Wireless at PDC 2008

Update (10/28 12.30AM):  Make sure to use MSFTINET as SSID when connecting to wireless network. It is an open network (does not require key or password).

A few months ago, I “signed up” to be part of the PDC  virtual planning team and my role was to take care of wireless (802.11) experience for the several thousand PDC attendees. Given the geeky nature of the audience, it was a challenge that had to be taken very seriously.

So what does it mean for you, the PDC attendees? You can get to the wireless network and browse the internet from most locations within the Los Angeles Convention Center. “Most locations” means that you may not be able to browse from within the restroom 🙂 but you can at common locations like keynote room, internet cafes, lounges, breakout rooms where people congregate.

The keynote room was the biggest puzzle we had to solve. More than ever, many people use their laptops, smart phones and other internet enabled devices these days during conferences. Having several thousand people in one big room and every person using their array of devices, actually pushes the limit of physics to a greater extent.

In order for our attendees to have the best possible wireless experience at keynote, we realized a conventional wireless deployment may not work and we’re trying some innovative hardware and scaling it for “PDC level” experience. Infact, on the keynote this morning, we had more than doubled our usual capacity!!! I’ll blog more about it as the event progresses.

Also don’t forget to check out the mobile PDC experience at http://m.microsoftpdc.com/

Keep browsing!

Comments (7)

  1. John says:

    Microsoft PDC has done a great job on the Wi-Fi for the event.  I go to one event per month on average and have only experienced a trouble-free Wi-Fi network two other times — Interop 2007 and LinuxWorld 2008.  That Xirrus UFO may look different than the rest, but it also performs better than the rest.

  2. I don’t know where you put it.

  3. Mark says:

    Hey Girish,

    In your post above, you mentioned that’d you’d blog more about the wifi experience as the PDC event unfolded but I dont see anything after that.  How did it all pan out?  Very curious because I’m thinking of using the Xirrus wifi at another large conference next year.



  4. Many of you who were there at the PDC keynote room might have missed the UFO style devices (in the picture

  5. Girish Raja says:

    @Mark, Thanks for reminding me.

    I just published a summary of the wifi experience at PDC here http://blogs.msdn.com/girishr/archive/2008/12/06/pdc2008-sets-benchmark-for-wireless-connectivity.aspx. Xirrus did a good job at the conference.

  6. Many of you who were there at the PDC keynote room might have missed the UFO style devices (in the picture

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