Wifi at conferences part 3…

Posted: April 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

This is another one of my series of posts on wifi at conferences. Part 1 can be found here and part 2 here. After my last rant on Twitter on this topic I ended up talking to Maarten den Braber of Dutch company Event Engineers. Event Engineers Provide event infrastructure, management and advice. Their services include VoIP, PaymentoverIP and internet infrastructure. Maarten is a clued in guy and we ended up having a discussion about wifi at events.

I advised Maarten to have a look at some of the Ruckus Wireless products as they are (in my opinion) one of the best manufacturers of wifi hardware on the market. I referred him to the Dutch Distributors for Ruckus, Alcadis. From the first moment Maarten was raving about the Ruckus units, just like I was. Anyway, he followed  a one day course, bought a few test units and set about testing them.


His feedback was positive and he after securing the job of providing wifi at the NextWeb conference in Amsterdam. Nice little coincidence is that Boris one of the organisers of the Next Web. I used to work with Boris when he was the head honcho for HubHop, the first wifi hotspot provider in the Netherlands.

Anyway long story short is that the wifi service at the Next Web event was a solid success. There was one small drop in connectivity on the first day but that was quickly and professionally resolved. Maarten and crew kept a close eye on the performance and (as I had done before) they used twitter as a customer service tool. A very important point was that the cost to the Next Web organisers for this service came to 5000 euro. Yes, that’s correct only 5000 euro! Compare that to LeWeb who ended up paying 150.000 euro for 3 days of non-working wifi….

All this ended up last week in @Loic finally replying (via Twitter) to all my offers to either assist him in finding a good wifi provider for the next event OR to actually provide him with a working wifi service.However his replies were evasive and very non-committal. He showed a sort of “c’est la vie” approach to the wifi fiasco at the last event and stated that BT would be providing the wifi at the next event (and would only charge for the cost of the backhaul). However that backhaul alone was costing him 50.000 euro. His reasoning for this was that he could only get sufficient bandwidth by taking out a 1 year subscription. That again is a huge waste of money and much better & affordable solutions are available. However you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink….

However for those of you interested; I (Airappz) will provide rock solid, dependable wifi connectivity at events. Contact me if you would like to find out more.


Anyway for the geeks & techies out there here are some good stats and pictures about the wifi setup at The Next web:

  • Event Engineers provided almost 50 workplaces with fixed ethernet and power
    connections. Event Engineers
    also provided ethernet cables for everyone to use.
    Average number of simultaneous WiFi users was ~130 (almost all day),
    peaks at 150
  • WiFi limits were set at 10Mbps down and 5Mbps up – no limits on fixed ethernet
    Around 50GB of data was transferred over wireless in the main hall
    during 2 days
  • Wireless was provided with a managed WiFi setup (Ruckus) and 8 APs
    in the main hall
  • Wireless in the nearby rooms was provided with 3 extra APs
  • Average signal strength per client was 75%
  • Bandwidth usage peaks were at 80Mbps
  • There were about 20-30 rogue WiFi devices visible at any given other
    than our managed WiFi setup (other APs, phones, ad-hoc networks



All pictures are courtesy of Event Engineers.

  1. […] many of the common problems and what steps need to be taken to overcome them.  Another useful couple of posts are based around work that Event Engineers (a Dutch company) did for the Next Web […]

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