Technology Blog

Providing Temporary High-Density WiFi for Events & Fundraisers

wirelessnerd
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One of the services that we offer is temporary infrastructure and event services. These services are geared towards nonprofits, fundraisers and community events. Providing these services is usually something that is asked of us a day or two before the event, with little or no planning, and when the event coordinator is in panic mode. Luckily, we’ve done it enough times that we have the equipment and configurations ready to go. It is our job to build a temporary wireless quickly and effectively, that will support hundreds or thousands of users. It has to support every device you can think of, be reliable enough to ensure success for the event, and be easy to operate and troubleshoot.

The problem: providing reliable high-capacity Wi-Fi, temporarily

Quick and Easy Setup

 

There normally aren’t a lot of hours that are dedicated to setting up a temporary event. It’s not because they’re not needed, instead it’s because technology isn’t the first thing that people think about when it comes to fundraisers, temporary events, or offsite meetings. It’s usually something that happens at the last minute when the organizer realizes there is poor mobile coverage and the existing Wi-Fi network isn’t built to handle an event like this.

 

The production teams are usually focused on what they are doing, not how they are doing it. Great coverage usually gets taken for granted and no one realizes how much they use it until they don’t have it.

wfs-aru01.jpgIAP-325 deployed for silent auction support at a fundraiserGetting Up and Running in an Instant

 

We want to make sure that we blend in as seamlessly as possible to let the event be the best event that it can be. We don’t want anyone having to worry about the technology. Set up & configuration is no exception. We need to get in quickly, deploy our product, get up and running, and get clients online. We need the ability to tackle the tasks that they are concerned with as rapidly as possible. It can be a daunting task to take the time to configure multiple access points, run independent channel scans, look for any outside interference, and figure out how we’re going to get all these devices to communicate. The Aruba Instant product line gives us the ability to deploy our devices and centrally control every aspect of the network without having to touch each and every device. This saves time, energy, and gives us a smoother deployment. This leads to us being able to get up and running as quickly as possible.

 

Supporting Every Device

 

One of the biggest problems that we face at these events is having to deal with a large number of device types. It’s not the thousands of people that worry us, it’s the magnitude of the devices. With each person carrying two or more devices on them and all with varying chipsets we need to ensure their connections are seamless. When you move the users around a room and expect all of these devices to roam, you add an extra layer of functionality that needs to just work.

 

The ability to support all of these devices, transitioning from one AP to another can be difficult. With support for Opportunistic Key Caching (OKC) and 802.11r/k/v we can setup the wireless network to perform device roams seamlessly and quickly.

wfs-aru03.jpgIAP-325 access points were used for temporary Wi-Fi at this fundraiser dinner.

Management of the Network

 

From a management perspective, the Aruba Instant product line makes an enormous amount of sense to us. We’re not managing a controller, multiple access points, and all the devices needed to connect them. We are simply managing the virtual interface of the instant controller to which all devices communicate. Regardless of how and where an access point is connected to the network we have the ability to manage it all from a central point. We usually bring in all of our own infrastructure so the physical connections are something we provide. Not having to set up, configure, and manage another point of failure like an external controller really comes in handy for ease-of-use, administration and reliability.

 

Reliability

 

The reliability of the Aruba product line is the main reason that we choose to use this product for our most essentially connected events. When we are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for causes like curing cancer, kids futures, or even for local libraries and museums, we want to make sure that every person has the ability to give as much as they can. If the wireless network isn’t reliable, people can’t bid. If people can’t bid, the organization can’t raise money and their causes don’t get the help that they need to benefit so many.

 

When it came time to choose the access point that had the largest amount of reliability, ease-of-use, management, and an integrated controller package, we went with the Aruba IAP-325 and 335 product lines. Using the 335, higher-end, line give us more capacity and support for larger number of users in a smaller amount of space. The high-end CPU and capabilities combine with the 3 x 3 and 4 x 4 support of 802.11ac help us make sure that everyone has a good, solid, connection to the network to support every transaction.

wfs-aru02.jpgYou never know who will be using your Wi-Fi!

  Connectivity that Drives Giving 

The goal of all of these events is to raise money, awareness, and support a fantastic cause. The connectivity that we provide gives us the ability to support our local organizations with a high-quality experience that they may not have the budget to provide on their own. By hiring providers that bring in their own enterprise grade solutions, it helps the bottom line of all of the organizations that we support while not compromising on the quality of the connectivity. By choosing the Aruba product line, we can confidently support local organizations while stamping our name and reputation on the success of the events.

 

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