Bringing fast, reliable internet access to live events with 5G and LTE

Company details

FestiFi provides temporary internet and Wi-Fi solutions to support events of any size, including music festivals, trade shows, conferences and brand activations for some of the world’s largest gatherings, corporate clients and touring acts. FestiFi IT teams and field technicians tackle the most challenging ISP deployments and turn them into customized internet networks that can power an entire event city, from point-of-sale connectivity to production operations to guest experiences.

Tapping the power of Inseego 5G / LTE

Solutions for a downtown Denver Beer Festival

Overview

Strong internet access is essential for any large, live event. From box office operations to food and beverage points-of-sale (POS) to live streaming, event producers need to ensure they have reliable connectivity everywhere. This often requires the setup of temporary internet services and Wi-Fi solutions in places where little or no telecom infrastructure is readily available on-site.

Using Inseego Wavemaker™ 5G FX2000 routers and other access points, FestiFi was able to build out a Wi-Fi network — quickly —in downtown Denver, providing mission-critical connectivity for a popular beer festival’s operation, including support multiple food & beverage stands, ticketing, and their production team.

Problem

During a live event, all sales are compressed into a short window of time. Any kind of slowdown or failure in connectivity can be catastrophic, resulting in lost revenue, higher vendor costs and poor customer experiences. If wireline service from a traditional ISP isn’t affordable or available, a fast and reliable Wi-Fi alternative needs to be deployed and monitored to ensure optimal performance.

Challenges

FestiFi works with its clients for several months before an event to formulate the best possible internet solutions for their particular needs and location. For large events in high-density environments, they typically procure an ISP line. In this case, after conducting site surveys and consulting with ISPs, FestiFi learned that a wireline connection would require some construction and it would take 90 days to initiate service. They needed a faster way to provide reliable Wi-Fi for the box offices and point-of-sale (POS) transactions across the site.

Solution

Although FestiFi had previously deployed LTE solutions as the primary internet solution across an entire event, crowd density in a downtown environment was a risky approach, since they’d be competing for cellular bandwidth with the festival’s beer fans.

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with T-Mobile and I’d learned from their business division that they were introducing a new 5G router, the FX2000, from Inseego. We had already starting to test it out when I ran into the challenges with ISPs in Denver,” recalls Kim Owens, VP of Strategy and Operations at FestiFi. “I asked our tech team if we could use the Inseego 5G solution and they said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”

A FestiFi technician positioned eight FX2000 routers in locations where they received the strongest signal and connected some of them to other access points to provide a large Wi-Fi bubble covering the festival’s outdoor footprint.

Results

“This beer festival in Denver was our first time using a 5G solution at this level and it all went very smoothly,” says FestiFi [Senior Field Technician] Steve Reilly. “My first priority was to identify where the nodes were so we’d have the best connectivity. Then, using the Inseego Mobile smartphone app, I was able to determine the best locations with the strongest signals.

“Although it was a high-density urban environment, I was very pleased with both the network and FX2000 modem performance. Throughout the two weekends of this event, we typically had 120 to 140 clients at any given time, across multiple locations with dozens of POS terminals. I was seeing 300 Mbps download speeds and 60-100 Mbps uploads, and even when the crowds grew in size, I didn’t see much drop-off in speed.

“I also appreciated the Inseego web UI, which allowed me to log directly into the modems to see the signal strength and other information. That helped me monitor conditions in real time and optimize performance on the spot. I could even switch back and forth seamlessly between 5G and LTE, which was a game-changer.”

FestiFi also plans to use FX2000 routers to power live streaming in a large trade show booth and provide Wi-Fi in executive meeting rooms. Looking ahead, FestiFi is also exploring other Inseego 5G solutions, including the S2000e industrial gateway (which supports multiple external antennas for deployment flexibility) and the FG2000e router (with a WAN port for automatic failover).

“We’re known in the events industry as the experts in delivering mission-critical internet services, even in really challenging environments. In every project, small or large, we set a high bar for all solutions we use,” says Owens. “By adding Inseego 5G products to our toolbox, we can provide even greater flexibility, resiliency and performance for all kinds of events and experiences in the future.”

About the Inseego Wavemaker FX2000

Designed and developed in the USA by Inseego, the Wavemaker 5G indoor router FX2000 provides 5G and 4G LTE connectivity along with Wi-Fi connections for up to 30 devices, plus an ethernet LAN port and USB-C port. This small but powerful router can provide gigabit-per-second internet speeds* as well as cloud-based management and enterprise-grade security features.

* Speeds achieved by connected devices vary based on carrier network, coverage and loads.

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