WIFI Crowd Control


M32_AppMany of us sound techs like to use an iPad to control digital mixing consoles such as the Behringer or Midas 32-channel units. The iPad surface control via WIFI generally works great, but there’s a problem when you get into a room with hundreds or thousands of cell phones all looking for free WIFI. In that case all those smart phones can overwhelm your WIFI router simply by pinging it non-stop.

You might think you can set your router to be invisible to all those data-hungry phones, but that doesn’t always work in a crowded room. That’s because while hiding the router’s Name (SSD) will make the router invisible to standard pings, that still won’t allow a 2.4 GHz router to work properly once you hit a thousand or so cell phones in range, which often happens at concerts.  There’s just too much traffic in the 2.4 GHz band for solid communication, so going to a dual-band router and selecting the 5 GHz band for iPad communications would seem to be the best way to solve that problem.

However while there’s much less RF traffic up there in the high-band, a 5 GHz WIFI router just doesn’t do very well punching signal though human bodies due to the shorter wavelength. The result is communication dropouts when all those pesky humans get in between you and your router.

WIFI_BWhat to do? Well like with most wireless communication systems, elevation is your friend, so you simply need to get the WIFI router up over the heads of the crowd.

Here’s my solution that only takes a few minutes to build out of parts you probably have laying around in your shop. It’s just of a small piece of wood with two strips of Velcro on the top to hold the router in place. The simply mount a standard mic flange adapter on the bottom of the wood platform. 

Finally  put  your router platform up on a tall mic stand like you see below to get some elevation over the heads of the masses. Enjoy the solid WIFI communication.

Mike Sokol


2 thoughts on “WIFI Crowd Control

  1. People have been saying this for years, about moving to 5 GHz wifi from 2.5, but ALL the new phones also work on 5 GHz as well now days. I currently have issues in the Center Camp Cafe during Burning Man.
    Before the event opens I can get 200′ of range over 5Ghz, after the people arrive I am lucky if I get 30′.

    1. Profile photo of Mike Sokol

      That may be true in the future, but at least for now there’s much less RF traffic on the 5 GHz band during concerts. Burning man is its own version of RF overload, I’m sure.

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