Wi-Fi Issues And Bandwith Hogs Plague CES 2011


It happens every year, no matter how hard CES organizers prepare. Inevitably, Wi-Fi signals in those crowded press lounges and conference rooms disappear or slow down to a snail's crawl. And this year is no different, even though it appears the Consumer Electronics Association made a sincere effort to meet the growing demand this year.

ShadowRAM heard a CES official said the show's organizers tripled the number of wireless access points for the press lounges this year, hoping it would help keep all those weary journalists and bloggers connected. But of course, it didn't; the press room's Wi-Fi collapsed more than once on the first day.

And it wasn't just the press that was affected by Wi-Fi issues: during Nvidia's press conference Wednesday, president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang attempted not one but two demonstrating using Wi-Fi – only to discover that there simply wasn't enough available bandwith.
Prior to the start of Nvidia's press conference, the PA announcer asked all press attendees to turn off their wireless card – an unreasonable request, sure, since it's a little like telling kids at a petting zoo not to feed the animals.

But it was still embarrassing when Huang attempted to show a Flash application running on a Tegra 2 powered LG Optimus 2X and politely asked the audience to stop hogging the Wi-Fi so he could run the app. It didn't look like many folks complied with the request, since Huang gave up after a few tries.

But it got worse when Huang brought Manrique Brenes, director of platform management at Skype, on stage to demonstrate Skype video conferencing on Tegra 2-powered tablets, but abruptly shut down the demonstration when it was clear there was no bandwith to be had.

While obviously frustrating, Huang kept his sense of humor, jokingly (we think) saying "You guys suck" to the bandwith hogs in the audience.

While more access points could have helped the situations, ShadowRAM suspects that folks here at the show are doing more than just e-mail over the strained Wi-Fi connections. Clearly, the signals are too weak to keep up with all the bandwith-intensive tasks people engage in on their mobile devices.