How do you capture the excitement and activity of the largest conference for business technology professionals? A high-speed video.

Four students in the telecommunications and network management program at the School of Information Studies opened their May 5 presentation about the Interop 2010 conference in Las Vegas with a less than two-minute video. The frenetic paced video zoomed through the more than 350 exhibitors, including more than 50 who introduced new technologies or services during the five-day conference. The video summed up the students’ very full schedule of activities and exploration at the conference, as well as a little down time in Vegas.

“We had a phenomenal time out there,” said Benson Matthews, one of the four students who attended the interoperability in business technology conference. “It was awesome getting to know what the key networking technologies are and being part of this annual trade show for IT.”

Associate Professor Martha Garcia-Murillo, director of the M.S. in Telecommunications and Network Management program, said she was very excited that the iSchool was able to support the students’ trip and give them the experience of networking with these professionals. “They got to see industry trends firsthand and learn a little bit about the work environment they’ll be entering,” she said. “I think it’s so important to open up opportunities like this for our students to get off campus and make connections with people in the field.”

United Business Media (UBM), publisher of Network Computing magazine and owner of Interop, donated the four conference passes, each valued at $2,095, to enable the students to attend. The iSchool contributed funding for the airfare and three nights of hotel accommodations for the students.

The students–Matthews, Jay Bhansali, Ashutosh Bhatt, and Paridhi Nadarajan–reported back on some of the major themes or tracks available at the conference. Matthews covered the latest trends in networking and cloud computing. He highlighted the fact that networks have to change to support virtualization and experts predicted that networks will have to become flat. The cost savings, scalability, and performance benefits of cloud computing compete with the security challenges of Internet-based computing, Matthews reported.

Ashutosh Bhatt then discussed the virtualization and unified communications tracks. “The biggest problem about virtualization is security,” he said. He talked about TippingPoint Virtual Controller, which received the Best of Interop in the security category. Its integrated management capabilities enables IT staff to better monitor and protect virtual environments.

Jay Bhansali reported on major upgrades to mobile and wireless communications because of the 802.11n amendment to wireless local area network standards. The amendment adds multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and other new features to the wireless networks. He said many organizations are trying to decide what platform or platforms they will support in mobile and wireless technologies.

“Will they support all platforms—both Blackberries and iPhones?” Bhansali asked. “Or should they support only one platform?” He also discussed the challenge of bridging wired and wireless technologies and the need for a unified network.

Paridhi Nadarajan wrapped up the presentation by talking about the future of mobility and wireless communications. “There will be 1 billion wi-fi enabled devices by 2011,” she said. “There will soon be more cellular devices than there are people in the world.”

She reported that experts predict dramatic improvements to spectral efficiency and seamless wireless/wired bundled solutions with a dual layer of security for applications and the network.

She also covered the “marketecture”—or the elaborate marketing tactics used by vendors at the trade show. These ranged from a daily boxing match between two competitors Xirrus Wi-Fi Array and AP, poker games, and even a display of two computers, one protected by a security product and the other covered in bugs, literally.

Following the presentation, students answered questions from attendees, which included some local telecommunications and networking professionals and employers.

The event concluded with presentations from three students in whose projects were deemed the best in IST 754 Final Project in Telecommunications Systems. The following students presented their work:

  • Endri Mataj, “Global Systems for Mobile communications (GSM) Network Upgrade: HSPA vs. LTE”
  • Christopher Pike, “Immunizing America’s Internet Devices”
  • Carlos Lau, “A Cellular Carrier Maximum Bid for a Spectrum Concession in Costa Rica’s Frequency Auction”