WiFi and internet connectivity is a big part of any event. From card machine networks for contactless payments—to staff networks and even open guest networks.
If you’re planning an outdoor event, and looking for WiFi, we’ve put together this handy guide to help.
How To Get WiFi for an Outdoor Event - The Steps
As event WiFi experts, we’ve been planning WiFi solutions for outdoor events for a long, long time—so we know how it all works.
If you’re holding an outdoor event, and you’re looking to provide WiFi connectivity to vendors, staff, card machines, or even the public, there are some simple steps you can take to help us provide an accurate proposal.
To get WiFi for your outdoor event, just follow these steps.
1. Put together a site plan
One of the first things to do when planning for WiFi at your outdoor event is to put together a site plan.
Site plans are vital for the first steps of any outdoor event. Even a rough guide, a screenshot of Google Maps with some shapes on is more than enough to get the ball rolling on the WiFi planning.
Try to show scale, location of marquees, permanent structures, stages, entry gates and any utility points (such as power) that’s already setup at site.
2. Think about areas you’ll need coverage
Outdoor events usually span over large areas and chances are not every part of your event will need WiFi coverage. For example, there may be a substantial camping area which you just don’t need to put WiFi in.
With a site plan, you can highlight the areas you’d like to cover with WiFi, as well as the areas that might need wired connectivity, such as a media tent, green room or events office.
Something to consider is where your important marquees are. Where will vendors be, and where will card payments be made? You may have an entry office or tent, which is far away from the main bulk of the event.
3. Let our team put together a site WiFi plan
Once you’ve got a site plan, and an idea of where you’d like WiFi at your event, our team can put together an event heat map and a WiFi plan.
With specialist software, our technical team put the plan of your event into our system, and work out the optimal location for our equipment—which minimises hardware costs and ensures full site connectivity in the areas you require.
We can also put together a diagram of your outdoor event, which shows cabling, plans of our equipment and networking points—all to help you understand the solution and how your event is covered.
4. We’ll plan the connectivity for you
Once we’ve got the site plan together, along with heat maps etc, then we’ll plan the connectivity.
In terms of connectivity for outdoor events, there are a few options:
- Fixed fibre line
Normally, we look at your event, and the expected load of the connection (for example, how many people is it supporting), and then plan the connectivity around your requirements. More often than not, a fixed fibre line is required for larger outdoor events.
5. Get everything booked
To ensure you’ve got your event secured, you’ll need to book everything and reserve your slot.
Especially in summer, we get very busy with providing WiFi solutions to outdoor events across the UK. So planning ahead and reserving your slot is the best thing to do to get prepared early.
6. Assign some resource
Once you’ve booked in your event, we’ll assign some resource. Most of the outdoor events we provide WiFi for require an engineer on site during the event. This provides a bit of peace of mind, and means that you have someone on site during the event to assist with any enquiries.
For more rural locations, we even have a support and welfare camping vehicle, which our engineers can stay on site in.
Our Top Tips for Good Outdoor Event WiFi
If you’re putting on an outdoor event, and you’re looking for some WiFi connectivity, here’s our top tips, from our technical experts.
Plan, plan, and plan some more
Planning your events connectivity is important. The more time spent on planning the better the connectivity will be. Having a site plan, heat map and delivery plan all sorted ahead of time ensures a smooth delivery.
Other things to plan for are redundancy, lead times, network configuration (vendor/staff/public), card machine networks and power delivery to WiFi equipment.
When you choose Bytes Digital, our team will complete a full network and connectivity plan for you, with a network delivery plan organised ahead of time.
Aim for a return on your investment
At a large scale, getting return one investment can be difficult. Especially for utilities such as WiFi.
A great way to monetise your WiFi is using sponsored landing pages—where your event’s sponsors can pay to have their logo on your guest WiFi landing page, or even ask for a Facebook ‘like’ on their page. Utilising this as an upsell to your event sponsors may help recuperate the costs of implementing a WiFi system at your outdoor event.
Another option is to charge for public WiFi—which adds another revenue stream to your event.
On site support
Something we’ve found over the years is that larger outdoor events often prefer having on-site support from one of our engineering team. Having someone physically available on site to assist with any enquiries, monitor your connectivity and fix any issues should they occur just gives you that extra peace of mind.
As we mentioned earlier, our welfare camper is available, providing our engineers a place to stay on site, and run your outdoor event’s WiFi—in all weather.
The Different Types of WiFi for Outdoor Events
There are a couple of different types of outdoor event WiFi—each has a different purpose.
Site-wide Event WiFi
As the name suggests, site-wide event WiFi is a complete network, setup across your entire event location. Using mesh access points, our team can create one unified WiFi network, with allows you to connect devices and roam seamlessly across the entire site.
The site-wide event WiFi works just like the network you’d find at a hotel, a stadium or an area, with one network that fills the entire location—so you don’t have to keep reconnecting to different networks.
Our site-wide solutions also provide you with the ability to broadcast multiple networks using the same equipment. So you if you’d like a staff network, a card machine network and a vendor network, you don’t need to have 3 sets of equipment installed—you can just use the same equipment for all of them.
Plug & Play Hire Solutions
The other main WiFi option is for outdoor events is our portable WiFi solution. With a single plug, you can provide WiFi to hundreds of users across up to 250m area.
With dual SIMs and custom built equipment, our portable WiFi solutions are often the best choice for single vendors, or events with fewer than 2000 people. With no setup required, they’re by far the most convenient WIFi option for smaller outdoor events.
Hybrid Event WiFi
Some outdoor events might require a mix of both plug and play and site-wide WiFi solutions. Usually, we see this with events that have some remote areas of the site. Most commonly, a large outdoor event will require WiFi in a central area, with stages, vendors, card machines etc—but may also require WiFi on their entry gates or security offices that are further away from the event centre.
This is where we most commonly see a mix of the two types of outdoor event WiFi, with the main areas using a site wide solution, and the satellite areas using a plug and play option.
If you’re hosting an outdoor event, and you’d like some guidance about setting up WiFi, speak with a member of our expert team. They’ll take time to listen to your requirements, and plan a solution around them—ensuring the best coverage and support.