It's now a week before the show and the team has arrived at the venue. The electricians have been here a few days to start hanging the network and electrical drops over the bare floor with booths only indicated by tape on the floor and chalk marks with booth numbers on them. This is where the team gets together with the trucks full of gear and starts lighting up the net. With gear in co-location facilities at the two ends of the continent, load balancers, proxies, and caches have already been deployed, and the class "A" network is unparked and moved to the show venue. Normally we're one day in and the externals are running, the troubleshooting team has confirmed that the network drops meet the CAT5e or CAT6 standards and the backbone is running along with its backup path. To date, we've only had to dodge forklifts for the really huge booths, but now the smaller booths have started to arrive, the "freight free aisles" are now packed with crates, walking across the exhibit floor takes 10 minutes instead of 2, and the team is now starting to pick splinters out of their clothing from all the crates.
It's now Monday and the network is fully lit up, and we've been serving the already completed booths, and wireless has already been confirmed all the way into the meeting rooms since we're already support tutorials. The VoIP telephone system has been providing auto-attendant information on our main show number, along with telephony and conferencing capability to the show management. Monday is when we're all up late since that's when the carpets are put down and team members need to be around to make sure our equipment racks (PEDS) aren't accidentally disconnected by the carpet gang.
It's Wednesday and the show has been running with the exhibit floors packed with attendees. The team leads have been collecting tchotchkes as gifts for the volunteers, and tonight is when the volunteers get to party after a long week of setup. Some of the sponsor vendors have included products to give to the volunteers as part of their proposals, since it's the volunteers that have made a huge contribution in time and energy to make the InteropNET a success.
It's now Thursday and with the show floor closing at 3 p.m., the team only has an hour to pull out all the network drops and get the equipment racks off the floor before the forklifts attack. Normally it's 6 p.m. and the racks are wrapped and packed in the trucks before the team settles in for our last dinner. The NOC and a portion of the network still has to run until Friday to support the last of the classes, but by then, it's the team leads that are left to do the final packing before we all bid our old and new friends good-bye until the next show.