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  • CWNP

Collectonomous - A New Paradigm

First, there was Autonomous, then lightweight, and now...there's Collectonomous, from the word, "Collective."  Think, "The Borg" - a hive mind.  If you're not familiar with The Borg, change careers and then go here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Borg  

The object of my focus is Aerohive's new HiveUI.  It's a GUI built into their 802.11n APs that is capable of managing up to 11 APs (including itself) with the limitation of a single hive (group of coordinating APs).  With a snazzy UI, snappy initial configuration, APs that coordinate data forwarding among themselves, and enough features to fit almost any SMB scenario, it's a paradigm shifter.  Given that there's no separate controller appliance/software or licensing beyond just buying the modestly-priced APs, getting buyer's remorse should prove difficult.  If you want to scale beyond 11 APs, buy Aerohive's HiveManager appliance, and voila - you've scaled.  To avoid confusion, HiveManager isn't a controller, but rather a WNMS.

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  • CWNP

Something +/- Whatever

Obviously the name gives you no context of the content, so I'll need to explain.  I was a calibrator in the Army - that's right, a bonafide 35H that knew the Mouse Song cold.  Don't worry, I won't sing it for you.  If you're thinking, 'what's a calibrator?' this blog post is for you.  A calibration specialist (the official title) is someone who verifies and documents the accuracy of test equipment.  Occassionally (more than most calibrators would like) equipment won't calibrate properly and has to be repaired.  There are multiple specialty areas within the calibration profession, such as 1) DC & Low Frequency, 2) Physical Dimensional, and 3) Radio Frequency.  I think you can guess what my specialty was.  It was forced upon me because our 'RF' guy was reassigned.  Holy crap, the books doubled as chairs in a pinch.  Scared me to death. Continue reading...

  • CWNP

WCET is for System Designers

CWNP has been asked by various people over the last couple of months how CWNP certifications compare to the IEEE's new WCET certification.  Having taken a good look at WCET when it emerged, I already knew that it was a completely different certification than those offered by CWNP.  Nevertheless, inquiring people means that someone has to clarify.  So here goes...

CWNP creates certifications around Job Task Analyses (JTAs).  We identify career positions within a range of organizations, qualify what tasks must be performed within those positions, and then build exam objectives around those tasks.  Thus far, CWNP's certifications focus on 4 main groups of professionals:

1. CWTS - Technical Sales, Help Desk, and Support Technicians (official announcement forthcoming)

2. CWNA - Enterprise WLAN Administrators

3. CWSP - Enterprise Wireless Security Professionals

4. CWNE - Enterprise Wireless Design, Implementation, and Troubleshooting

There is certainly more to come, but I won't spill the beans just yet.  Now I would like to compare WCET to CWNP's certifications a bit.

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  • CWNP

The Unsung Heroes - Technical Documentation Professionals

One of the things that holds Enterprise Wi-Fi companies back is a lack of documented deployment strategies - often called Design Guides or Best Practices documents.  Cisco no doubt knows this because their design guides are released almost as fast as their equipment, and they keep them up-to-date.  These are great documents if you can find the time to read and digest up to 360 pages of detailed technical material per document (Enterprise Mobility, VoWLAN, & Security).  Aruba kinda/sorta has some of these types of documents, and they go by names like, 'Campus Wireless Networks Validated Reference Design' and 'Site Survey and Planning Pre-Deployment Guide.'  All combined, Aruba's guides make up enough documentation to get most of the job done.  Motorola has recently released their version, finally, and it's a Cisco-like 320 pages.  Sweet.  That's very good news for Moto VARs.

 

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  • CWNP

WIPS-2-Go

I've been asked (gratis of course) to help catch an intermittent 'borrower' of Wi-Fi and Internet service without the help of the company whose Wi-Fi network and Internet connection is being used.  Yeah, intermittent.  Normally you would use a WIPS for such security monitoring, but the company who owns the network isn't to be involved in catching the bad guy.  OK, I'm up for a challenge, so sure, let's do this.  First, what better than a WIPS to catch the bad guy?  Nothing.  So, let's use WIPS...in a way that it's really not designed to be used of course.

 

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  • CWNP

Here We Go Again...

Last week, I received calls from former SEs, channel managers, and more (previously with several WLAN companies) asking for help landing their 'next gig'.  You guessed it - layoffs.  I thought I'd snoop around for a little extra info when I stumbled across some links on Google mentioning various companies in the WLAN market that have laid people off recently.  This can't be good.

 

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  • CWNP

Just What The Wi-Fi Doctor Ordered: AirMedic

Well it's about time someone did this.  First there was nothing.  Then the Cadillac of Laptop-based spectrum analyzers came along: Cognio...to this day, still unrivaled.  Then Cisco scarfed up Cognio and the honeymoon between cash-strapped users and a bleeding-edge startup ended...  You want Spectrum Analysis, you pay.  Not unexpected of course.

Then those same self-funded users turned to the low-end alternative: MetaGeek's Wi-Spy.   For 10% of the price of Cisco's Spectrum Expert, you too can have very basic spectrum analysis in the 2.4 GHz band only.  What was that?  Oh yes, that's right..."you get what you pay for."  Rats.  If 'basic' and '2.4 GHz-only' will do ya, then you're all set with Wi-Spy.  But what if you need more but can't shell out $4k/license?  Well, you are just stuck.  Grrr.

 

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  • CWNP

Dynamic Protection Mechanisms

Protection mechanisms are essential to the interoperability of multiple PHY's, like 802.11b on an 802.11g network. The problem with protection mechanisms is that they are very static, either on or off. Either you don't allow a "mixed mode" environment or your do allow it and consequently run the risk of losing 40+% of your throughput. What is the answer you ask?

 

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  • CWNP

Much Ado About Where

First, there was a defensive strategy: Meru's RF Barrier.  Very nice.  Then, Agito added locationing to their systems whereby each phone can "calibrate" areas in such a way that they're drawing a physical line of where/when to move to/from cell tower to/from Wi-Fi network.  No scanning-for-WiFi all the time (saving battery life) because when you get to a certain cell tower, you know you're "at home" or "at work" and start looking for Wi-Fi.  Seriously cool.  Now, I'm hearing talk of adding "where" to system authentication.  No longer will it be enough to have your username/password (and/or other credentials)...now you have to physically be in the right location also.  WAY Cool!  Why so much focus on "where?"

 

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  • CWNP

Nigh Wi-Fi

http://www.ubnt.com/products/

Ubiquiti builds some neat stuff, I have to tell you.  I have a couple of their products.  Unique, compatible, powerful, simple to use.  But full-featured 802.11 radios, compliant with the various 802.11 amendments that live in the 700 and 900 MHz bands?  What?  "Based on 802.11g OFDM" the specs say.  Take note of the 600 mW output power on that 700 mW radio.  Yikes!

I hadn't really considered this type of thing until a CWNE friend of mine started checking out some new mesh products.  He asked me about the positives and negatives of such a thing, and the first thing I thought of was interoperability and analysis.   The Wi-Fi Alliance is only interoperability testing and certifying equipment operating in 2.4 and 5 GHz.  So, 700 MHz (public safety), 4.9 GHz (public safety), and 900 MHz (ISM) is kind of left out in the cold for now.  Additionally, analyzer vendors don't make drivers for cards that work in non-Wi-Fi bands, so site surveying, protocol analysis, and spectrum analysis is out.  That would mean you'd be flying blind.  No thanks.  Been there, done that.

 

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