Buying Dedicated vs. Shared Bandwidth at Trade Show Events

This is the moment you have been waiting for… 

The time has come for your business to break the routine of online marketing and remote sales and get face to face with consumers and industry professionals alike.

Many exhibitors take advantage of the multitude of benefits trade shows have to impact their business by creating a space for new sales and lead prospects. In addition, trade shows provide an opportunity to strengthen brand loyalty between the business and their existing customers.

In today’s modern world, you have to capitalize on any opportunity to get in front of your customer to create lasting business relationships. Events offer the opportunity to gain valuable exposure and feature upcoming products and promotions. Numerous exhibitors are gravitating towards a more technological presentation by choosing to promote their products and services with live demonstrations within the booth. 

Social media can also be an important tool, providing a live streaming platform for consumers unable to attend the conference. High-speed internet for events is becoming more of an essential rather than an elective. To present your brand to thousands of attendees with the latest trends and tools in technology, the most important thing to remember is to buy a sufficient amount of bandwidth to make it all possible.

You can go to any convention center or meeting space across the globe and they will almost always be able to provide an internet connection from what they call the “house network” or suggest a trusted third-party Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide a dedicated internet connection.

Shared bandwidth from the “House”

In most convention centers, if you need an internet connection for your booth, you have the option to order “shared” or “dedicated” bandwidth. The difference all comes down to how the bandwidth is allocated. 

When ordering a shared line, you are sharing the internet amongst the entire show floor. This has the potential to be unreliable during times of peak usage periods since they can only guarantee “up to” the speed you have ordered. 

You may ask yourself, “Why would they try to sell me internet that is not guaranteed to work during my event?”

From the venue’s standpoint, they figure not everyone that ordered an internet connection will be utilizing the service all at once. For instance, 20 Mbps shared connection can be sold to multiple customers, meaning if the other users are merely sending emails or visiting websites, you’ll have a lot of bandwidth left to work with.

However, if you or any other users are downloading and uploading large files simultaneously, that 20 Mbps circuit is rationed out to sustain as many of those users as possible. As a result, this will slow down your connection tremendously which would be detrimental to the appearance of your business. 

For example, say your company’s booth is live streaming or demonstrating exciting new products and your availability to the internet is cut in half when the majority of the show floor is using that same connection. Your entire demonstration is at risk and in the end, all of those potential customers in your booth or watching online have lost interest and moved onto the next presentation that catches their eye. Nobody wants that!

For this reason, it’s imperative for your ISP to know the purpose of your internet usage, so they can help you figure out how much you will need. Now, if you are only using the connection for back-office use such as composing emails or watching Netflix, you will be just fine ordering from the venue. This will most likely be the cheaper alternative.

Dedicated circuits are a competitive alternative to “House” internet

For exhibitors that are planning on live streaming video content or including any product demos during the event, this is where a third-party ISP like Hyper Networks comes in handy, creating a network capable of supporting various customers with specific or unique IT requirements.

With a dedicated hardline, you are allotted a specific amount of bandwidth for your use ONLY. This will ensure there are stable upload and download speeds. Those who order a dedicated line come out unaffected by those peak usage periods, unlike customers that bought from the shared network aforementioned above. Phew! *wipes forehead*

When ordering a dedicated line, you get what is referred to as a “symmetrical internet connection” which simply means you will be uploading and downloading your files at the same speeds. This is essential when a customer needs to transfer data in both directions. To get your product off the show floor and into the hands of those behind the keyboard, your upload speed is most important and needs to be large enough to send it through the internet seamlessly to ensure no lag time or missed information. It does not require nearly as much bandwidth to download files so if you are satisfied with how quick your files are uploading, you should have no problem with how fast they are received. 

To answer the question of whether dedicated bandwidth is right for you, it all boils down to what your needs and budget are. If you expect to have a large online presence and live demonstrations during the show, I would tell you to buy dedicated all the way! Your business sales depend on your ability to deliver what you had intended and the last thing you want is to bring your company’s name into bad repute. With dedicated internet, you can have peace of mind knowing you are on a steady connection all to yourself. 

If you have an upcoming event in Las Vegas, Nevada with internet requirements and would like to get an idea of what a dedicated circuit would cost, you can head over to our website to use our bandwidth calculator. In a few short questions, you will be able to generate a quote on the spot. We also welcome new opportunities at venues outside of Nevada upon request.

If you find that a dedicated circuit is just not right for you, there is no need to worry! You always have the option to reach out to the convention center directly to see what they can offer as well.