COVID-19 Lockdown

As we continue to navigate this unprecedented time in our professional and personal lives, the Wi-Fi Expert blog here at Geekabit will be taking a little break.

We are following all government guidelines, and as such, we as a business like so many others are now working remotely. As many of our clients are doing the same, the need for Wi-Fi support, network design and Wi-Fi installations are all temporarily on-hold.

There are a couple of articles that we have blogged previously that could prove useful during this time – How to fix common Wi-Fi problems, and how to spot people stealing your Wi-Fi! We’ve linked these for you below.

Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them

Who is Stealing my Wi-Fi and How Can I Block Them?

We look forward to getting back to it once all of this over. Here’s hoping that everyone reading this will have secure and reliable Wi-Fi to stay connected to colleagues, friends and family for the next couple of months.

So for now, stay safe and stay home.

The Security Risks of Free Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is now very common-place in British cities, in fact cities all over the world. You won’t find many places that don’t offer some kind of public Wi-Fi when you’re walking through Winchester, London, Cardiff, anywhere! Consumers are willingly, and gratefully, connecting to these networks assuming that the networks are secure. Unfortunately, that assumption may well be misplaced.

Social media intelligence research has shown that these networks lull users into a false sense of security. These users assume that there are the necessary security protocols in place, but in reality they actually are not in upto 90% of cases.

Someone who intends to cause harm will find it relatively easy to gain access to all sorts of information and data that should be protected.

One of the problems lies with businesses wanting to set up their Wi-Fi themselves. A common misconception by well-meaning businesses who just want to offer their customers a good service, is that by installing a router and password protecting it will be enough to make it secure. However, when you’re handing our the password to all of your customers, you’re enabling anyone with the password and connection to access all the devices in the network. So not secure at all.

This approach is well-meaning, but unfortunately rather naive, and not one that is limited to small businesses. Even large companies and established chains have trouble with this kind of network security.

Having a default username and password for multiple end-connected devices can also cause big problems.

Imagine you walk into a cafe, you buy a coffee, and they give you the Wi-Fi password on your receipt. You sip your coffee, take your phone out of your pocket and log on to the most common web address for their router. Easy access. You could then type in the default username and password, eg. ‘admin’ and ‘password’ and bam, you’re inside their router.

This all sounds a bit malicious, and while there are undoubtedly people out there who would attempt to access private and personal data and information, it’s not just this that can cause harm.

Someone could innocently log in with their device and unwittingly share a virus from their laptop, infecting every other device on the network that have default passwords. Scary stuff.

Even more scary when you consider that upto 83% of the population have accessed their email accounts, shared media online and accessed their bank balances on public Wi-Fi services.

There are also risks from ‘man in the middle’ attacks where someone hacks into the original network, and then rebroadcasts a wireless network with the exact same name. A threat very difficult for end users to ascertain.

These users will then connect to the threat network and unbeknown to them, type in all their bank information to the wrong website.

The public are always going to want to use public Wi-Fi and even with these possible threats, people will still connect and go about their online business. Really, the responsibility of security lies with businesses themselves. They need to make the assumption that users will not necessarily be doing the right thing, or protecting their sensitive data, so the businesses need to make their networks properly secure. Self-made public Wi-Fi services through a standard router and password aren’t enough in today’s internet climate.

Coffee shops, restaurants, shopping centres, airports. There are so many public places that are offering an insecure service. Airport customers are taking huge risks according to the experts. When you were last in an airport, did you log on? Maybe you were travelling for work, so hopped on your laptop before making your way to the departure lounge.

Airport wireless networks rely on one simple check box as part of their terms and conditions, but this is more to protect them rather than the end user.

Next time you connect to a wireless network at the airport, open your network section and see how many devices are on that network. There will likely be hundreds of devices listed there, and all you need is one of those to have malicious software on it for it to cause damage.

In general, the consumers expect the utility of having access to Wi-Fi without the understanding of security issues.

That’s where your business can step up. Coming across a secure public Wi-Fi system is actually quite rare so if you’re reading this wondering if the service you are currently offering is secure enough, it’s time to let the professionals have a look.

Don’t hesitate in getting in touch with our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit. Operating out of Winchester, Cardiff and London, we can help your Hampshire, Wales or London based business be one of the secure few rather than the potentially threatened majority.

Get in touch…

London Office – Tel. 0203 322 2443
Cardiff Office – Tel. 02920 676712
Hampshire Office – Tel. 01962 657 390

#NewYearNewWiFi

Who’s currently trying to keep to some New Years Resolutions? We’re over a week into January now, and most people seem to have some kind of aim they are trying to stick to.

This year the hashtag #newyearsameme seems to have been particularly prevalent, with many celebs and social media influencers opting to move away from the traditional time for new years resolutions and instead promote a focus on being happy in your own skin. No crazy diets, no impossible exercise expectations, no ‘be more this’ or ‘become less that’.

I think this is great, although I do also believe that it’s healthy to have goals and ambition, and if they are realistic and achievable then I think New Years Resolutions can be a really positive thing!

I’ve been reading all sorts of lists of resolutions on the internet in the name of research – Ideas on how to introduce exercise into your routine, how to cook healthy balanced meals, to try and read more, get fresh air and – possibly most popular – get offline. Whether that’s heading out for a walk without your phone, or actually switching off your router, the push seems to be on being online less. Many of the lists told their readers to turn the Wi-Fi off, unplug the router, turn phones on airplane mode – Basically use any means possible to get offline.

You may decide that this is the resolution for you, but here is our twist on it…
If you’re going to be making more time in your personal life to be offline, at least make sure your connection is a good one when you are connected. Especially when you are working.

Your business needs Wi-Fi to function well and unplugging your router might sound on paper like it’ll provide your employees with some zen, but it’s actually going to cause frustration and certainly not going to help business practices or keeping things going.

That’s probably a bit extreme (like you’re going to unplug your router!) but slow internet that keeps dropping out will certainly cause frustration too. Your employees will be more productive and work more efficiently if you have a fast and reliable connection.

Have your employees or co-workers been complaining about slow internet speeds? Trying to download a document but it’s taking ages? Having to call back clients while you wait for your computer to catch up?

If these things are something your business has struggled with recently, then don’t delay in getting it sorted out. Start the new year fast and fresh!
And if you’re not the boss but you’re reading this thinking YES then save the link to this blog and slide it into their DM’s…

It might be a new year and the same you, but let’s make 2019 #NewYearNewWifi

We’ve written many a blog on the benefits of Wi-Fi for your business (go on, have a scroll, we won’t tell…). Wi-Fi really is one of those tools that you really can’t afford to mess about with.

So why not give us a call and see how we can help your business in 2019 – From designing your network and installation, to fault finding and fixing, we’ve got Wi-Fi experts working out of London, Winchester and Cardiff waiting to get your business online, fast.

London Office – Tel. 0203 322 2443
Cardiff Office – Tel. 02920 676712
Hampshire Office – Tel. 01962 657 390

#NewYearNewWiFi

Christmas Lights and Wi-Fi – Our Top Tips to Stay Festively Connected

Christmas well and truly arrived in our house this week! Apparently the 1st of December was National Christmas Tree Day as well as National Christmas Lights Day – Makes sense seeing as you tend to put them up at the same time!

Which is rather fitting as my family and I also go out on the 1st December and choose our Christmas tree – We like to get a real one, and my eldest boy loves to pick it out.

So our tree stood in our living room all of Sunday and by Monday afternoon it was really crying out to be decorated. I found a Christmas playlist on Spotify (‘Christmas is Coming’ – Check it out, you won’t be disappointed) and fought the knot of tree lights to get them on the tree and twinkling.

But as soon as I turned them on, Buble started buffering and it made me remember an article from last year that said how Christmas tree lights could affect your Wi-Fi!

I think in my case it had less to do with the tree lights, and more to do with the fact that I had 3 devices running off my router – My phone playing Spotify through my Bluetooth speaker, my laptop on in the corner of the room, and my smart tv turning the screen into a log fireplace through Amazon Prime Video. Festive? Yes! Wi-Fi consuming? Oh yes!

This potential issue with Christmas lights pops up every year though and it’s worth mentioning again just to prevent any interference happening. No one wants to choose between functioning Wi-Fi and a Christmassy home do they!

So, could Christmas tree lights really affect my Wi-Fi? Here’s the science bit…

Christmas lights emit a very weak electromagnetic field which can theoretically interfere with the radio waves being transmitted from your router, thus affecting your Wi-Fi speed. If the lights were to transmit electromagnetic radiation at or around the same frequency, then yes, they could slow down your Wi-Fi.

Between the LED or lamp being completely on or off, it can exhibit negative resistance which in turn causes radio energy. This happens less with modern day lights than older ones though (see below for more info on this).

Is your tree lit up to give a soft glow, or does it look like something fresh out of Blackpool illuminations? The more lights you have, the stronger the electromagnetic field will be.

And closer the router is to the lights, the higher the chance of interference.

Here are our top tips to stay festively connected…

 

Rule #1 – Don’t place things on top of your router

Just don’t do it. This doesn’t just go for decorations, but in general.

Don’t put Christmas lights or anything else directly on top of, or too close to, your router. I can’t personally see the appeal of adorning it with twinkly lights or putting decorations on top of it but each to their own.

While it has been reported that routers that were placed too close to Christmas tree lights could be negatively affected by signal interference, if they’re not directly next to each other or on top of each other, it should be fine.

 

Rule #2 – Use a main plug socket

Christmas is one of those times of year when you’re struggling for socket space and digging out all the extension cables you can find to be able to power Christmas tree lights and all kinds of other lit decorations.

But don’t be tempted to unplug the router and plug it into the extension. It will work a lot better, and faster, if it’s plugged into a main socket.

 

Rule #3 – The more modern the lights, the better

There are generally 2 types of light whose qualities have the potential to cause interference.

Older types of Christmas lights that are arranged in a string of low voltage lamps in series with each other and are designed to blink can cause radio interference which can lead to dips in Wi-Fi speed.

More modern Christmas lights use solid-state LED’s and have an external control for flashing which don’t create radio noise. However, it’s worth noting that some LED’s have a chip inside the bulb to control the blink and these devices can also cause interfence.

On the whole though, modern lights are definitely less likely to cause you a Wi-Fi problem, so maybe save yourself the annual horror of trying to untangle your 10 year old string of lights and treat yourself to some new ones.

 

Rule #4 – Don’t put your router in ‘high traffic’ areas

Tis the season for family gatherings, friend get-togethers and all sorts of festive shenanigans. Not to mention the big man in red tumbling down the chimney! Humans are great signal absorbers, so put the router in a place where it won’t get blocked by partying people or round bellies that shake like jelly.

 

If you’re Wi-Fi geeks like us, and your tree isn’t up yet, why not do a little experiment? Test your Wi-Fi and download speeds before and after putting up the Christmas tree with the lights turned on. We’re pretty sure the results will be rather negligible – But let us know your results!

What’s The Worst Excuse for Bad Wi-Fi You’ve ever Heard?

When you get home from a lovely week away, ready to catch up with emails and get back to work only to find that your internet is out… Nightmare!

We went to Devon for a week, which was lovely. In-keeping with our digital detox from the other week, our beautiful little countryside cottage had awful Wi-Fi which nudged me in the direction of avoiding social media, which turned out to be rather refreshing.

However, once home, I was keen to get back online – Yes to share a few photos, but also to get back in the zone of work before Monday arrived.

So I switched on my laptop, connected to the router, but no web pages were opening. The Slack app wasn’t letting me read my messages on my phone. No online video streaming on the TV to distract the kids!

What was going on?

I sent a text to both my neighbours – One was fine, but the other had had no phone line or broadband earlier in the week either.

Time to contact our broadband provider. After a few text messages, it transpired there was a fault on our line and they would have to send an engineer out. This would hopefully be within 72 hours but could take up to 5 days. Of course, this was Friday afternoon, and of course, the 72 hours doesn’t include the weekend. Time to text the boss.

Thankfully the engineer arrived on Monday morning and fixed the issue.

And the problem? Rats! Apparently rats had gnawed through the cables and they had to be replaced.

I work from home most of the time so it’s pretty important that I have a reliable internet connection. Didn’t think I’d be getting back from holiday and straight away having to tell the boss that I couldn’t get online because of rats chewing cables. It’s a bit “The dog ate my homework, miss” isn’t it?!

Anyone else had a rodent related outage? What’s the worst reason for bad Wi-Fi you’ve heard? Or used?? We’d love to hear them.

Here at Geekabit, we can’t control rats getting in to external cabling, but we can do a lot of other things to help improve your Wi-Fi. Check out our website and see what we can do for you and your business.

https://geekabit.co.uk/what-we-do/

You can also contact us on any of the below; We serve clients across Europe from our offices based in Hampshire and London.
Contact us: London 0203 322 2443 | Cardiff: 02920 676 712 | Winchester: 01962 657 390 | info@geekabit.co.uk

 

With thanks to http://rodrepel.com/blog/blog/outages-due-to-rodents for the image.

What lengths would you go to, to improve your Wi-Fi speed?

Here at Geekabit we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Wales, and now even more so with the boss recently making his beautiful Welsh lady his wife. So when we came across an article about the residents of Michaelston-y-Fedw digging a 15 mile long trench in order to be able to lay super-fast cables, it really made us smile.

The Welsh residents of this small village just a stones throw from our Cardiff based office, were desperate for faster Wi-Fi (aren’t we all, sometimes?) and took matters into their own hands.

With a population of just 300, it’s probably not at the top of service providers list for super-fast cabling, but that doesn’t mean that these villagers weren’t as exasperated as the rest of us when it comes to slow Wi-Fi.

They described their internet connection as feeble, and so decided to dig the trench needed for fibre broadband cables themselves.
It took thousands of volunteer hours from farmers, teachers and retired people from the tiny Welsh village – A huge community effort, which has resulted in the first households being connected successfully. By the Autumn, 90% of homes in the village should be enjoying a massive improvement in internet speed, having gone from 4Mbps to 1000.

Like so many grand schemes, the original plans were hatched in the local pub. Landlord Ben Longman had recently paid for high speed broadband before realising that it wouldn’t work.

With the whole community seemingly disgruntled with the poor Wi-Fi, they went on to set up a community interest company and secured a Welsh government grant.

It was decided that costs for each household should be kept to an absolute minimum so the villagers rallied together to complete as much of the work as possible themselves. While some of the work was completed by local farm workers who were hired to help with the dig, much of the digging efforts was completed by villagers who excavated trenches from their home perimeter and up to the external wall where the fibre needed to enter their home.

It’s an incredible community achievement, with organisers commenting that they almost couldn’t believe what they had managed to do when they all came together.

It now takes less than a minute to download a film, when it used to take a few days. Imagine settling down to watch a movie, only to have to wait until the following night!

One of the men, and husband to one of the organisers who helped with the project was 71 year old Jum Dunk who had lived in the village for over 4 decades. Taking part in the dig led to him making new friends that he hadn’t met before – It might be a small Welsh village, but the initiative brought together people from all different walks of life that may not have had the opportunity to meet.

And if you’re thinking that fast Wi-Fi isn’t quite enough of a reward for digging a 15 mile trench, you’ll be pleased to know that each household that applied before 30 April were connected free of charge with their first year’s service also free.

Here at Geekabit we are so community minded, and just love hearing of success stories like this where people show what can be achieved when we come together. And even better when it’s in our own field too.

 

Original article from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/27/welsh-village-residents-dig-15-miles-trenches-faster-wifi-michaelston-y-fedw

With thanks to Yahoo Tech for the image.

Digital Detox Destinations

Our Director, Steve, has recently got married and has just got back from his honeymoon – A celebration of his nuptials but also a much needed break from the digital demands of his world. While I (and probably his new wife, too) insisted that he switched off whilst he was away, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the odd sneaky peek at emails just to make sure that we were ticking over okay.

Which got me to thinking… Is there anywhere left in this world that forces you to have a proper digital detox?

As Brits, we have what can only be described as an addiction to the internet. Any moment we stop and sit down like waiting for a train or a bus, you’ll find heads pointed down at brightly lit screens, eyes devouring the media on the screen. A lot of times, they don’t even need to sit down!

We go to the pub to catch up with friends in person, see each other face to face, but still pull out our phones and ask ‘What’s the Wi-Fi password?’

A staggering 99% of young Brits (16 to 35 years old) use the internet (who are the other 1%? What do they do with their time?). What’s even more staggering is that these internet users are consuming media online for 10 hours per day, with the majority being viewed through a smartphone or tablet.

So it would seem that Britain really could be in need of a Digital Detox, and somewhere where it’s not left merely to willpower alone. With an internet addiction like this, there really is no other way than Cold Turkey (not one of the destinations, I’m afraid…)

Akamai, content delivery network and cloud services provider, have compiled a list of countries that would fit the bill.

Due to a lack of infrastructure, these 35 countries have a user penetration rate of less than 20% – This means that only 1 in 5 of the residents of these countries can access the internet.

1. Guatemala
2. Honduras
3. Nicaragua
4. El Salvador
5. Senegal
6. Burkina Faso
7. Mali
8. Ghana
9. Cote d’Ivoire
10. Benin
11. Algeria
12. Libya
13. Sudan
14. Eritrea
15. Ethiopia
16. Cameroon
17. Uganda
18. Rwanda
19. D.R. Congo
20. Malawi
21. Zimbabwe
22. Zambia
23. Namibia
24. Madagascar
25. Mozambique
26. Angola
27. Yemen
28. Pakistan
29. Turkmenistan
30. Nepal
31. India
32. Bangladesh
33. Sri Lanka
34. Myanmar
35. Indonesia

Obviously, there are some countries on this list that it’s not possible to visit due to the foreign office advising against travel to certain places because of civil unrest, war and poverty. Obviously these reasons also impact why internet usage is so low.

However, there are countries on this list that are the perfect retreat for a bit of solitude and well worth a trip. Telegraph Travel pinpointed some of them earlier this year, including a beach holiday in Nicaragua, a walking holiday through the Himalayan foothills of Ladakh, India, and a three-day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake in Myanmar.

You could also do some lemur spotting in Madagascar, hop between islands in Indonesia, visit the rock-hewn churches of Ethipoa, track down the breathtaking sight of mountain gorillas in the DRC, or explore the utterly desolate coastline and desert of Namibia. They might be the most photogenic of opportunities, but you won’t be posting those pictures on Instagram until your feet are back on British soil.

There are plenty more incredible travel destinations on this list too like Guatemala, Senegal, Malawi, Mozambique, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

This list is of course not definitive, and there will be other internet-free places just as worthy of a holiday to satisfy the needs of a detox from digital life. You might want to scream from the top of the Facebook mountains about meeting Kazakh eagle hunters but you’ll be far from towns, roads and mobile reception in the real-life Altai Mountains. (The reason this one didn’t make the list is due to most of the population living in Ulaanbaatar which has excellent connectivity).

Other areas off the beaten track and away from the pulls of digital media could be Russia’s far east where you’re more likely to meet a bear than a person, Chilean Patagonia, the USA’s largest protected area Wrangell-St Elias National Park in Alaska, and The Yukon in Canada which is 80 per cent Wi-Fi-free.

Shockingly, Steve didn’t choose any of these destinations for his honeymoon… I can’t think why?

 

For more information on the last places on Earth with no internet, and where we found this list of countries, head to The Telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/the-last-places-on-earth-with-no-internet/

With thanks to https://www.iconspng.com/image/56627/no-wifi-here-quiet-zone for the image.

Should Venues Provide Free Wi-Fi?

Should UK venues offer free Wi-Fi to delegates and visitors? The debate is a fierce one and not showing any signs of diminishing. ESSA (Event Supplier Services Association) and ABPCO (Association of British Professional Conference Organisers) have widely campaigned the issue with differing views.

Below you’ll find a ‘Question Time’ style discussion between the Chairs of both associations – John Robson for ESSA and Michael Foreman for ABPCO. Or skip to the end for a conclusion of their points.

 

Just how important do you see the provision of Wi- Fi to be within a venue, to ensure the success of an event, be that a conference, show or exhibition?

Robson: It is absolutely essential these days. We are becoming increasingly dependent upon connectivity to run our personal and business lives and this does not stop when we enter an event or venue.

Foreman: A recent ABPCO debate with venues, conference organisers and suppliers highlighted that Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of events. Provision of Wi-Fi has moved from becoming a “luxury” item to a fundamental utility, in a similar way to light and heating – this is where the venues need to review their provision. Not only do delegates need to access basic communications such as emails and social media, but increasingly Wi-Fi is required for delegates to participate in the conference content, such as voting, Twitter Q&A and downloading applications.

What level of guaranteed service do you believe should be available to organisers, delegates, exhibitors and visitors at an event?

Robson: Simply put, if you need a specific level of connectivity then you should plan for it. It could be a basic level that allows all types of user to collect/reply to email as attending an exhibition or conference is no longer seen as a day out of the office but part of a working day and the expectation is that it will be business as usual. However, anyone requiring guaranteed connectivity (e.g. for download/upload, presentations etc.) should plan for and purchase the appropriate level of service, as the very nature of Wi-Fi means that it is subject to interference and packet loss unless delivered appropriately. It’s the same analogy as relying on a 3G connection from a mobile operator in a busy location – you expect it most of the time but you would choose to use an alternative source of Internet connectivity if your life depended on it.

Foreman: With regard to the provision of free Wi-Fi for conference delegates, which is what ABPCO’s Conference Cloud campaign focuses on, participants at our recent debate agreed that there is a need for “basic” free Wi-Fi. What “basic” constitutes will vary slightly for each venue, but they do need to be clear about what the offer is at that basic level (bandwidth and how many users can access simultaneously etc). The suggestion at our debate was that it should provide access to email and social media, also possibly accessing tools like Dropbox, but that it would be acceptable to charge for a more sophisticated and high bandwidth usage, such as video.

Where would you like to see Wi-Fi available at an event – in the lobby, networking area or within the conference/show?

Robson: There is no reason why it should not be available everywhere including within conference areas. The availability should represent the needs of the event. For example, these days many events are interactive and people tweet constantly during and after seminar sessions and keynotes. On the counter side, some organisers would prefer not to have this distraction during the presentations. Often mobile signals are weak or unavailable, so Wi-Fi should be available to enable other communications such as using an event specific app or Twitter.

Foreman: One of the benefits of providing free Wi-Fi at a venue is to avoid delegates disappearing at intervals to somewhere that does offer it (whether outside in the street as I witnessed in the USA or a local Starbucks). The networking element is hugely important in events, so we would anticipate Wi-Fi being available in networking areas in addition to the main auditorium to participate in applications such as live voting.

To ensure fair access, would you be comfortable to have a third party supplier or the venue manage and control access to Wi-Fi and have the ability to shut down any non-authorised access?

Robson: If shutting down unauthorized activity improves the service and makes for a better experience for all, then yes, third party suppliers and venues should have this control. They will have a much better understanding of Wi-Fi than most event organisers and can use this to ensure that the delegates, exhibitors and visitors all have the required level of service. Education is key; it looks simple, but it isn’t and technology alone cannot guarantee connectivity. Control measures are absolutely essential and third party suppliers and venues should have the power to shut down unauthorised access.

Foreman: I don’t think it is relevant as long as the delegate does not have to pay. The way that venues set up their network is up to them. We would like to see a system in place where either basic Wi-Fi is offered free or the organiser has the ability to fund this basic option (through sponsorship or other methods) with an upgrade on demand.

Can the available technology satisfy the demands?

Robson: Yes it can but it’s not enough to simply provide a network. The Wi-Fi provider needs to work closely with the organiser to work out what those demands are and where the pinch points lie, so that additional infrastructure can be deployed if necessary. In addition to active planning, active management needs to be applied to ensure that rogue networks and rogue devices are shutdown to minimize interference and maximise up time. It’s worth noting that the technology is available to provide acceptable levels of Wi-Fi connectivity but don’t be fooled into thinking that because a venue claims to have a good Wi-Fi network that it’s using the latest technologies or that it is adequate for every event. Event organisers must ask specific questions when choosing a venue about how many people they want to connect concurrently and what sort of experience (i.e. bandwidth) each user can expect, especially in areas where large numbers of people will gather e.g. lobby areas, cafés etc.

Foreman: We learned during our debate that there is a lot of legacy infrastructure in situ at many venues that is not currently equipped to deal with the bandwidth demands. This is a big part of the discussion for many venues, as there is a cost to invest in upgrading their systems to offer greater functionality and service levels to professional conference organisers and their clients. What we explored at our debate was a number of initiatives, highlighted by Cisco, which can assist with cost covering through sponsorship and other marketing initiatives.

Be it a permanent or temporary supply of Wi-Fi, if there is a cost to deliver a robust and accessible service within a venue, who should carry the cost – the venue, an event organiser or the visitor?

Robson: This is a commercial arrangement between the organiser and the venues. This is not about whether the Wi-Fi should be free or not. The hardware, the continual upgrading of the hardware to meet the ever increasing demand and the management of the Internet and the Wi-Fi for each event costs a lot of money and has to be funded. If it’s provided free to visitors then one way or another the event organiser will pay for it. This might be a direct cost; a cost bundled within the price for the space, or a sponsorship of the Wi-Fi perhaps via landing page advert or a video that each user sees when they connect to the Wi-Fi network.

Foreman: As consumers we are increasingly benefitting from high-speed Wi-Fi access on multiple devices and our expectations are changing. Wi-Fi is seen as much more of a basic utility than previously and delegates should not see a separate Wi-Fi charge for logging in to basic access (checking emails, social media etc) when they attend a conference. Whether the venue covers the cost for this basic level in its room hire is up to the venue, but the delegates certainly should not pay. What is required is much greater clarification on what can be offered at a basic level and what will be required for more sophisticated, high-bandwidth usage. We are working on a document highlighting the questions that professional conference organisers need to be asking their clients about their Wi-Fi requirements and what venues need to be clear on. That way we will all have greater transparency and understanding about when there is more to pay for a complex requirement.

What do you see as the next step in the process of attaining solid Wi-Fi connectivity at events?

Robson: New infrastructure in venues that can operate on both the 2.4ghz and the 5ghz bands. More devices in the marketplace capable of operating on 5ghz band and an acceptance from the organiser and the venues that the Wi-Fi has to be actively planned and managed pre and during the event. Also, people need to be pro-active and aware and to keep abreast of technological developments and the impacts they may have.

Foreman: Education and understanding between venues, conference organisers and their clients is the key to moving forward. We are working on an outline document, which will provide organisers with some guidance on what questions they need to be asking. We will also be continuing with our Conference Cloud campaign and encouraging venues to sign up and offer free Wi-Fi to delegates. We have over 130 venue sites listed across the UK already and we receive more requests to join each week.

 

Conclusions:

Both associations agree that Wi-Fi is now a crucial part of any type of event. People depend on being able to connect for both personal and business reasons, thus, venues need to be able to provide that connectivity.

Fundamentally, whatever level of connectivity required by an event organiser must be planned for so that the basic level of service meets expectations. The definition of ‘basic’ will differ, so each venue must be transparent about what exactly is being offered. But what, if any service, should be free? Should a ‘basic’ level of service be free, with the opportunity to then purchase a higher level? Or should all levels of service be purchased to meet the event organisers exact needs?

It seems a unanimous agreement that Wi-Fi should be available anywhere and everywhere at an event venue. The pros to having Wi-Fi available to delegates throughout the venue (ability to participate in interactive seminars, live tweeting, avoiding absconding) outweigh the cons (potential distraction during presentations).

It is acceptable for third party suppliers or venues to be able to manage and control Wi-Fi access, including shut downs, as long as it is to ensure excellent service and delegates are not paying for that service.

The technology is there, but careful planning must be carried out when researching venues with detailed questions being asked about the service level required. While there is the technology to meet specifications, it is not a given that venues will have the necessary systems in place.

The provisions that need to be in place in order to provide Wi-Fi cost a lot of money, and continually have to be updated. It seems that it would not be possible for a venue to completely swallow this cost and offer free Wi-Fi for all. The cost is inevitably knitted into overall costs e.g. room hire or day delegate rate or passed down to the end user. The general consensus is that the delegate should not be paying for it, and either the venue organiser needs to be covering the costs, or a sponsor who utilises the landing page for marketing purposes.

The next steps to attain solid Wi-Fi connectivity at events are; venues operating on both 2ghz and 5ghz bands, proactive planning and management before and after the event from planners and venues, technological education so there is clear understanding between parties, and finding a way to offer delegates free Wi-Fi e.g. through ACBPO’s Conference Cloud campaign.

 

Here at Geekabit, we provide a comprehensive Wi-Fi service for businesses, venues and events – For more information head to our website https://geekabit.co.uk/what-we-do/

You can also contact us on any of the below; We serve clients across Europe from our offices based in Hampshire and London.
Contact us: London 0203 322 2443 | Cardiff: 02920 676 712 | Winchester: 01962 657 390 | info@geekabit.co.uk

Cardiff Wi-Fi Help in South Wales

We are Geekabit and we provide Wi-Fi help in South Wales from our offices in Cardiff.

We support business Wi-Fi helping to fix broken Wi-Fi in South Wales, for businesses that are suffering from issues which may be causing their business to slow down – through dropped connections, misfunctioning VOIP telephony, slow internet speeds and Wi-Fi issues at different times of day.

We work with organisations across South Wales, including offices, manufacturers, warehousing and hotels where there are Wi-Fi issues.

Why work with us?
Whilst there are a number of companies – such as electricians, old BT phone engineers and a variety of small residential computer companies, when you have a true Wi-Fi issue in your business, it is time to call in the Wales’ specialist Wi-Fi Consultants.

Using our skills, extensive field experience and Wi-Fi qualifications, we have the ability to quickly diagnose and fix the Wi-Fi issues at your workplace, and will work with your IT teams in order to provide a resolution. Indeed, we often just diagnose the issues and provide advice to your existing suppliers on how to fix it themselves – we’re flexible.

Wi-Fi for Events in Wales
We provide event hire for Wi-Fi and Mobile Broadband for events in Wales from Cardiff. With the growing field of social media marketing, there is a need for attendees to immediately check in, share video and post on their feeds showing what they are up to.
In often rural areas, we have the skills and equipment for Wi-Fi event hire for large numbers of guests, helping to provide a solid internet reliable internet connection.

We also do this for press conferences, concerts, festivals and sporting events in Wales.

Planning a Wi-Fi network in Wales?
Our Welsh Wi-Fi Planning and Design service offers you the chance to ensure full network coverage for your users, look at the future capacity of your network and support your installation team in specifying the right equipment.

Using a consultative approach, we work with your IT teams, end users, facilities management and construction teams to understand the requirements of your future installation and perform site visits to plan the most future-proofed Wi-Fi network for your business in Wales.

We use the latest software to build predictive models of your future Wi-Fi network, whether your building exists or not, helping you to ensure a perfect Wi-Fi network that saves time and money.

Wales Wi-Fi Provider for Wi-Fi Installs
We won’t lie – anyone can install a box on the ceiling and plug it in. But installing a successful Wi-Fi network requires a great deal more thought and expertise.

But do you have the experience to recognise the exact positioning of Wi-Fi access points and network cables can have a huge impact on your network coverage, speed and capacity?

We visit many sites throughout Wales from our Cardiff office, where the main signal is pointed in the opposite direction of the users, interrupted by metal ceilings or access points are dangling from their own power cables. Many IT companies in Wales do not have the daily experience of bad Wi-Fi to understand what they are doing is often damaging the very problem they were there to fix.

Contact Wales Wi-Fi Experts
If you need assistance installing, fixing, extending or hiring business Wi-Fi networks in Wales, our team of Cardiff-based Wi-Fi experts is here to support you. You can email info@geekabit.co.uk or call 02920 676712.

The Farce of Broadband Advertising and better ‘Wi-Fi’ boxes

Recently there has been a massive increase in the TV, Radio and Online advertisements from Broadband providers saying they’ve got the best Wi-Fi.

Indeed, they might have the most strongest signal they’ve ever had, claim to reach further in your house than they previously did or cover an entire mansion. But they are misleading people significantly into thinking that by swapping broadband provider, they will solve the Wi-Fi issues in their house.

We’ve seen this with a number of clients recently, tricked into changing their provider, and lo and behold, they are still suffering the same issues. They go away thinking that by changing provider, often locking themselves into 18 month contracts, that all their problems will be solved by a shiny new box.

Indeed advertising watchdogs have found that companies such as BT shouldn’t be doing this (click here for the link).

What will it do?
For anyone suffering with Wi-Fi issues, changing your broadband provider will mainly only help if the issue is with your broadband.
There’s already enough confusion over whether it’s your broadband or your Wi-Fi that’s the problem, with many users getting confused by both these terms. The advertising for the broadband industry does nothing to help this.

What’s the problem then?
Often the problem has nothing to do with their broadband, it is more likely to do with the wireless environment that the router sits in.
Wrong placement in the house, people not manually setting up the Wi-Fi from the broadband router, expecting it to be like the adverts and to have a great signal around a property the size of Buckingham Place – it just doesn’t happen.

If the true problem is Wi-Fi, I’m afraid the solution is to fix the Wi-Fi issue at hand. Changing a box for another one with a lot of false marketing promises, that won’t do the trick. But by the time you’re signed into another 18 months, that’s when you’ll realise.

What can I do about it?
There’s lots of advice across this site that explains how to make the Wi-Fi better, and we are pleased to be able to offer this as one of our core services. By using technical industry software, we can provide on-site Wi-Fi Site Surveys that help to diagnose your issues.

Please contact our team by emailing info@geekabit.co.uk or by calling one of our offices.