Friday, January 30, 2009

Networkers 2009 - The Barcelona Experience

7 months after my visit to Networkers in USA/Orlando, i visited Networkers in Europe/Barcelona this time. Different continent, different county, different city, different experience, same ranking model.

Category Grade Comments
Hotels A- I stayed at a non-Cisco hotel, but it was very good
for its price. It was also only 15 mins walk
from the CCIB. The only drawback was that wifi access
wasn't free.

Buses B+ I don't think there were buses from hotels to CCIB,
but the buses from CCIB/hotels to the appreciation event
did help a lot during the transportation. They could be useful
for the CCIE party too.

Conference C+ CCIB was good, but i expected something better (especially after
Center my visit to Orlando).
The session rooms should have been more (so AC Barcelona
wasn't needed; very small rooms there), techtorials & labs should
be made in normal rooms and not under "tents" (you could hear
the other adjacent speakers) and WCs seemed not enough.
Also, in some rooms lighting seemed more than needed.

Training B+ I tried to follow the usual 2 categories :
MPLS/VPLS & Carrier/Broadband.
Besides a French speaker who was hard to understand,
all others were great. Techtorial (Ethernet OAM) was very well
presented, 4h lab (PfR) was very interesting (i met a c-nsp guru
there), 2h lab (Nexus) was entertaining (but short).
Since i made my reservation one week before, most of the
"interesting" sessions were full at that time, so i subscribed
for other less interesting. But, as it proved out, many seats
were available during the actual "interesting" sessions.
Cisco must do something to verify seat availability (some hours
before the session?) and provide realtime information (while in
session?), because it's a shame to be forced to schedule wrong
sessions (since the right ones are booked in advance) and some
minutes before to wander around looking for free seats in the
right sessions.
Also, online scheduler should provide an option to add alternative
sessions too (regardless of their availability), so you can always
have a quick look at your desired schedule.

Meet the - I didn't attend one, since i found the needed cisco engineers right
Engineer after their sessions.

Food B+ I didn't try breakfast (i had one at the hotel),
but lunch had good variety and quality. Fruits and vegetables
were great.

Snacks A- Snacks were delicious, dessert was top!

On-Site Help A Helpful staff, there were everywhere, answered most of my

Cisco Store - I didn't have time for this (but i "got" some books from
session speakers themselves and one by a friend).

Conference D A supermarket bag would have been better!
Bags I still wonder whose idea it was to give this hard-plastic made bags.
Is it the crisis that caught Cisco too? I was lucky enough to have
brought my own bag, otherwise i would have been bored picking up
my notes from the floor (as many others did).

Registration B+ Besides the usual session guides and an ethernet cable (!) by the
Pack event's official cable partner, CCIEs got a nice CCIE label pin
(with the new logo) and a CCIE kind-of-wallet (i'm still trying
to figure out how to put euro banknotes in there; or does everyone
use credit cards nowadays?).
Also presentations should have been given in USB sticks
(not everyone has a CD/DVD player on his netbook).

Internet A- I had my EeePC and wireless was ok on every spot i tried.
Access PowerStations was a very nice idea, but more should be provided.

World of - I didn't have time to check it thoroughly. Many Cisco booths, many
Solutions interesting products.

Food at WoS A Excellent snacks (i found time for this, because i met some
friends there and got stuck :-P )

CCIE Lounge A+ Excellent idea! Much quieter and less crowded than other areas.

Certification B+ Nice room, but a little bit cold (why do they always keep it in
Room such a low temperature?).
The procedure before the exam was quick 'n' easy (although they
couldn't find my previous photo; is this how Cisco will fight
proxy test takers?) and it was a very good chance for me to
recertify my CCIE for free.

Chambers A As usual an excellent speech by John Chambers,
Keynote plus a very interesting EnergyWise demonstration.
This man knows how to capture attention.

CCIE Party - I was tired at that day, so i didn't attend it. Nevertheless,
i believe they should have made it nearer the CCIB,
or have buses for transportation.

Customer B+ The party at HyperLife was quite a strange one. I would say it
Appreciation proved better than expected, although i would have enjoyed
Event more live acts. Snacks and food (from around the world) were
a nice and clever addition. Basketball acrobatics was the best show.

Green Agenda A+ A great idea forming into action! I'm just wondering whether
recycled badges will be used for future events :-P

Overall B- This was a very good networking event, but i think i'll stick to
the one in USA. Besides the longer travel times, if you manage to
book a flight and hotel early, their price difference should be
negligible. But generally, if you want to mess with the best class
of cisco engineers, don't miss the networkers events

Btw, Cisco should have more strict policies regarding the usage of its engineers' usb sticks. I got a usb stick from a speaker in order to copy to my laptop an extra presentation and i found some -hidden- passport & id card scans into it! I guess someone should inform them to be more careful about where to store their personal stuff.

CCIE Label Pin 1CCIE Label Pin 2
CCIE Label Pin

PS1 : During the event i met and had great time with Greg (etherealmind) & Jeremy (packetlife). Greg is the type of guy who has done almost everything in his career and he is not afraid to change his way of living in order to do more. Jeremy, on the other hand, is much younger (his photo can confuse you), but with a very bright future that he's looking forward to meet. Both were excellent companions during the event and i wish it would last longer (sorry guys for leaving early the last day, but i had a job to finish). See ya around.

PS2 : I also met Maria (a former colleague), who passed her CCIE SP written the last day, during the last hour (keep on rocking girl!). I hope the 100€ dinner recompensed her for the 1 hour of waiting ;)


  1. A+ for the dinner sponsored by Tassos! It was worth waiting for! You should report back to Cisco how they can improve the food in future events ;-)

  2. Hmmm... I don't see any comments about Barcelona though... :)

    I don't know if you had the chance to do some sightseeing but I myself found Barcelona one of the most beautiful and exciting places I've ever been to!
    I visited Barcelona back in October '07 and will definitely visit this city again this year (I finished my national service at last, hurray!!)

  3. @Maria, Cisco is already informed through the networkers evaluation form ;)

    @wintech2003, good to see you back. I didn't have enough time for sightseeing (i booked everything a week ago and i didn't have time to think).
    But, judging from a quick look during the last day (while my "personal" tourist guide got lost :-P), Barcelona is indeed a very beautiful place. Hopefully, i'll have another -more prepared- visit next year.

  4. The CCIE "kind-of-wallet" is actually a passport holder. You could also put your credit cards and bank notes in there but the primary purpose is for your passport.

  5. Thanks for clearing that out Angela. Now it makes sense ;) (although my Greek passport hardly fits in there)

  6. @Angela, why Passport holder? I was surprised.

  7. Great to hear Chambers had his usual impact.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.