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Communications Python Wireless Networking

Why PyCon 2010's Conference Wi-Fi Didn't Melt Down 145

jafo writes "There's been a lot of teeth gnashing going on recently about broken wireless at conferences. We just wrapped up PyCon 2010, with around 600 (out of 1,000) attendees simultaneously accessing the volunteer-run network, and response has been fairly positive. 2.4GHz (802.11b/g) continues to be problematic, but most users were on 5.2GHz (using 802.11n) and associating at 130mbps, with a 100mbps link to the net (though after the fact we found that 35mbps would have sufficed). My PyCon 2010 wrap-up reveals all the secrets of how we did it, including pretty bandwidth and user graphs."
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Why PyCon 2010's Conference Wi-Fi Didn't Melt Down

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  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:07AM (#31357488)

    Because of the notorious slow conference WiFi's I have learned a new trick...

    I use 3G networks. Since I live in Europe it would be expensive except I get pay-per-day for the country and that averages around 4 to 5 USD per day. That is great considering I can get 3G within restaurants, in my hotel room, and where ever else... Beats having to figure things out with the Wifi...

  • by Enleth ( 947766 ) <> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:08AM (#31357496) Homepage

    Even though it's just a short report, it's going to be very valuable for anyone doing similar work, be it for a conference or for a more permanent setup. No textbook is going to protect against those "oh crap, why didn't I think of it before?" moments like some actual experience would, and this posting is the next best thing after actually having someone with experience on site. And this works for any field of applied technology, not just wireless networking.

    So, thanks and be back with some more soon!

  • Piffle. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:28AM (#31357692)

    The bimonthly IEEE 802.11 standards meetings are co-located with other 802 wireless working groups (802.15, 16, et al.) and regularly have attendance from 600-1000 persons, substantially all of whom are active on 2.4GHz (802.11b/g) substantially all the time the meetings are in session (it's required to register session attendance, upload and download documents, etc., but is largely used for Internet-based multitasking). These networks have worked flawlessly for years. They are specially-built for the meetings by VeriLAN Event Services [], a company specializing in network services for special events. Their web site claims that they have supported events with up to 5000 simultaneous users.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:30AM (#31357708) Homepage

    I don't like the dual-band routers much - they always seem to do a crap job serving both bands, even in the rare cases that the router supports it.

    $300 each for those Netgear APs sounds ridiculous when you can get carrier-grade equipment (such as Ubiqiti Rocket series units) for far less. Instead of getting dual-band stuff, just set up independent 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks.

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:28AM (#31358234) Homepage Journal

    What's wrong with "bps" instead of "b/s"?

    "Per" is a word that does not work in all languages, whereas "/" is a universal mathematical symbol. Even non-scientists use units like km/h, at least in Europe.

  • IETF meetings are larger (1200+ typically), and basically everyone has an uses a laptop / pda, so they make for a demanding wireless environment. After some really bad experiences, resources were put into this [emphasis mine -mi], and the last few years, things have really improved.

    At what point does it become cheaper (or comparable) to just run a CAT6 cable to every seat in the conference room? I mean, movie theaters and airplanes have that for headphones. Every laptop I've seen has an Ethernet jack... You spend some more money once, but then save on every event... And you provide better service — while emitting less radiation and consuming less electricity (would somebody think of the polar bears?!)...

    Those few devices, that only have WiFi can still use wireless, but, if the bulk of your audience use cables, you can get away with cheap "SoHo" equipment...

    When renovating my house, I ran CAT6 to every room — the number of power outlets is only 4 times higher, than :-)

  • by jafo ( 11982 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:21PM (#31362798) Homepage
    Just to clarify, the only compensation I get for the wireless at PyCon is that my company gets our sponsorship in trade. Usually I even pay for the conference attendance and definitely the hotel and travel. This year was slightly different because the Community Service award I got last year covered the conference attendance and about a quarter of the hotel. PyCon *does* pay for the wireless APs and the like, though I do supply the router from my stash (this year: Atom 330 mini-ITX system, performed admirably).
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:13AM (#31367884)

    That wouldn't happen to be the system I sold you, would it?

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury