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At the beginning of 2015, we decided to showcase the Ubi at CES in Las Vegas. It was an expensive proposition that cost tens of thousands of dollars, flying multiple team members out to a venue, organizing schedules for who would attend a booth, paying for everything (a chair, carpet, a tablecloth, PR rep), and even worst — an exorbitant fee for Internet access. In fact, the rates and speeds harkened back to roaming mobile data circa 2002 (I remember checking out hotmail on a monochrome Nokia while in Israel).

We were demoing the Ubi and it was very sensitive to network latency. Each additional millisecond could add six milliseconds to the total trip time. By the end of the show, we had been using our roaming data as a hotspot because the Internet was so excruciatingly slow.

What surprised me is how easily an LTE network could still today be overwhelmed by a large number of people one spot. COMPUTEX served as an example of this and how quickly nodes could be overwhelmed. While bandwidth was ample, the ping time could exceed 500 ms. Even booths selling mobile hotspots had trouble connecting. Doing voice demos was impossible.

In addition, there were so many WiFi networks that my poor phone kept dropping. It was not a pretty situation.

I’m hopeful that some of the new WiFi node technology addresses these issues and that, maybe, 5G can help mitigate traffic congestion issues. When that fails, it means finding a quiet corner far away from other devices to do demos. Bring a battery!

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