For as long as there have been meetings at Earle Brown Heritage Center, the same questions and concerns regarding technology arise. The available tech for your meetings is a big part of your budget and worries about making the day run smoothly. Utilizing our blog, we are going to spotlight different areas of technology available at Earle Brown. The first area we are going to cover is internet connections.
Internet Connections: What You Need to Know
Not all connections are the same. Most event planners request internet access to be free and included in the rental agreement; actually, this is often expected in today’s meeting world for the best guest experience.
Most guests have at least two devices – a cell phone and tablet or laptop). At Earle Brown meetings, we have seen as many as four devices per guest. This means that many meeting spaces that now have free Wi-Fi still can’t handle the capacity required in today’s tech-advanced atmosphere.
Most free Wi-Fi connections are 5 megabits per second (Mbps) or slower. The more meetings in the space and attendees you have the slower it becomes. You should be looking for something over 10 Mbps for small meetings and over 30 Mbps for larger meetings.
If It Seems Too Good to be True…
Some event centers will offer free Wi-Fi that is noticeably subpar in the hopes of getting you to upgrade to their “premium” package. These can not only be spendy but can sometimes charge by the number of devices using the connection. Anyone who travels often will know what I mean by this; hotels and airports are famous for giving you low-standard internet access for free in order to promote a better, more expensive option.
What is Bandwidth?
Capacity or bandwidth is how much speed you can receive or is available to you. This is usually set by the equipment installed at the location and sometimes by the service to the building. At Earle Brown Heritage Center, our available bandwidth is set by a network switch of 1,000 Mbps when not impeded. For reference, when you host meetings with over 800 attendees, you will need a system that has more than 100 Mbps and multiple access points. This means you’ll have more than enough internet to go around.
If your keynote speaker is streaming video or connecting to a company server, you will want to test the connection. Whether it’s wireless or a wired connection, it is important to insure the speed and the bandwidth for the presentation. We recommend a wired connection if you are streaming video. Connecting to company servers can be tricky because of firewalls. Some will not accept what they see as a foreign IP address that is assigned by Wi-Fi or wired connections from your hotel or conference center.
With interactive meetings becoming the norm, access to apps, social media, and high speed, reliable internet access is a must. These demands keep rising and the costs are doing the same. We may have ‘Heritage’ in our name, but we are certainly working to keep up with the tech rush. And complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi is just the beginning.