the economies of scale of a Worldcon, and how to make this topic relevant to Nanog

Jo Rhett jrhett at
Thu Sep 20 19:03:24 UTC 2012

In a message Jay had apparently forwarded from offlist (or I missed the original) Rick said:
> From: "Rick Alfvin" <ralfvin at>
> Verilan is the exclusive network services provider for NANOG, IEEE
> 802, IETF, ICANN, ZigBee Alliance, MAAWG, OIF, GENIVI, Tizen and many
> other technical organizations. We deploy large temporary networks to
> provide high density WI-Fi for meetings, events and conferences all
> over the world where Internet connectivity is mission critical to the
> success of the event.

This points out another significant facter to why network isn't part of what's negotiated here. Internet is *not* considered mission critical by most attendees. Cheaper hotel rooms, adequate facilities, and inexpensive food nearby are the top three items Worldcon attendees complain about. So it's not going to be on the top of things to focus on.  (and why this topic as it is being discussed is not relevant to this list)

Those of us who feel Internet access is mission critical carry LTE network devices or make other arrangements. Obviously the growth of smartphones and tablets is starting to change that equation, but at the moment none of the Worldcons have done a very good job of providing useful online interaction so there's no actual use for onsite data related to the conference itself. Obviously I would love to see this change.

For those who care about the economics of Worldcons, the following post is from a person deeply involved in the organization which holds the rights and trademarks for Worldcon. (Think Olympic Site Selection Committee, except they don't select the locations -- the members do)  He covers a lot of the topics about why Worldcons are so very, very different from any of the conferences listed above, and why the economics of scale these conventions have don't work:

Now, if we want to make this topic relevant to Nanog, the operative question is the feasability of a data provider putting good wireless gear near these facilities and selling data access to attendees. For a useful comparison, the 2010 Worldcon in Melbourne had an expensive wifi service in the building that kept falling over. A cell provider across the street put up banners advertising cheap data service, and put people on the sidewalk in from of the convention selling pay as you go SIM cards with data service. They made brisk business.  *THIS* is where us network operators can provide good networking service to a large facility, and pretty much kill the expensive data plans operated by the facility.

Instead of building up and tearing down a network for each convention, put an LTE tower near the facility and sell to every group that uses the convention center.

Jo Rhett
Net Consonance : net philanthropy to improve open source and internet projects.

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