Wireless functionality for a large group of users depends very roughly on two constraints:
With light usage, checking email, surfing the web etc, 20-25 users per access point is a rough guide to the upper limit. Each access point can cope with many more users simultaneously connected than this, as long as they are not doing anything. This is quite common in a conference situation – some people are listening to the speaker [no usage], some are reading emails or a web page [no usage] and a lower proportion are actually using the Wi-Fi, e.g. browsing to a new web page, sending or receiving email.
IT Services is not generally able to provide temporary wireless access points. This is because we do not hold a ready stock of equipment and the cost in terms of staff time of organising temporary deployments far outweighs the cost of a permanent installation.
Given suitable notice, access points can be permanently installed to cover virtually any given University venue. The cost of installation would have to be covered by the conference organisers or host department. Except in very large venues, the maximum number of access points within range of each other is limited to three because 802.11g Wi-Fi only has 3 distinct radio channels to use.
The Wireless Team will be happy to answer any questions you have. You can get in touch by emailing: wireless-helpNOSPAM@bristol.ac.uk