If you get a group of event planners talking about the challenges in the industry for long enough, Wi-Fi charges is one topic that is sure to eventually come up. Few things frustrate event planners more than booking a venue and paying “extra” for Wi-Fi. The perception is that the infrastructure is already in place. Groups don’t have to pay extra for local telephone calls or cable TV. So what’s behind those Wi-Fi charges?
It’s not surprising that this question came up during a recent Eventprofs Google+ Hangout. Christopher De Armond, managing director of Freedom Event Services, used his extensive knowledge of the technical aspects of event planning to shed some light on the matter.
There are three main factors that contribute to Wi-Fi costs:
- BANDWIDTH: The amount of traffic a connection can handle. When you think about slow Internet connections, picture a hose and the amount of water that can flow through it. If the hose is too narrow, the flow of water will be limited. Better yet, picture many hoses hooked up to the same source of water. If there are too many hoses hooked up at the same time, water pressure becomes weaker and the amount of water that can travel through each hose is reduced. If many participants are using multiple devices, bandwidth capacity must be expanded to handle the traffic. There is a cost associated with this.
- DATA CHARGES: From using personal devices, it is clear that there are costs associated with data transfer. Think hundreds of participants simultaneously downloading a variety of file formats from video to audio and the venue will definitely incur additional charges that will be passed on to the event organizer.
- INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES: Hotels and resorts can’t simple install the infrastructure required to handle Wi-Fi once and forget about it. The Internet is one of the most dynamic ecosystems on the planet. Mobile technology is constantly changing. The technology becomes out of date really quickly and participants will feel it. There are hard costs associated with keeping the backend of the infrastructure to handle mobile traffic up-to-date.
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated about Wi-Fi charges, consider these three factors.
For an in-depth dive into the Wi-Fi dilemma, you simply must read IAVM’s multi-part study.
For a much more comprehensive information about Wi-Fi charges, consult Why We Pay for Wi-Fi, A Meeting Planners Guide.
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