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

Jay Ashworth jra at
Fri Sep 21 17:00:59 UTC 2012

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jo Rhett" <jrhett at>

> 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.

And this is pretty much precisely why I'm hammering the nail; there's 
*lots* of stuff that could -- and properly should -- be technology 
assisted at the world's largest gathering of science fiction enthusiasts.

> 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.

Assuming you can get close enough -- which won't be geographically 
practical for ... oh, wait; you're envisioning 3G, not WLAN.  Yeah,
I suppose that might work... until you consider that I will, personally,
be bringing both laptops, my tablet, and my phone, all of which want 
to talk to the outside world.  I would bet that I'm not all *that* 
unusual in that, at a Worldcon, based on some attendee conversations 
I've had at Anticipation and the much less well attended NASfic 10, 

A lot of this, too, depends on what the concom negotiated with the
property about wifi access already.

> 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.

Can I get 12000 sessions on a single LTE tower?

That's my benchmark for the moment, in the absence of real numbers.  :-)

Alas, this property has already just rebuilt it's wifi, I'm told. Course,
the con is in 2015, so they may rebuild *again* by then.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                  Baylink                       jra at
Designer                     The Things I Think                       RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates         2000 Land Rover DII
St Petersburg FL USA               #natog                      +1 727 647 1274

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