There was a lot of talk and not much action at Broadband World Forum this week. There was endless debate about the biggest industry trends; you couldn't walk more than a couple of feet without hearing someone mention SDN, NFV, vectoring or G.fast, for example, but is anyone actually doing this stuff yet? Well, no.
That's not to say, however, that I didn't expand my knowledge as a result of attending. This week I learnt that there are still some people in the world who think it's reasonable to try to take a pint of milk through airport security; if a German gives you a bottle of beer with the word 'hell' printed on it, that's not a bad thing; and despite all the rhetoric about the cloud, we're just not ready for it.
Marcus Weldon, Alcatel-Lucent's corporate CTO, opened proceedings in Amsterdam on Tuesday with a vision of the network of the future, which will be made up of small cells backed by robust fixed networks, of software-defined networking, virtualised network functions, and ubiquitous connectivity to the cloud.
That last point is particularly important when more and more people are using tablet devices with limited storage capacity and purely WiFi or cellular connectivity options.
"This doesn't have an Ethernet port," Weldon said, waving his iPad.
I too have taken to using a tablet when I'm out and about being a roving reporter. Therefore the discovery that the strength of the WiFi signal on the show floor ranged from weak to non-existent did not go down well. While others shared the handful of Ethernet connections in the press room, I was left writing copy on a shiny but dumb terminal and saving it to memory sticks to upload from elsewhere.
It was hardly the network experience of the future. We've moaned before about the irony of BBWF's perennial lack of connectivity, so I won't go there. But it begs the question, where do we stand when it comes to investing in rolling out higher-capacity networks and the willingness of the end-user – be it a consumer, business or trade show – to pay for