One of the biggest complaints at conferences is the availability of a reliable and functional Wi-Fi network.
75 000 techies from around the world are expecting to converge on Mobile World Congress and each one of them will be carrying multiple devices and they are expecting a fully functional Wi-Fi network to log their many devices onto. That monumentous gauntlet has been set on the MWC team knowing that the event is after all all about connectivity and so it better deliver connectivity to its guests.
Taking on this challenge, Fira de Barcelona has deployed in the Gran Via venue 1200 Wi-Fi access points to cover the 240,000 m2 (gross) expo which will provide reliable internet connectivity to its 75,000 delegates that are expected to visit the event between February 24th and 27th of February 2014.
These 1200 Wi-Fi access points are supported with 14 kilometres of fibre optics and 52 kilometres of internet cable. This makes this network installation bigger than some international airports and sporting stadiums.
This massive cable and Wi-Fi network will have a capacity of 10,000 Mbps which is split into 5,000 Mbps upload and 5,000 Mbps download. To put this into perspective, technically if you had the entire line to yourself, you could download a 1 gigabyte file in around 1 minute 24 seconds give or take a few seconds.
These are strong fighting words and as the congress opens officially this network will be put to the biggest stress test to see how the theory stacks up verses real usage.
We can only pray that security has been a top priority along with speed. One hacker who manages to sniff that network traffic will have access to millions of bits of extremely valuable information.
Delegates who do use the Wi-Fi network need to remember that it is “public” and should ensure that they only use secure connections to their offices via VPN and no plain-text passwords should ever leave their devices.
Update 24 Feb 2014: Upon arrival at the event, the WiFi was working effectively however as soon the bulk of the visitors arrived, the WiFi network died and has been erratic ever since.