NEVER RELY ON VENUE OR CLIENT WIFI!
The reason is simple. Venue/client wifi is unpredictable and uncontrollable. By unpredictable, I mean the wi-fi at Venue A may work perfectly fine with PicPic Social, but the next day you are at Venue B and it doesn’t work.
By “work”, I mean when trying to connect the sharing station to the workstation, you’ll get an error about “cannot find the server.” Or, you may get them to find each other and connect, but they might disconnect or transferring files may be very slow. These are typical symptoms of a hardware firewall and there is nothing you personally can do to change these settings.
If your client tells you the venue wi-fi will be accessible and available for use, approach the situation with the same skepticism you should have when a Nigerian prince emails you to offer you millions in rewards for your help. If I have to put it bluntly, assume they are lying.
Well, lying is such a harsh term. Let’s just say, they don’t know what they are talking about! They are not trying to be deceitful, rather, they just don’t know the technical aspect about networks and how things need to work for your sharing station. Venue wi-fi has firewalls in place to protect all the hundreds or thousands of visitors in the building from hackers on the network. If they didn’t have a firewall, they would be leaving their guests exposed! Now that you know you should never rely on venue wi-fi, let’s talk about your options and what you should do.
Here are your alternative options…
Running social media sharing at your events is all about eliminating variables. The more things you can control, the better the experience will be for you and your clients. You’ll be less stressed knowing you can make changes to fix issues as they occur, and your clients will be less stressed knowing you are a pro and have a handle on the situation. Right? Right!
This list is ordered starting with the best solution.
Bring your own 5ghz hotspot to every event – Yes. You should have your own 5ghz hotspot. When you buy your 5ghz hotspot, it will be in “dual band mode” you need to specifically set it to 5ghz mode. You can purchase a 5ghz hotspot from your cellular phone provider.
Use your smartphone – It’s not the best option, but it is more reliable than venue wi-fi. Call your phone provider to learn how to enable the hotspot feature on your phone.
Use Connectify – OK, I’m about to sound like a hypocrite, but please read in full before you judge me. If you have to use venue/client wifi and you are having issues with connectivity, Connectify will save you. Connectify is a software application that turns your computer into a hotspot. You’ll connect your computer to the venue wi-fi and then run the Connectify application on your computer, which will turn your computer into a hotspot. Once the new hotspot is created, you’ll connect your sharing station to this new hotspot. Using Connectify will help you bypass the venue firewall, but Connectify is not the most recommended setup!