Your photo booth can be connected by two wireless methods:
- Cellular Data Services (Purchased separately via your local Cellular Carrier Providers. Data packs are not included with your photo booth).
- Standard Wifi to a local network.
- public/guest networks
- private employee networks
We strongly recommend that you invest in a mobile hotspot for your events. Attempting to connect to public/guests networks usually is impeded by firewall restrictions and/or limitations. As part of the email sharing experience, your photobooth requires uploading whole image files and usually guest networks have that blocked. Mobile hotspots are battery powered pocket size devices which connect to the local cellular network and provide a portable wireless signal for only your photo booth to connect to. Minimal data rate (speed) to operate your photobooth on is 2Mbps. Starting out, we suggest purchasing a starter monthly bandwidth data package around 2GB.
We do not recommend using your personal smartphone as a hotspot.
With your own dedicated data signal, event setup is much more simplified and easier. However, there are limitations. Not all areas may be covered with strong signal service or any at all (a dead zone). This occurs more often in smaller, rural areas. Also, being inside a large, concrete building could be a cellular dead zone. Always make note window locations in a venue as signal strength could be better near them. You can potentially place your mobile hotspot by the window, and leave your photo booth where it is. Typical maximum range from the hotspot to the photo booth is 75ft.
Pricing and reliability of these devices is going to vary between local markets, and the Cellular Carriers have comparable pricing and network reliability. It’s advised that you start with a smaller amount of data and scale up if needed. At 2GB block of data will be sufficient to start with.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cellular Data:
1) What kind of speed test can we do at a check-out meeting as well as at the start of or during an event?
2) Can any of this testing be done remotely versus being on-site?
A: No, since it’s a test of your equipment and location you would need to be on site.
3) What is considered an acceptable upload and download speed from the cellular data device and/or service provider?
A: This varies greatly, but for LTE it should deliver at least 10mbit download & 10mbit upload speeds.
4) What speed would be considered questionable for the various services TapSnap offers?
A: 2mbit upload is the absolute minimum for a TapSnap photo booth.
5) How can we determine if we have a good signal (vs. Speed of the network)?
A: speedtest.net is your only effective way of getting an impression of network performance. Keep in mind, a network’s performance will vary/decline as more users are added. This can occur as an event goes on and more customers of the same Carrier come into the cellular service area. Signal strength bars are not accurate predictors of network performance.
Standard WiFi is ok to use, however, complications can arise when attempting to access public/guest networks when at a venue. Usually, networks are password protected, so you’d need to speak to your event contact for the information. Also, guest networks are usually firewalled for security reasons and limited to basic web browsing functionality. Your photo booth however, uses other types of network functions (for moving files to and from the server) and it may be blocked on a guest network. Private employee networks usually allow for more freedom and there would likely be fewer people using it, so ask your client for access to that instead.
Your photo booth is capable of being run offline without any network connection, there are limitations. No emailing or SMS text messaging can be done while the photo booth is offline. Also, you will only be able to create an event directly on the unit. This means you will only be able to select custom media items directly on the kiosk.
Get in the habit of always putting your event media on a flash drive and taking it with you, or placing it in a folder on the photo booth’s windows desktop. If you can have unexpected network problems at the event, you can quickly setup the event code right on the unit.