Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LeWeb: another disconnected conference...

All the net & web heads of the world seem to have gathered at "Le Web" 09 in Paris. While I think that conferences like this are great for people to meet in realtime and for start-ups to showcase their products I am again disgusted by the reports coming from Paris on the disfunctional wifi at the conference.
Feedback through Twitter indicates that the wifi is more down than up. This is not the first time as the wifi at last years events was innitially just as bad. It is also not the only technology conference with lacking connectivity. TechCrunch had similar problems and it seems to be the norm that working wifi is more a sporadic luxury than an essential service at most conferences.

As a someone who has been working as a wifi provider for nearly 10 years now this disgusts me. It is not rocket science! What's needed is for someone knowledgeable to carry out a site survey and to use the results of this to work out a radio-plan. Take in consideration all possible sources of interference, the network load (i.e. amount of bandwidth needed) and make sure that you implement correct channel management and you should be OK. Coverage area and number of users can just be plugged into this matrix as it is scaleable.
Provide a number off VLAN's for the different access groups (attendees, conference staff, press etc.) and don't forget to add redundancy.
Yes, you need to do some prior planning and preparation but so do all others areas of organising conferences.

What is also amazing is the amounts of money alledgedly paid out for this. Rumour has it that the sum off 100k(euro) changed hands for this years Le Web wifi connectivity. Has anyone ever looked at what this really costs or is it just sponsors money wasted?

I have offered our services to the organisers of these events via Twitter and other channels before (without any feedback) and will do it again. We can provide working wifi at any event at a cost well below the one mentioned above. I will also provide a guarantee that it will work. On top of that I will talk to anyone organising an event and explain to them what to look out for when organising wifi connectivity.

Really people, crappy wifi at a technology event is just a very poor show.....

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