Back to connectivity

Well then, that’s me almost back to connectivity.

I’m not sure what it is about Barcelona — whenever I find myself needing an internet connection, there’s usually some kind of impediment in the way.

This year I shared an apartment with Ben Smith of Wireless Worker. Ben located the flat a few months back after some genius searches through an array of semi-useless apartment rental sites. We went back and forth, expending far too much time trying to decide on the best place to choose.

With every search, we specifically checked the ‘broadband’ or ‘internet’ option.

You can guess what happened when we arrived in Barcelona. Aye. Flipping annoying. We arrived at the apartment to find no internet.

Ben did his best possible Englishman-Abroad (i.e. talk LOUDLY) accent and asked the chap who had let us into the apartment where the internet was.

The guy explained that he would bring it along in an hour.


He turned up with a Vodafone broadband USB stick.

This was ‘internet’.

But it wasn’t what we needed.

Our problem was not quite understanding the definition of internet. We’d assumed the place would have had wired super-fast broadband.

So if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen much from Mobile World Congress here on Mobile Industry Review this week, it’s quite straight forward: I couldn’t get the data up.

I’ve got pots of videos. I reckon I generated about 200 gigabytes of data this week on the big camera and on the little handheld.

You’ll have seen one or two videos I’ve managed to get live — thanks to Cisco, by the way (more on that below). But it was simply unrealistic to try uploading 200-300mb videos using the Vodafone broadband stick supplied by the apartment.

It didn’t take long for Vodafone Spain to recognise that Ben and I were hammering the USB stick just through normal usage and within a few days, the stick had reduced down to delivering a few kilobytes of connectivity at 2G level. Instead of cutting you off, they just screw your speed down to nothing. Fair enough.

There were 60,000 people at Mobile World Congress this week. I reckon most of them had at least two WiFi capable handsets not to mention the obligatory laptop. So finding a working fixed-line connection to knock up the videos to the web was, predictably, a bit of an arse.

Our trick — it was Ben’s idea — was to go and sit in the lunch place in Hall 5. This is an on-site restaurant that charges you €35 a pop for a 3-course lunch every day of the congress. Luckily if you hold a press badge, you get to eat free. And there’s as much Coke Zero as you want.

The good point here is that Cisco had wired the place up — and since everyone else was busy eating, hardly anyone bothered connecting in this zone.

This was how I managed to get the BlackBerry videos I’d taken over to Kevin at CrackBerry. I was uploading directly to the CrackBerry Youtube account for speed as Kevin needed the videos live for the North American morning. And goodness me Cisco, you rocked.

I uploaded 160mb (4 individual videos) to Youtube in about 4 minutes.

Literally it was taking me longer to type out the brief descriptions for the videos, the connection was working so fast.

Sadly by day two, some other WiFi refugees from around the Congress had worked out that this area was virgin territory and the upload speed dropped significantly.

Still. Nice work there Cisco.

I’ve got a ton of video coming. Normally I would play it out over quite a few weeks but, you know what, I think it’s time to go nuts and get it all up as soon as I can. That’s what I’ll be doing when I get back to the super-dooper MIR Towers internet connection later today, tomorrow and across next week. Standby!

[Here’s my BlackBerry Booth Tour for CrackBerry]

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