Since 1984 the Chaos Communication Congress has been somewhat of a Mecca for many geeks, hackers, activists, hobbyists from around the world. The 34th Chaos Communication Congress (#34c3) is currently underway in Leipzig, Germany and CYBERnyama will be dialing into the Congress to see whats up.
The Congress is increasing in its size and popularity with over 15,000 attendees this year – more than twice the 6,600 in 2012. Congress is considered the world’s second largest “hacker con” (second to DEF CON in Las Vegas). This year’s congress is currently being held in Leipzig as the usual venue, the Hamburg Convention Center is being renovated.
The format includes talks in the large conference halls, many workshops, hacker spaces and maker spaces, as well as open spaces in which communities and groups self organise into “assemblies”.
Chaos Communication Congresses are organised by the Chaos Computer Club, and despite the cost of entrance (just over EUR100), it is a non-profit conference. Organisational work is done at a voluntary basis and the day-to-day running of the conference (e.g. network operations, security, entrance and medical response) is performed by volunteers, or “Angels“. Anyone attending can volunteer as an Angel – an experience that makes for an excellent introduction to congress.
Congress makes for a great networking opportunities. The networks built and developed at congress, in both meatspace and cyberspace are quite a spectacle to behold.
A complex network is built to provide congress with an internet connection, Wifi and ethernet access, and a telephone network. The Phone Operations Center provides a wireless (DECT) and fixed-line telephone system and a GSM/UTMS (mobile phone) network is provided by Osmocom. Attendees can bring their own wireless phones or a can buy a 2 EUR SIM card and connect their mobile phone to the network. The telephone network allows dialing in from outside of the network, as well as dialing out to the telephone network.
Congress is in effect a temporary mobile phone operator and internet service provider. Such novel telephony can be quite an interesting and useful way to keep in touch with and keep track of friends and connections at such a large event.
For those more interested in postal networks, another type of network that is build is the “Seidenstrasse” (german for “Silk Road”) a series of yellow air tubes, through which objects in special capsules can be pumped through the tubes and delivered to different addresses at the conference.
CYBERnyama will be calling into the Congress telephone network and will be speaking with attendees on the next podcast. Though we are not at congress, we were able to register an SIP account and extension on the Congress network with Eventphone (part of the team behind the telephony operations at congress). With our account we then used a softphone client (Linphone) phone other extensions on the network.
CYBERnyama is looking forward to trying out VoIP communications with open source tools and unencumbered by Skype.
Stay tuned for our podcast and for more blog updates about Congress.