Everyone has heard or used them: MiFi. HotSpot. Personal WiFi. But what you don’t know is with everyone setting up their individual WiFi system in the meeting room or on the trade show floor, it can wreak havoc on your event WiFi solutions. Here is a definition of MiFi and what four event planners have say about it from an up close and personal point of view.
A MiFi device can be connected to a cellular network and provide Internet access for up to ten devices. The MiFi works at a distance up to 30 feet and will provide Internet access to any Wifi-enabled peripheral device.
Why MiFi is Trouble
- It ruins the “booth next door” experience. MiFi, just like Wi-Fi, runs on radio signals. Each router competes for space on a limited number of channels on the router. When the competition is at its all time high, the signals conflict and if the MiFi wins, it causes degradation of signal quality for all the booths around it.”As meeting managers, you or your exhibit company need to take a firm stance in managing what Internet service is provided on the trade show floor, with rules that no one can provide their own or use their own gear. A large booth with its own equipment can ruin the experience of many other booths on all sides of it,” stated Pat Swan, Account Manager at showNets, LLC.
Swan went onto say, if exhibitors violate the rules and continue to the use their own MiFi, you should place some kind of penalty in their exhibitor’s package for your next conference.
- It creates crowded channels. “The proliferation of MiFi devices, and the ease of using them, creates significant interference and crowding of the available channels. Our event Wi-Fi company had good success slicing through much interferences by deploying Wireless Access Points (WAPs),” stated Rich Heitke with J. Burton and Associates, Inc.The key is to set up the WAPs to provide specific bandwidth levels for every connected device. For a complete checklist of questions to ask your meeting stakeholders, check out this article on evaluating event WiFi solutions: http://computerrentals.com/articles/guide-to-connectivity-evaluating-wifisystems-part-3.php.
- Attendees leave their smartphone hotspot service on. “These folks walk up to a booth using built-in WiFi and for the brief moment they are in the vicinity, cause interference at that booth,” stated Jack Canavera, an Information Technology and Telecommunications Specialist.Again, by requiring attendees to turn off their hotspot on their mobile devices and use the WiFi at the conference, you are allowing the attendee to save on their cellular data plan and keep the signal strong at the conference.
- Communication plans break down and WiFi standards are nonexistent. Finding the right event WiFi solutions for the meeting rooms and trade show floor require constant communication with the venue, meeting participants and suppliers (such as SmartSource Rentals who can provide WiFi Network Arrays to boost bandwidth).”My personal recommendation is to talk with the service provider early and often and make sure they understand your expectations,” stated Janet Allen-Smith with Smart City Networks.
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