You will need to provide each player attending the LAN party with a good amount of space. While PC LANs take up a bit more space than console game parts, you can count on each player to require a five by five foot square from space. This allows the necessary seating and storage space, as well as table space for PC deployments or for the play area for console games. Garages are fine if you are planning a small eight person LAN, but generally you will be looking for something a bit larger. Town halls, community centers, etc. They are ideal. Estimate the square footage of the floor and divide by the number of planned attendees to see if your square footage meets the minimum demands. It’s always a good idea to provide enough space, as extended play in tight spaces can really detract from the overall quality of events. In terms of table area, the most efficient setups allow players on parallel sides of long tables. Think rows of elementary school lunch tables!
Depending on the number of players you have in attendance, you’ll want to check with the event area owner to make sure the electrical grid can handle the power demands of so many computers, monitors, televisions, consoles, etc. LAN parties consume massive amounts of electricity, so you need to protect yourself against potentially blown fuses. As a rule of thumb, I restrict three computers per socket. Be prepared to compensate the owner of the room for the electricity as well.
This is the most important part of a LAN party – the local area connection! While your PCs and consoles may be great for single player, they are not used on a LAN unless they are connected. While your average router can provide you with a network solution for four computers, you may need something a little more extensive depending on how many people are coming. While most routers have only four ports, the largest switches have expansions between eight and sixty-four Ethernet ports. It may be worth renting a piece of network hardware like a larger switch. I opted for a refurbished Cisco switch, so I have something handy, but if your LANs are planned infrequently, then a weekend rental would be more profitable. There you have it, the basic logistics needed to get your LAN party off the ground! Thanks for reading and happy playing!