Attending conferences is a great way to learn. Learn about the changes to the operating systems, new features, and of course a great way to network with new friends, and hang out with old friends.
Devin Akin opens that the never ending debate over Radio Resource Management or RRM continues:
“Static planning has lower OPEX!”
“RRM can be turned to be as good as static!”
“You don’t want APs to react to RF events!”
“We don’t have time to manually plan & deploy!”
“How do I know how my RRM will react?!”
As an AccelTex Solutions Regional Manager, Brian Smith works with resellers and their end-users to specify, design and develop exceptional Wi-Fi accessory products for a variety of vertical industries. He has worked with various technologies within the wireless industry since 2000. WiFi is his passion
What is MU-MIMO and how does it help? According to Techhive’s article, “Using multi-user multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) technology, a wireless routers can transmit to and receive data from multiple Wi-Fi devices at the same time. Although the devices must also support MU-MIMO to utilize it, they aren’t required to have multiple antennas.”
We have all loved the Tech Field Day events for bringing great content to the IT communities they serve. I’ve proudly been an avid watcher of all these sessions – the first couple as a ‘remote’ viewer, tuning in for the free live broadcasts, and then later as an on-site delegate.
Samuel Clements works for a large VAR, supporting mission critical wireless applications such as Voice and Health Care products. He has spent numerous years working in the wireless industry doing design, implementation, and troubleshooting enterprise Wireless LAN.
A common sense level of understanding of wireless LAN (WLAN) client and WLAN access point communication mechanisms is critical to anyone attempting to initially connect or troubleshoot a WLAN connection. In this discussion, David Coleman discusses some of the issues that can be dealt with on the client side on a WLAN connectivity problems.
It used to be easy to just categorize yourself as networking engineer, an RF engineer, a wireless engineer, or an architect even. But with the rise of advanced applications and increasingly virtualized data center an architect has to cover more than just the phones and the laptops.
WiFi has made our lives easier and with the pace that it continues to develop, it has magnified our reliance to its capabilities.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a couple of conferences, meetings, and one-on-one discussions concerning the state of controllers in the Wireless LAN industry.
We all remember our own Devin Akin forcefully telling the world that “Controllerless” is in everyone’s future… perhaps that was a bit prophetic… but just not in the same way he might have anticipated.
There is still the need for a Control Plane, a Management Plane and a Data Plane to move 802.11 frames on and off a wired network. But the question is which of the many solutions will be the one that works best for your organizational needs!
With Cisco’s presentation on their new Cisco Mobility Express at Wireless Tech Field Day #8 – we are starting to see where the different vendors are going with their ‘control plane’ issues.
You can watch all the Cisco presentations here: http://techfieldday.com/appearance/cisco-presents-at-wireless-field-day-8/
Here’s one of the videos to give you an idea
You can get the details of Cisco’s offering from their blog here: http://blogs.cisco.com/wireless/demystifying-cisco-mobility-express-common-misconceptions-about-cisco-solutions as well as their official brochure here: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/wireless/aironet-2700-series-access-point/brochure-c02-733838.pdf
But I wanted to think through some of the implications of moving to these simpler, less-complex, solutions. Sure, they are fast, and easy to setup and configure. Watch the demo video presentation on the Tech Field Day site… you’ll see just how easy it can be. But some in our industry think we as Wireless LAN Engineers need to have more knowledge and skills before merely throwing up AP’s and calling it good. Yes, we did get an answer about CMX that many of the advanced features are available via CLI – the ‘nerd knobs’ are there for skilled and experienced engineers to tweak and tune the Wireless LAN to our heart’s content.
Yet I can’t help but wonder if these new simpler techniques, like Aruba’s Instant, Meraki’s Cloud, and Aerohive’s Co-operative control will lead to better, or worse Wireless LAN implementations overall. One of the benefits of a full-on controller solution was the expertise and skills needed to design, configure and implement a solution. This system also allowed for a very simple wired network design, all the AP’s could just be Access Ports and all the ‘fancy’ VLAN bits were handled on the other side of the tunnel from the AP to the Controller. Centralized forwarding helped make simpler demands on your wired infrastructure.
With the advent of ‘controller-less’ – and by that I mean no big controller box at the center of the Wireless LAN using centralized forwarding – we now need to design our switch fabrics with a bit more complexity. Not unduly difficult, but an extra step none-the-less. Much of my WLAN troubleshooting over the past 15 years has been to troubleshoot VLAN mistakes at a much higher rate than troubleshooting actual Wi-Fi issues. I fear this will only be aggravated by more and more ‘simpler’ Wi-Fi installations.
I wouldn’t even want to speculate where the control plane will be in the future – within a protocol, assigned to an individual AP with backup AP’s waiting in the wings, out in the cloud, or perhaps some other solution we haven’t thought of yet. But in the mean time, it is good to see we are seeing all enterprise Wi-Fi vendors moving toward options. Options that allow solutions to better fit enterprise needs. This is a good thing.
One of the highlights of #WFD 8 day one for me was the session by Dave Wright on the current status of the many options for including LTE in the unlicensed space.
Competing options abound for the carriers are lusting after the ‘free’ unlicensed spectrum. This is like showing gourmet food to a starving man… sure – carriers are in no wise like a starving man – they have loads of our money – and want to keep up the metered, pay per usage, model that has resulted in them being able to pay Billions – yes, Billions with a ‘B’ for their various spectrum slices. Compared with those costs, you can see why their business development teams are salivating over all this ‘free’ unlicensed spectrum.
But there is the rub – how can they use their LTE technology – which by default does not support the Wi-Fi technique of ‘Listen Before Talk’ – when they in turn are using a deterministic technology. These two competing techniques are at odds with each other.
The first up is LTE-U – a US-based system that wants to control much of the unlicensed 5GHz spectrum for their own uses. You can check out what they have to say here:
The problem with LTE-U (one of many in my book) – is that it does not support LBT. This need for LBT has been outlined by ETSI in this paper on their ‘BRAN’ initiative. You might want to spend a couple of minutes reviewing this pdf document:
A couple more links to other Dave Wright posts:
This situation is far from clear, and still quite up in the air as to where/what/when we might see resolution. I fear the carriers will NOT stop until they have as much unlicensed spectrum as possible. One light in a very dark cloud is the FCC’s move toward 3.5GHz – perhaps this might appease the carriers for a period of time.
Please take the time to watch this session on the Wireless Tech Field Day sight and leave comments about how you see this entire mess resolving – or drop a line on Twitter, I’m at @KeithRParsons.
Here’s the live stream – enjoy!