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  • CWNP

Are You Smarter Than A Fourth Grader?

Warning: this blog might make you whine...or perhaps weep.

I have twin girls, Abbey and Hannah.  They're in the 4th grade, and just the other day they brought home a graded science exam.  I was in shock when I looked it over.  In so many ways, it was CWNA-level material.  I just couldn't believe my eyes...  I went through each of the questions, making sure I could answer and explain each of them and found myself explaining some of the same concepts to my 4th graders as I explain in seminars and CWNA classes.  Abbey...Abbinator...my OCD rocket scientist child, scored 95.  I was thinking of giving this same 4th grade exam as a pre-class assessment to CWNA students. :-)

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  • CWNP

There's a Bad(ge) Virus Going Around

Holy smokes batman.  Vocera's gear is slick.  Complicated on the back-end...but slick.  Of course, like any good IT system, the complexity is hidden from the end-user.  There's only one button, and the rest is just voice recognition bliss.  We already had a phone system that works fine, but who wants to use that old thing when you have a Star Trek communicator?  Within a week, everyone in the office suddenly wanted a badge.  It's like a virus that everyone wants to catch.  We learned very quickly that it's one serious electronic leash though.

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  • CWNP

Pronunciation of WLAN Terms

OK, I know I'm just being a bit 'picky' here... but I've found a correlation in a variety of industries with respect to how professionals pronounce a 'short-hand' version of an acronym versus the 'layman' way.

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  • CWNP

The False God of dB

In the Wireless LAN (WLAN) world, we have started to worship in front of the False God of dB.

Books, white papers, study guides, and design manuals have touted the value of the RSSI (dB) so much we have used this as a sole way of designing and evaluating our Wi-Fi Networks. dB is a false god and we need to mature and move past having ‘Signal’ be our main goal in WLAN designs!

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  • CWNP

Just The Facts, Ma'am.

I was going to write long, thoughtful emails to all of my Strategic Marketing VP friends and Sr. TME friends individually, but I just don't have the time.  So, this is the next best thing - albeit a bit impersonal.  If you work at a Wi-Fi manufacturer and hold either of these positions, or perahps another similar position where you find yourself speaking with industry analysts and media professionals, please lend an ear.  It'll pay liberal dividends.

I'm not trying to ruffle feathers.  I just want to be helpful to both sides of this equation.  This is just a polite observation.  Do with it as you will.

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  • CWNP

WLAN Professional's Portable Toolkit

Based on an Apple iPod Touch!

OK, before you ‘freak’ and think that I’ve lost my mind… just hold on a minute and read the rest of the article. This is the smallest, lightest, and ‘funnest’ WLAN test kit out there.

For doing a lot of smaller, quicker WLAN troubleshooting, this is a suitable solution. In addition, you get all the benefits of having an Apple iPod – with music, podcasts, videos, and games available as well as the Network Troubleshooting Tools!

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  • CWNP

Wi-Fi Kool-Aid: A Tale of Two Flavors

Since I went ahead and threw down the gauntlet in my last post, I thought you should taste-test a couple of Kool-Aid 'samples' while I had everything out on the table.

 

'Kool-Aid' is about a company's overall approach (philosophy) to networking (in this case, Wi-Fi networking).  At first sip, you might think the two flavors we’ll be discussing taste similar, but one of them has a bit of a 'twang.'  It's like sweet tea that's been sitting out a little too long, and if you're an avid sweet tea drinker like me, that twang isn't a good thang. Motorola, Aruba, and Meru, (the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place Wi-Fi vendors in the market) ALL serve up an 'All Wireless Enterprise' flavor.  In contrast, Cisco serves up the 'Wireless-is-an-Extension-of-the-Wired-network' variety. 

 

ALL WIRELESS ENTERPRISE (AWE) means the distribution and access layers of the traditional 'Core, Distribution, Access' network design layers are primarily, if not entirely, wireless.  Wi-Fi would, in today's market, be the primary technology for access. But Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and other technologies could serve in a distribution layer capacity.  It's a given that the core of any sizable network will remain wired for capacity and dependability.  Vendors who are serving AWE flavor know this, and have typically partnered with wired infrastructure vendors (if they can't offer wired infrastructure equipment themselves) to provide this part of the networking meal plan.  More or less, AWE vendors believe that wireless brings a significant value to the enterprise when implemented properly, and they want to specialize in that area alone.

 

WIRELESS as an EXTENSION of the WIRED network (WEW) gives you a mixture that allows wireless to add value to the wired network, but the wired network remains 'primary' - even out to the network's edge (access layer).  WEW flavor has the underlying requirement of the vendor or the vendor's partner(s) being able to (and wanting to) sell primarily wired networking equipment.  Wireless networking equipment is then sold only where specifically needed (when wired network equipment can't do the job) for the purpose of maximizing gross income.

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  • CWNP

Is Their Kool-Aid Staining Your Training?

I'm often asked by individuals wanting to get into the IT networking industry where they should start.  My answer, like everyone else's, has always been:

1. Cisco CCNA - if you're going to work in a Cisco-centric environment
2. CompTIA Network+ - if you're not

 

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  • CWNP

How to 'Cheat' on a Survey - Don't Be A Victim!

Because of the flexibility and reporting capabilities built into most site survey applications, individuals can either knowingly, or accidentally, use these features to ‘Cheat’ and make survey data look different than it really is.

OK, I understand the word ‘Cheat’ is a pejorative, and connotes some sort of blatant attempt to break some rules or misrepresent.  Many individuals just didn’t know any better when they applied these methods in their survey reporting.  I’m not implying that these techniques suggest any malfeasance, only ignorance.

As a customer, the best protection against this type of deception is to request not only the paper or PDF report, but the actual data files so you can review and analyze the data directly yourself.

Below are some of the techniques that allow one to modify and present survey data to reflect whatever you might desire.

Be wary of using any of these techniques on your own analysis or in reviewing data presented by other third parties. Continue reading...

  • CWNP

Seven Rules for Accurate Site Surveys

Seven Rules for Accurate Site Surveys

The process of gathering appropriate and accurate data during a Site Survey is as simple as following a few easy rules.

Break the rules, however, and you could end up with totally useless – but colorful – Heat Maps that have no value to your organization.

These rules have been gleaned through hundreds of site surveys and through teaching over hundreds networking professionals how to use Site Survey products.
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