Anyone who has been to a large event full of people with laptops has experienced that all-too-familiar scenario: Sitting in chair with laptop, about to send that tweet of Elmo doing the Single Ladies dance and *POOF* your internet connection goes out. You look around and for some reason it looks like EVERYONE ELSE still has a connection. You proceed to continuously refresh your wireless connection hoping that something will result while the people around you start dropping like flies… “Hey, are you connected?” “What wireless network are you on?” “Is ‘Bob’s Apartment Wireless; DON’T USE’ password-protected?” and etc.
Large events can be a wireless lover’s worst enemy. Because the bandwidth of the internet connection is only so big but more and more people make more and more connections, it’s like feeding a single pack of Skittles to 50 people. Sure you can give everyone a single Skittle, but just tasting that lone, small pellet of sugary goodness is going to make them want a whole pack and not be satisfied until then get it. In the same way, because there are so many people wanting to access the internet through the same stream, it becomes split so much that each person’s stream is achingly slow if it’s there at all.
Luckily, our very own Dane, Tomas Krag put together an SSC toolbox full of tools to ease the pain associated with managing your internet connection at a large event. Bandwidth Management for Events pulls together tools that improve connection speeds with techniques like caching and reusing frequently-requested web pages and limiting download speed, while allowing bursts, to eliminate queues. Some of this may seem like voodoo, but these tools are definitely worth checking out for the next wireless-enabled event you hold. Any experience with these tools? What do you think?
Have any horrible “large event wireless FAIL” moments? Let us be your safe space to share. 😉