In previous months we’ve shared our jargon buster for connectivity and a WiFi checklist of questions to ask venues. But what if your event is in an unusual location which doesn’t have any infrastructure at all?
Providing connectivity at locations which don’t have infrastructure is something we’ve been doing more and more of in recent years. This has been driven, in part, by the rapid growth of social media which has meant organisers need to make provisions for the audience to share their participation in an event through social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. At such events, the upload capacity is far more important than download and they have to be geared to cope with peaks and troughs in demand.
So how do we do it?
There are many options for providing connectivity at any event, but the two main ones are to use the existing ISP infrastructure or to bring in satellites. The existing infrastructure is our preferred option as it provides a more stable connection and if the venue has even a basic level of infrastructure we can usually increase the bandwidth by talking with the ISP provider, and then use this as the base to provide connectivity.
We use this approach to provide the connectivity to Farnborough International Airshow, but we extend the network quite considerably by installing over 130 miles of extra cable at the 1,000 acre site to fulfil all users requirements. We think this is probably Europe’s largest temporary network installation and is a good example of the fact that you really can provide extensive connectivity at temporary sites.
When the event is in the middle of a field, or on a rooftop, or in a park, or anywhere with no existing infrastructure, we use satellite connections. Each satellite provides us with bandwidth that we then distribute through both hard-wired and Wi-Fi connections.
We’ve done some pretty cool connectivity projects using satellites – last year, for example, we installed a temporary Wi-Fi network on the roof of the Empire in Leicester Square, so that thousands of One Direction fans could welcome the band at the world movie premiere, and Tweet pictures and swooning emoticons! At Seaworks in Southampton, which takes place in a fruit warehouse, we provided over 1,500 connections using satellites, which we had to house on a special scaffold tower because the large container ships which pass in and out of the port would otherwise interfere with the connection. We’ve also used satellite to provide the British Racing Drivers Club at Silverstone with connectivity and a number of outdoor sporting events.
Satellite internet systems have given our customers the ability to achieve connectivity that probably would not have been a viable option in the past due to cost and logistical implications of providing a dedicated service, thereby giving a much wider choice of potential sites for events.
Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor