Internet Connectivity… plan A to F, plus a few more

I’ve not forgotten to post – I’ve just been busy undebacling a debacle.

Everyone loves fast Internets. Providing really fast Internets at tech•ed this year has provide to be a complete pain in the proverbial.

Give, and ye shall receive (unfortunately)

The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre has a permanent 100 meg service to Telstra Internet Direct. We know from last year that we were saturating the 100 meg service at the Sydney Convention Centre (we actually put on more bandwidth during the event) and so with that experience, and 2500 people wanting to download the lastest build of Chrome Vizact we know we’re in for a rough time if that is the only connectivity option available to us.

Our first port of call was obviously upgrading the service in the building. We learned however that that would require an infrastructure upgrade from Southport back to Brisbane. The original estimate for this was … lets just say well and truly out of our price range (we could have bought another 2500 netbooks, but we did manage to get it reduced significantly) however with the GFC and what not there is no way we could budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to ramp a 100 meg service up to a 500 meg service.

As luck would have it (or not as you will learn), On The Net has a dedicated DWDM fibre service in the City Pac building at 2 Miama Keys (next door, more or less). In the past few weeks we managed to do the following:

  • Gain an agreement from On The Net that we could use the service in the City Pac building and that they would provide a fully managed layer 2 service from there back to Pipe Network’s DC3 or DC2 in Brisbekistan. Once you’re in a Pipe facility your connectivity options are opened up considerably as they’re telco neutral.
  • Gain approval from Gold Coast City Council together with an affordable cabling estimate for us to run temporary fibre from the convention centre, across the bridge that connects T.E. Peter’s Drive to the little island to the left of the convention centre, and then hop off that onto a council light pole and into City Pac.
  • Over The Wire then organised temporary upgrades with connectivity for the Australian Partner Conference and then a burst up to 300 mbps for the duration of tech•ed. Brent Paddon from Over The Wire had even orgnised some temporary upgrades on the Brisbane to Sydney intercapital link from one of their upstream providers for us.
  • We received a verbal agreement from City Pac for access to their MDF and data centre.

“Sounds Great!” I hear you say … “What could possibly go wrong?”

City Pac went into receivership on the 31st of July.

I’ve spent the last week grovelling to the morticians at PPB Receivers who are doing the wind up (nice folk, Receivers … not). We’ve tried everything including offering to rent the space, providing an indemnification from Microsoft. David Haysom even tried to get a call set up between Gianpaolo Carraro (Microsoft’s DPE Director) and the CEO/MD of PPB – no dice. They just want to put the place on the market.

It is an understatement to say that I am annoyed that the team had the entire shooting match organised and we’ve come unstuck at the door to an MDF across the road from the convention centre.

Where to now?

I’ve spent pretty much the last ten days with a phone stuck to my head and talked with everyone with an Internet we can use. A number of options have surfaced, two of which are reasonably firm committments from a supplier that we can do 400mbps microwave from the comms deck at the convention centre to here:

Corporate Centre 1 as seen from the Gold Coast Convention Centre communications deck

Corporate Centre 1 as seen from the Gold Coast Convention Centre communications deck.

We’d jump onto the roof of that place, then do another microwave link across to Royal Pines. The other plan is we do more or less the same thing to get to Austar’s building. Both of those facilities can provide the fibre back to Brisbane.

There is a final terrestrial option that we are exploring in the next few days and I’d really like to see that come to fruition over using a radio solution. I’ll post an update if we manage to pull that off.

If we do end up with a radio solution to get the extra bandwidth, knowing our luck of late we’ll end up with a freak dust storm/storm/aliens attacking during the show.

The fallback scenario is of course the Telstra Internet Direct service that is already there – and that is not a bad outcome however it might mean congestion at peak break times.

Anyway, we have plans hatching and I’m sure we’ll be able to pull something off.

We’ve not been defeated at a tech•ed yet … though this one is trying my patience.

we shall fight on the comms deck,  we shall fight in the IDFs and in the MDFs, we shall fight in the data centres; we shall never surrender.

we shall fight on the comms deck, we shall fight in the IDFs and in the MDFs, we shall fight in the data centres; we shall never surrender.

  1. lets just say there’s lots more on internet connectivity to come 🙂

  2. I’ll make sure I have my tethered iPhone then just in case.

  3. oh… but you’re assuming good uncongested 3G access.. 🙂 i can confirm the place is wired for 3G, wireless technology is still wireless 🙂

  4. Yes, couple of thousand people with mobile phones and wireless laptops…will we need radiation badges??