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IETF Attendees Reengineer Their Hotel's Wi-Fi Net

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the better-than-legionnaires-disease dept.

Wireless Networking 120

alphadogg writes "What happens when a bunch of IETF super nerds show up in Paris for a major conference and discover their hotel's Wi-Fi network has imploded? They give it an Extreme Wi-Fi Makeover. Members of the Internet Engineering Task Force, who gathered for the outfit's 83rd meeting this week in France, discovered as they arrived at the Hotel Concorde Lafayette that the Wi-Fi was flakey and became flakier still as scores more attendees arrived and tried to connect, and the wired net was having issues of its own. Working behind the scenes, a team of IETF attendees negotiated with the hotel and were granted access to the wireless network, and began rigging up all sorts of fixes, which even included taping a Nexus S phone to a ceiling and turning off the radios on numerous access points to reduce noise."

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120 comments

the phone (3, Funny)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#39509733)

Someone please explain the usefulness of taping a phone to the ceiling to me.

Re:the phone (5, Informative)

AntmanGX (927781) | about 2 years ago | (#39509801)

"There was no WiFi signal when on the desk in front of the window in my room, but after some experiments, I discovered that the signal was quite good... on the ceiling of the bathroom," emailed Marc Petit-Huguenin.

"I have a Nexus S phone, so I taped it on the ceiling of the bathroom, and used tethering over Bluetooth to bridge the gap to the desk," he explained. This is a slow connection, but good enough to send emails over SMTP or use vi [the popular Unix text editor] over SSH."

FTA

Re:the phone (4, Informative)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 2 years ago | (#39510169)

In other words, it was a short fix so he could get initial wireless access to the network from his own computer so that they could get in an poke around some more. They did not deploy smartphones around the whole hotel as a permanent solution. I think the whole Smartphone thing was played up to make the article seem more appealing, but after he did that it looks like they used more mundane, standard approaches to tune and adjust the network to get it running to spec.

Re:the phone (2)

phorm (591458) | about 2 years ago | (#39513377)

Why not just use a repeater instead? Maybe not as much geek-cool factor, but faster and less of a PITA.

Re:the phone (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#39513965)

Because they didn't have a repeater in their pocket?

Re:the phone (3, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 2 years ago | (#39514267)

There were too many active radios, and the spectrum was too crowded. They even switched to a four-channel layout instead of the three-channel. (We informally use a five-channel model in my apartment building, what with all the various tennants' APs and routers finding the least crowded piece of spectrum in their immediate area.

Re:the phone (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39513271)

That is some real MacGuyver networking there. I can picture Richard Dean Anderson saying, "I need some duct tape and a cell phone!"

Re:the phone (1)

schitso (2541028) | about 2 years ago | (#39509831)

FTFA:
"'There was no WiFi signal when on the desk in front of the window in my room, but after some experiments, I discovered that the signal was quite good... on the ceiling of the bathroom,' emailed Marc Petit-Huguenin.

'I have a Nexus S phone, so I taped it on the ceiling of the bathroom, and used tethering over Bluetooth to bridge the gap to the desk,' he explained. This is a slow connection, but good enough to send emails over SMTP or use vi [the popular Unix text editor] over SSH."

Re:the phone (5, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#39509955)

Someone please explain the usefulness of taping a phone to the ceiling to me.

It's part of the IPv7 protocol. Don't worry, you'll see them release a paper next week on it...and I'm sure industry will get right on implementing that...sometime in 2037.

In other news, it was reported that part of the re-engineering of this Wi-Fi network was implementing IPv6...unfortunately, they could find no one outside of the IETF super nerds who knew what the hell it was for...

Re:the phone (3, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#39510495)

Someone please explain the usefulness of taping a phone to the ceiling to me.

It's part of the IPv7 protocol. Don't worry, you'll see them release a paper next week on it...and I'm sure industry will get right on implementing that...sometime in 2037.

Obviously in 2037 we have to tape our phones to the ceiling when we wear our pockets inside-out.

Re:the phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39510767)

Nicely played bttf2 reference

Re:the phone (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#39510769)

This will coincide nicely with the revival of the fashion of wearing an onion on your belt.

Re:the phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39513251)

Those big yellow ones?

No, the purple ones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39514533)

Only horse thieves and bootleggers from Missoura wear the yellow ones.

Re:the phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516299)

Woah, they've gotten IPv7 working? I'm worried about the paranormal aspects. http://www.google.com/search?q=IPv7&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=blO&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=IPv7+lain&oq=IPv7+lain&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=serp.3...12846l16345l0l16546l9l8l1l0l0l1l124l723l6j2l9l0.frgbld.&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=1d5c249636b87e94&biw=1706&bih=942

Re:the phone (5, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#39509967)

Oh come on, why does it have to be useful? The hotel let us do it! (I'm guessing that it had a USB ethernet dongle, but I wasn't there, so I don't know for sure.)

I feel very fortunate that a majority of my business travel is to IETF meetings, because this is the only time that I ever experience functional internet in a hotel. It can be pretty fantastic--in Hiroshima, the WIDE team rewired _all_ of the IETF hotels, which is about five different hotels. In almost every IETF since Seoul, the IETF NOC has provided the connectivity for the conference hotel for the duration of the conference, and the connectivity has been excellent.

It's too bad that hotels can't afford to pay IETF geeks to fix their connections on a more general basis, and that there isn't a commercial provider that's able to provide a similar level of service for a price hotels can afford. Sometimes I think we ought to have an independent hotel WiFi rating service, so that hotels would have to actually compete on the basis of the quality of their Internet service.

Re:the phone (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#39511167)

Having all hotels provide connectivity suitable for a LARGE group of internet junkies is financially stupid.

Most hotels have adequate coverage for their normal guest load, so they use the cheapest provider capable of providing that adequate coverage.

No other event in the hotel is going to require the connectivity perfection that an IETF conference is going to require, its a waste of money for them to engineer and build out an IETF compatible network. Its far simpler to get some joe the plumber from the PCGuys Shop down the street to throw in a DSL line and enough APs that no one bitches, and for the most part, works just fine.

Not every hotel NEEDS that kind of connectivity. For instance the hotel I went to for my wedding had absolutely shitty connectivity and if you asked they would politely respond, aren't you here for your wedding sir? And they were right :) Disney has absolutely shitty connectivity and their response is rather atypical for Disney in that it is intentionally bad, you're not supposed to be dicking around on the Internet at Disney.

They also don't need to pay for DS3 or so of bandwidth for the hotel if it isn't filled with bandwidth hogs (which I actually doubt the IETF are, probably the opposite but just making a point.)

Re:the phone (2)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39512025)

Bah. There is other technology than DS3s for high-speed internet, many of which are much cheaper.

If you can't get a 50mbps connection for your hotel, for less than the cable bill, than you are doing it wrong.

The last thing anyone wants, in this day and age, is some cheap ass hotel trying to serve over a hundred customers with an ADSL connection.

Re:the phone (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 2 years ago | (#39512179)

If you know some trick to get 50mbps to an arbitrary location for less than a cable bill, I'd absolutely love to hear it.

Re:the phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39512717)

A hotel gets a cable bill and you get a cable bill. The numbers are different though. Regarding the argument that a hotel should provide more bandwidth: The TV usually provides some revenue (via pay-per-view). Free Wifi doesn't. If it's too good, it will be used for VoIP and then it eats into the phone bill. Wifi just needs to be "good enough" that you can put it on the list of amenities.

Re:the phone (1)

jmauro (32523) | about 2 years ago | (#39513583)

At this point cell phones have pretty much killed charges for room charges from the phone. I don't think I've used a phone in a room in like 15 years.

Having bad WiFi is one of the things that can drive business customers from staying there, and business customers are usually the most profitable customers for a hotel.

Re:the phone (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 2 years ago | (#39514301)

Where there's a hotel capable with 500 rooms, there's likely to be a cable ISP within easy reach. The larger the hotel, the more cheap bandwidth is geographically handy.

Re:the phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39513717)

If you had RTFA you would know that coverage wasn't the big issue. It was poor network planning. They had too much equipment in too little space with poor frequency planning. The Hotel payed for more equipment then they needed which provided worse performance then less equipment with better planning.

Re:the phone (2)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#39510063)

Someone please explain the usefulness of taping a phone to the ceiling to me.

It is there to hide it from Inspecteur Clouseau!

Re:the phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511075)

Talking to God?

This Just In! (2)

nemui-chan (550759) | about 2 years ago | (#39509777)

Nerds get together and do nerdy stuff en masse!

Re:This Just In! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#39509959)

Nerds get together and do nerdy stuff en masse!

At least they weren't genetic engineers.

(a get-together of plastic surgeons, on the other hand...)

Re:This Just In! (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39513295)

Nerds get together and do nerdy stuff en masse!

Ah, that explains all those dudes at the park dressed up in medieval garb and why I got hit in the head with a beanbag.

Nexus S phone??? (0, Flamebait)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#39509779)

I am a fan of the samsung line of android smartphones, but using a high-end smartphone is one of the most expensive options for a wifi router that I've ever heard of.

I don't see many hotels running with that solution.

Re: Nexus S phone??? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39509945)

you are a fscking idiot.

Re: Nexus S phone??? (1)

yincrash (854885) | about 2 years ago | (#39509957)

It was just for one guest who realized he had great wifi reception on his bathroom ceiling and used the nexus S to bluetooth tether to his laptop.

Re: Nexus S phone??? (2)

metalgamer84 (1916754) | about 2 years ago | (#39509989)

Read the article before posting to keep yourself from looking like an idiot next time.

Re: Nexus S phone??? (3, Insightful)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#39510097)

Or maybe the summarirs could actually summarize the article instead of doing shitty local news teases?

Re: Nexus S phone??? (3, Informative)

DroolTwist (1357725) | about 2 years ago | (#39510265)

Or.. maybe you could RTFA. The summaries are to give enough information to let you decide if you are interested in reading the article. If the summary is going to cover every single detail, they may as well just paste the entire article in the summary section, and do away with the links.

Re: Nexus S phone??? (5, Funny)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#39510551)

You know, you could have politely pointed out my error like yincrash did above, but chose not to. Now I'm going to have to get medieval on your ass. When dealing with the pain, please remember you brought this on yourself.

Whilst thine contention that I readeth not the article is in good sooth, thine attitude lacketh charm and grace.
Prithee consider the comeliness of thine words, lest good folk consider thee knavish.
Thou art an embossed carbuncle.

Re: Nexus S phone??? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39513317)

That has to be the most literal interpretation of "get medieval" I've seen anywhere.

Pray, sir, that you may accepteth my earnest compliments on thine craft of the Anglo script!

Re: Nexus S phone??? (2)

slshwtw (1903272) | about 2 years ago | (#39516075)

"thine contention" / "thine attitude" / "thine words" - should all be "thy"
"thy" = "your", "thine" = "yours"

"I readeth not" = wrong tense, I think you want "I didst not read"


- archaic grammar nazi

Re: Nexus S phone??? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#39510027)

I am a fan of the samsung line of android smartphones, but using a high-end smartphone is one of the most expensive options for a wifi router that I've ever heard of.

I don't see many hotels running with that solution.

You should look at the price of Cisco AP's - you can easily pay more than the price of an unlocked Nexus for a single AP. (but it's a lot more capable as an AP than the phone)

Summer blockbuster? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39509841)

Can't wait until Micheal Bay directs a movie about this.

IETF Agents struggle to defend paris against an onsluaght of transforming alien turtles and explosions

Re:Summer blockbuster? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#39510141)

Can't wait until Micheal Bay directs a movie about this...

Why? Are there massive explosions and car chases when you configure your AP? If so, you might be doing it wrong.

Re:Summer blockbuster? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#39510507)

Can't wait until Micheal Bay directs a movie about this...

Why? Are there massive explosions and car chases when you configure your AP? If so, you might be doing it wrong.

Or very very right, depending on how you look at it. Seriously, if you can get your AP to explode, literally, just by configuring it, I would be impressed.

Re:Summer blockbuster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39513431)

that only happens if google's self-driving cars are using the wifi connection to triangulate for their navigation....

Re:Summer blockbuster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511917)

It brings a whole new dimension to the term "wardriving".

So now I know (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39509979)

Where the fucking network kludges I have to unfuck come from. FOSS-tard dumb asses.

Jury Rigged WiFi (0)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#39510065)

So these nerds Jury Rigged the WiFi in the motel, and when they are gone, the whole network collapses.

Re:Jury Rigged WiFi (5, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | about 2 years ago | (#39510187)

I don't know if what they did qualifies as jury-rigged. They basically mapped out the entire network and assigned RF channels and power levels so that adjacent floors would not interfere with each other. Seems like whoever installed it before just threw up an access point in every other room and left it on full power. What the IETF guys are doing is certainly not totally optimized yet but it's a big improvement over what was there before.

Re:Jury Rigged WiFi (2)

chelliot (2606649) | about 2 years ago | (#39517785)

We will remove the connection to their uplink, so performance will go down when we leave. However, they are keeping our configuration changes, so I expect the performance to still be significantly better than it was before we arrived.
Chris.

Oh, so it's not just San Francisco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39510067)

The Wi-Fi at my hotel for GDC last month was unusable. These places need to step it up if they're going to partner with tech-oriented conferences like these.

I have been in hotels with a cable co wifi modem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39510087)

I have been in hotels with a cable co wifi modem in the room (good as I needed to reboot it aka unplug and replug to get it working)

Re-engineer? Um, no (-1, Flamebait)

wealthychef (584778) | about 2 years ago | (#39510145)

Engineering might be putting that a bit kindly. This isn't really engineering... What these guys did sounds like flailing around using educated guesses --- oh, wait.

Please explain (2)

pesho (843750) | about 2 years ago | (#39510181)

Can somebody explain to me why did these guys go to this conference? In my experience there are two reasons to go to a conference:

1. Business - meet people learn new things

2. Pleasure - screw the talks and go skying

This conference is in Paris of all places and if they don't care about the place and the talks why the hell did they go there. I am pretty sure every single one of the participants has better internet connection at home.

Re:Please explain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39510555)

Because those guys have jobs and need to be able to access the network at those jobs. If you'd read the article you would know that they were reengineering the network specifically so that their VPN connections wouldn't drop constantly.

Re:Please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511259)

2. Pleasure - screw the talks and go skying

Don't you mean "screw other attendees"?

Re:Please explain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39513809)

It was an IT conference. There were no humans identifiable as female present, except for the terrified hotel staff who had to face hordes of raging nerds, each of whom was trying to out-impress the cute lady at the hotel concierge desk. That being said, there quite possibly was still some "screwing of the other attendees" going on, since they were bored and internet was down, but who are any of us to judge?

Wheres the Beef?? (-1, Flamebait)

tgatliff (311583) | about 2 years ago | (#39510189)

The article made it seem like they re-designed the network. I mean if this is the best IETF can muster, then that is just plain sad... All they appeared to do was reduce broadcast sensitivity, and forced channel selection. Heck, they didn't even use basic tools that any network technician would have on his truck for doing basic diagnosis. WOW!! AMAZING WORK "SUPER GEEKS" !!!!

Suggestion to the Hotel... Instead of relying on a bunch of guys with flashy badges talking endlessly about how smart they are, why not just hire a network consulting firm to do a generic network topography and build out the network correctly? The stuff is not rocket science... And the best part that the company can actually support the setup later when you need support. I am guessing that will be a little difficult for a bunch of guys who "kind of" know what they are talking about..

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (5, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#39510455)

"Suggestion to the Hotel... Instead of relying on a bunch of guys with flashy badges talking endlessly about how smart they are, why not just hire a network consulting firm to do a generic network topography and build out the network correctly?"

Because they are a Hotel, and don't give a shit if their network is flaky. They have been using Microsoft products for more than a decade, so when things sometimes work and sometimes don't, then that is just them darn computers behaving flaky as always.

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 years ago | (#39510491)

You know those 802.11 wireless standards implemented in just about every wireless network device in the world? These guys wrote them. Literally. Rest assured they understand what they're doing.

You have a point about future support, but characterizing them as just a bunch of guys with badges who barely have a clue makes you seem ignorant.

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39513723)

You know those 802.11 wireless standards implemented in just about every wireless network device in the world? These guys wrote them. Literally. Rest assured they understand what they're doing.

You Seem to be confusing the IETF with the IEEE...

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39514185)

they seem to work together on that :
www.google.com/search?q=IEEE+802.11+Liaison+Report

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#39510573)

Suggestion to the Hotel... Instead of relying on a bunch of guys with flashy badges talking endlessly about how smart they are, why not just hire a network consulting firm to do a generic network topography and build out the network correctly? The stuff is not rocket science...

That is what they did.. but as we all know.. while it's not rocket science.. there are a lot of "network consulting firm"s that can't do it.

and while some of it was guessing - remember that this isn't "their" network.. and they had no working set to start with and no idea where some of these AP's where.. and again.. it wasn't their job or reason for being there.

in hind site they might want to think about going the way of defcon and bring in their own network to their next get together.

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511339)

No, these guys are really, really good. They know what they are doing, and have been doing it, successfully, for several years. For several years before that, we didn't do so well. These guys have all the tools, and mostly, the experience. They can do it quick, and work within the constraints of the existing system. A regular network consulting company would take a couple of weeks, do a poorer job, insist a lot of new equipment is needed and charge an arm and a leg, which is why the hotel didn't do it. In a few hours they mapped the network, analyzed the configuration, designed a new plan, deployed it, tested it, and made it work. They did it on a product line they had not dealt with before. It was very impressive.

The actual fun issue is: they logged all the original state. They have a tool that maintains the entire configuration. They can leave it in one of two conditions: exactly the way it was before they changed everything, or in the state it is now. The hotel can make that choice.

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39513655)

These IETF dudes sound like the A-Team of IT. They just roll into town, unfuck the network, and are gone just as mysteriously.

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#39516431)

These IETF dudes sound like the A-Team of IT. They just roll into town, unfuck the network, and are gone just as mysteriously.

I wish they'd roll into ICANN and do the same.

Re:Wheres the Beef?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511821)

"The stuff is not rocket science..."

Apples to apples, please. If I could, I'd be well on my way toward a certification in rocket science as well.

Beef (2)

gottabeme (590848) | about 2 years ago | (#39513883)

The changes made by the IETF makeover team included:

- Decreasing the AP receiver sensitivity ([changing] HP/Colubris configuration "distance" from "large" to "small");

- Increasing the minimum data and multicast rate from 1Mbps to 2Mbps;

- Decreasing the transmit power from 20dBm to 10dBm;

- And, turning off the radios on numerous APs to reduce the [RF] noise.

"In the process, we've hacked netdisco [a network management tool that maps MAC addresses to IP addresses to pinpoint switch ports] to be able to discover the hotel infrastructure and rancid [a free tool that monitors a device's configurations and maintains a history of changes in a Concurrent Version System (CVS) repository] to be able to at least minimally work with HP/Colubris APs, and added their private subnet to our management station to facilitate discovery, scripted changes, and monitoring," Elliott wrote, describing something close to a NOC trouble-shooting system put together on the fly.

Lower power (5, Interesting)

ai4px (1244212) | about 2 years ago | (#39510263)

I like what I've read in the article so far. One of the mantras of ham radio is use as little power as possible to communicate. I love that these guys were smart enough to turn off some access points entirely, to reduce receiver sensitivity and transmitter power. It seems they reduced the number of access points to 3... one for each non-overlapping channel. Great!

Re:Lower power (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39510617)

"It's a 2.4Ghz infrastructure in a highly 3D and rather radio transparent environment -- where the three non-overlapping channels [all that are possible in that band] are a real problem."

They're in Paris. There are four non-overlapping channels in Europe: 1, 5, 9 and 13. While it is customary to use 1, 6 and 11, especially in settings where international visitors are expected, if the network really needs 4 channels, they are available and should be used.

The proper way to fix the Wifi in multi-story buildings is with directional antennas, to reduce the 3D problem to multiple 2D problems.

Re:Lower power (5, Informative)

chefmonkey (140671) | about 2 years ago | (#39511775)

And that's ultimately what Chris did: we're now operating on four channels. Well, six, actually -- some of the APs could operate in the 5 GHz spectrum, so rather than leaving them off, they were re-purposed for the equipment that could use them (which offloads all the Macs and iPads from the 2.4 GHz spectrum, bringing the noise floor down). So now, running down one side of the building, we have 1, 5, 9 and 13; and then on the other side, 13, 9, 5, and 1. The APs on the tips of the building (it's shaped like an American football in horizontal cross-section) are on the 5GHz channels 40 and 44. The pattern is reversed for every other floor, to provide as much vertical spacing as possible.

This should help you visualize the layout: http://www.ietf.org/proceedings/83/slides/slides-83-iesg-11-ietf-operations-and-administration-plenary.pdf [ietf.org]

Keep in mind also that the APs, when we showed up, were turned up all the way up. Look at the diagrams, and keep in mind that these are small rooms (the building is maybe 150 feet wide along its longer axis), and you begin to see how the deployment failure was pretty complete before we got here.

Of course, we didn't show up with 300 directional antennas to fix the APs themselves. All we could do is change their configuration. The change has been dramatic.

Re:Lower power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39512267)

we didn't show up with 300 directional antennas to fix the APs themselves

Not you, of course. I meant to preempt the notion that WLAN technology can't be any good if IETF guys can't fix the WLAN in a way that provides connectivity to everyone.

The switch to 4 channels is mentioned later in the article. I was surprised by the earlier rather absolute assertion that 3 is "all that are possible in that band". Stopped reading to comment, continued reading. I guess you guys are not complete idiots after all ;)

Re:Lower power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511817)

also the Europeans can't magically increase bandwidth - so there are also only 3 non-overlapping channels but in this environment it seemed to be reasonable to choose 4 partially overlapping channels risking somewhat higher interference which is possible in case the tx power is reduced ... pure basic radio engineering works!

Re:Lower power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511941)

There are 4 practically non-overlapping channels because there are 2 more channels in Europe. American Wifi goes to 11, European Wifi goes to 13! The channels are not hard limited at +-11MHz from the center frequency. Even 1,6,11 has overlap. The interference with 1,5,9,13 is not much worse, especially when the access points are not close to eachother.

Re:Lower power (1)

ai4px (1244212) | about 2 years ago | (#39512585)

About converting the 3d problem into multiple 2d problems by using high gain antennas is abso-freaking-lutly a good solution. I've always pictured an isotropic radiator as a balloon in my head. If you add gain, you squish the balloon in one axis and it expands out all around perpendicular to that axis. Zero signal straight off the tip of the antenna. Ideally a high gain antenna would radiate out 360 in a plane and APs on adjacent floors would not hear each other. They could also make sure the APs were in stacked directly on top of each other on the various floors.

Re:Lower power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516275)

Actually, there are not four non overlapping channels. 1 6 11 do not overlap. If you change to 1 5 9 13, you get overlap. It is better in most environments to use 1 6 11. If you only have European clients, use 1 7 13. Assuming no one using your network bought their hardware anywhere else in the world.

Re:Lower power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516463)

It depends: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NonOverlappingChannels2.4GHzWLAN-en.svg
Are you still using 802.11b or do you turn that off because slow clients slow the whole network down?
Either way there is still interference, but with 802.11g/n, the actual channels do not overlap. There's also interference when you use 1,6,11, because there is no sharp signal cutoff at the channel edges.

If you don't need 4 channels, it's usually better to use 1,6,11, even if you could use 1,7,13, because some devices sold in Europe don't have support for the extra channels and some devices which could use these channels are misconfigured not to.

Re:Lower power (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | about 2 years ago | (#39516803)

Never mind the spec; 1, 6, and 11 do overlap (albeit only slightly) in real life. Go buy a 2.4 GHz spectrum analyzer, bring up three APs on those three channels, and see for yourself what the power curve is.

toney (2)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#39511227)

" they arrived at the toney Hotel Concorde Lafayette"

Do you mean "tony" as in "upscale and/or fashionable"?

Re:toney (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#39511431)

Regardless of what they meant, the Hotel Concorde Lafayette ain't it.

Re:toney (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | about 2 years ago | (#39511855)

Yeah, it's kind of an overpriced crap pit with chronic theft problems in which the staff appear to be complicit (if not the actual perpetrators). But that wasn't really the main thrust of the article. :)

Happens all the time (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#39511417)

The IETF basically re-engineers the Hotel's network every place they meet. The big difference is, sometimes they get permission to do this before the meeting, and sometimes (as here in Paris), they don't get this permission until after the Hotel's network melts down.

(By the way, I am at the meeting, and I heard that the Hotel's IT head has now been fired. This is not too surprising when one of the major fixes was to turn off
the majority of the access points.)

But but.... (3, Interesting)

Dareth (47614) | about 2 years ago | (#39513117)

Nobody ever got fired for listening to a vendor. They all have your needs and best interest at heart when they quote you the bare minimum you absolutely need to buy.

Re:Happens all the time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39513469)

The access points have been turned back on, but on different channels. The transmit power has been upped to the default value again as well. In the end the best result came from just changing the channels: http://www.ietf.org/proceedings/83/slides/slides-83-iesg-11-ietf-operations-and-administration-plenary.pdf

If the hotel fired the IT guy because he had not provided them with as good a network configuration as a hotel full of IETF engineers did, I think they're going to be surprised when they hear what kind of salary a top notch network specialist can command in Paris. (Their first attempt even made things worse for some attendants! Getting Wifi right for a lot of heavy users is not easy.)

Extreme Wifi Makeover (5, Interesting)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | about 2 years ago | (#39511555)

I would so watch that show! Every week, they take us to a company to look over their pathetic network and re-do it properly and with moar power. I can see it now...the teary-eyed IT manager is brought in to see his new network...it'd be like Bob Vila for geeks.

Re:Extreme Wifi Makeover (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39512699)

I would so watch that show! Every week, they take us to a company to look over their pathetic network and re-do it properly and with moar power. I can see it now...the teary-eyed IT manager is brought in to see his new network...it'd be like Bob Vila for geeks.

Wrong. The Teary-eyed IT manager is fired. And the ensuing publicity is enough to blacklist him for some time.

Not a systemic problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39511809)

I recently stayed in some hotels in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia - Hotel Istana, Park Royal to name a few. The wifi was perfect in all areas of the room, in the buffet area and most areas of the lobby. I'm highlighting this so that people don't think all hotels suffer this problem.
When I was at breakfast, many people had laptops and smart phones, so there was a fair amount of taxing of wifi bandwidth. I recall a few couples streaming video over the web, which sounded fine (I couldn't see the image).

83rd meeting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39512385)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 'Internet' hasn't been around for 83 years. So, how many meetings per year are needed?

Re:83rd meeting? (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | about 2 years ago | (#39516821)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 'Internet' hasn't been around for 83 years. So, how many meetings per year are needed?

In the early days, it was less regimented, and sometimes as frequently as 4 times a year. For the past few decades, it's been a pretty steady spring/summer/fall meeting schedule.

And in a related story... (1)

sfhock (1308629) | about 2 years ago | (#39513027)

a team of IETF engineers who were granted access to the Hotel Concorde Lafayette's Wi-Fi network received complementary hookers and champagne, and had all of their room charges dropped. Some of the hookers who could be reached for comment called the IETF engineers "extraordinarily poor tippers".

This is unusual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39514735)

In my early days of contracting I was staying at a cheap hotel where the owner lost his system and the back-ups. I negotiated payment in beer and did a forensic recovery.....

Doesn't everybody?

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