Lotusphere 2009: wifi

January 26 2009

Understandably, a few of the Lotusphere 2009 summary blogs have complained/criticized the wifi situation during the conference.  There were times and places where it was just unusable.  In the closing session, Bob Picciano tried to address this head on, saying that we had planned but had really no idea how much demand there would be for connectivity.  Upon further reflection, I'm not sure that was the entire story.

It has been many, many years since I was a network engineer, but after discussing this on Luis Suarez's blog, I did some googling around to try to understand 802.11b/g and saturation.  With so many geeks carrying multiple wifi-enabled devices in such a small physical space, it appears that the odds were that we would hit network saturation.  This makes sense to me -- at one point during Tuesday's analyst meeting, I had to leave the Americas seminar room in the Dolphin to replicate.  The wifi in the room was useless, but when I ran downstairs to one of the hardwire connections outside the registration area, I had a speedy quick connection.  So it wasn't necessarily the connection from the hotels to the outside world, but rather at times the wifi access points themselves.

Some of you are much more technical on this topic than I...I am curious whether we are just hitting that point where with laptops, mobile phones, and even cameras being wifi enabled, that it's just going to be too much packet contention to be productive.  Or perhaps we should all go back to 1200 baud modems...I still have my US Robotics one somewhere....

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