs.”

LOW: 1 TO 10 MBPS
suitable for 1-15 connections at a time

MEDIUM: 10 TO 20 MBPS 
suitable for 15-50 connections at a time

HIGH: 20+ MBPS
suitable for 50-plus connections at a time

WHAT’S THE ONE QUESTION TO ASK? “The most important question to ask is: Is a tech available in case we have any issues during our meeting or event?” Shaw says.

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