Why Wi-Fi? Part II

Wi-Fi broadcast tower

The Issue Remains

As we mentioned in our post Why Wi-Fi?, the demand for connectivity is increasing so much that many event planners are struggling to find venues with the appropriate capabilities for their needs. With the growing number of connected personal devices and use of mobile apps for conferences, the importance of Wi-Fi connectivity for events cannot be stated enough.

Wi-Fi Speeds

To aid event organizers even further, we stumbled across a chart that breaks down the required connection speed in relation to usage and total audience. As one can assume, adding more people and/or usage demands increases the total Megabytes per second (Mb/s) needed.  Notice how the difference between single and multiple devices per user also determines the amount of Wi-Fi needed.

Wi-fi speed requirements chart
Source: www.conventionindustry.org (click for full size image)

Conference needs would most likely fall within the usage level of medium (area highlighted in green). The medium usage level is needed for simple wireless communications, such as email, as well as for attendees to utilize mobile apps for conferences. However if you feel you may have a need for high level connections, don’t limit your event.

Upload vs. Download Speeds

Below, we have also listed typical bandwidth needs for certain connected activities at events. These lists are separated by download bandwidth needs from upload bandwidth needs:

Typical Download Bandwidth Needs:

  • Email, Web, audio chat: 1-2 Mbps
  • YouTube, video chat: 3.5 Mbps
  • Streaming video: 5-10 Mbps
  • Conference management software, large file transfers: 10-20 Mbps
  • Corporations, small countries: 20-50 Mbps

Typical Upload Bandwidth Needs:

  • Email, Web: 256 Kbps
  • Video chat, remote desktop: 512 Kbps
  • Multiuser Skype, screen sharing: 1 Mbps
  • VPN, Web server, multicast video: 2 Mbps
  • Peer-to-Peer connections: 3-5 Mbps


The important thing is to negotiate Wi-Fi upfront. Whether you are working with the venue or a third party provider, always talk to the people directly. Determine where access points are and how consistent the connection is to plan for weak spots. The overall capabilities, and total price, need to be clearly stated before you sign the contract so nothing unexpected arises the day of the event.

Want to learn more about the latest trends in mobile, such as Wi-Fi? Download our whitepaper 2015 Strategic Mobile Trends for Associations and Event Leaders.