Posts Tagged ‘conference wifi’

Why is setting up event wifi such a pain?

February 6th, 2009
Twestival Brussels

Twestival Brussels

Last week I responded to a request from the BruTwestival team and agreed to sponsor the event Wifi on behalf of I consulted with one of the organisers @gculpin and we decided to order a couple of LinkSys WRT54GL broadband routers (with GNU GPL firmware). Today that hardware got delivered. From a previous life time, I still own a lot of network cable, RJ-45 connectors, crimp tool & cable tester.

What would be the best way to configure these access points?

  • Should I flash these devices with enhanced firmware to deal with typical conference situations?
  • Go for dual channel or limit use to 802.11b?
  • Limit bandwidth per connection?
  • Test tools or cheap devices to simulate 200 simultaneous Wifi connections?

From a branding point of view, this sponsorship is risky business. But without challenges, there is no fun nor glory. Free wifi at conferences has been notorious for failures at tech related events. Leweb08 organiser @loic hired Swisscom for 100.000 EUR to supply Wifi to 1.500 participants (67 EUR/participant). But Swisscom screwed up badly and certainly did not get the positive word of mout it hoped for.

Basic things I know so far:

  • Get a good internet broadband connection to start with (at the Botanique this will be a Skynet ADSL connection, with ‘boosted’ bandwidth for 250 participants).
  • Get enough access points (4 in our case) to cover the conference area. Try not to forget hallways & conference rooms.
  • Put the access point as close as possible to the participants (stronger signal).

Thanks for sharing any reference, experience (setup/config) or advice (firmware version) in the comments below!

P.S. Don’t forget to order your Twestival ticket

About Me

Internet entrepreneur. Proud founder of,,, and 2 sons. Not necessarily in that order. Read more...