Awesome vacation. And, no, not unusual, for this crowd.
1. Business - meet people learn new things
Please read up on what the IETF does. We meet to design the protocols that allow the Internet to work. Our primary focus is not to meet people or learn new things, although both things happen as secondary outcomes. Your ability to transmit your message above is because of the work we do.
This conference is in Paris of all places and if they don't care about the place and the talks why the hell did they go there.
The selection of the sites for the IETF meetings is complex and many variables go into the mix. We try to encourage participation in the IETF around the world while somewhat equalizing the inconvenience of travel by having meetings at locations around the world. Few cities have conference centers with enough meeting rooms in the right mix of sizes for us. We are very sensitive to price, while wanting the facility to allow us to install our own network. There has to be enough hotel rooms close to the conference center for 1200-1600 attendees. Adequate restaurants, climate, stability of the government, openness of the Internet in the country, and an almost endless number of other variables are used. Paris was chosen for many reasons.
I am pretty sure every single one of the participants has better internet connection at home.
We had two 1G uplinks. No, (almost) no participant has better internet connections at home.
in hind site they might want to think about going the way of defcon and bring in their own network to their next get together.
We do. However, most of the time that gear is used for the convention center and not for the hotel. This time we deployed 50 Cisco 1200 APs, 11 24-48-port switches, 9 smaller 8-port switches (mainly for rooms needing multiple wired connections), and two Juniper routers, each connected to a 1Gbps uplink using different paths to the rest of the Internet.
We did consider deploying some of our leftover APs (some 20 more 1200s, and some 1131s that we only use for outlying areas) in the hotel, but there really wasn't time, nor was it practical due to the number of floors (33) and the number of access points already on each floor (10). In Taipei we deployed around 20 APs in the main hotel. Each venue is unique.