…And The Meshin’ is Easy

July 29th, 2014

As someone who has walked more than a few miles in a network administrator’s shoes, I’m all too familiar with the challenges of configuring and troubleshooting mesh environments. In my last position, as an administrator responsible for 300+ mesh nodes, I know the stress and frustration of dealing with dropped connections along with the other problems associated with mesh environments.

Our approach here at AirTight has always focused on making IT managers’ lives easier, and our Wi-Fi mesh implementation follows in the same footsteps.

Mesh profiles in management console

Mesh profiles in management console

As you may have already noticed, a new feature is now available in the AirTight Networks cloud console under configuring the SSID for your templates.

Since its release to the Wi-Fi product line, this enhancement has received lots of positive feedback regarding its innovative visual capabilities of managing mesh links, as well as the new options that offer both indoor and outdoor flexibility.

Ease of Configuration and Administration

Mesh configuration and administration

Mesh configuration and administration

Configuring your mesh network is now as easy as making decisions on what requirements need to be met, with the flexibility of controlling hops in mesh with Max Hop Count and number of child links for any node with Max Downlinks parameters.

Once this template is applied to a group of APs that are to be part of mesh, the formation of mesh links is fully automated. The configuration is also self-healing; if a node in the mesh were to go down, the APs automatically recalculate the mesh connections around the failure point.

Visual Display of Mesh Links

Visual Display of Mesh Links

Visual display of mesh links

The benefits of visually seeing your mesh topology with a simple click on your location brings troubleshooting to a new level. It’s hard enough when you have to manage multiple mesh links, but if your only means of troubleshooting is relying on descriptions to determine associations, or relying on CLI access to recall MAC addresses to Root & Non-Root Bridges, it can create huge challenges.

As professionals, we know to document everything efficiently. How often do we need to revisit that one site to see the mesh topology or remind us of the physical placement of each mesh operating mode in an environment? A comprehensive visual display of the mesh topology would have saved me an extraordinary amount of time!

Supported Mesh Environments

Wireless Backhaul and Access Service

Wireless Backhaul and Access Service

Wireless backhaul and access service

In the above configuration, mesh includes two access points to provide a simple wireless backhaul solution.

Point-to-Point Wireless Bridging

Point-to-Point Wireless Bridging

Point-to-point wireless bridging

In this application, two mesh access points connect a Layer 2 network through a wireless bridge.

Point-to-Multipoint Wireless Bridging

Point-to-Multipoint Wireless Bridging

Point-to-multipoint wireless bridging

More complex topologies involve multiple mesh access points to extend the edge of the network to wireless clients such as mobile devices, PoS (point of sale) tablets, and computers alike.

Multipoint-to-point Wireless Bridging

Multipoint-to-point wireless bridging

Multipoint-to-point wireless bridging

Occasionally, mesh can also be used to connect roaming mobile platforms to the wired network. In the AirTight mesh configuration this is achieved by leveraging the Min RSSI threshold.

Mesh Designed with IT Admins in Mind

Network administrators are always on the lookout for tools that deliver ease of deployment and monitoring of their networks. The way we designed our wireless mesh is just one such example. With visual tools that allow you to remotely see how your mesh topology is connected, and by eliminating the expense and maintenance of the controller, not to mention costly licenses, the reduction of time and money (and stress) is game-changing.

/To put you in a good frame of mind, here’s “Summertime” from Erik Sumo

Wireless mesh , , , , , , ,

Wireless Field Day: Are you ready for Lucky Number 7?

July 28th, 2014
and #WFD7

and #WFD7

Wireless Field Day 7 (#WFD7) is just around the corner and AirTight Networks is pumped about being in the vendor line-up.  This is our third WFD and certainly won’t be our last.

You won’t want to miss our session which takes place on Wednesday, August 6 from 13:30-15:30 (Pacific time).  Most vendor presentations – including ours – are streamed live at TechFieldDay.com  Can’t make it for the live session? Keep calm and view video recordings of our presentations at your convenience.

 


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802.11ac, Best practices, Managed Service, mobile device management, Retail, WiFi Access, Wireless Field Day, Wireless security, WLAN networks, WLAN Troubleshooting , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WizShark Brings Collaboration to Troubleshooting

July 24th, 2014
Interested in WizShark? Request a private beta account.

Interested in WizShark? Request a private beta account.

AirTight offered early beta access to WizShark, our visual WiFi troubleshooting tool in cloud, and since then it has been a fun ride for the team. It was heartening to see a number of WiFi professionals taking interest in the tool and appreciating its graphical representation of packet captures. Of course, the positive feedback was accompanied with, as expected, feature requests!

Apart from graphical representation, we also want to empower collaboration and reporting using this tool. Hey, when people work on tools in cloud, this is expected already, right? Starting on this path, we have added capability for seamless collaboration for team troubleshooting.


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WLAN Troubleshooting ,

WLAN Pros Europe: Hang Out With AirTight Experts

July 21st, 2014

WLAN Pros Conference is coming to Europe! As Keith Parsons (the conference’s chair and founder) puts it, “the Wireless LAN Professionals EU Summit consists of three days of fun, great topics, awesome gear, and wonderful networking.”

wlan-pros-europeAnd we are excited to have two of our technical gurus – Allen Walker out of the UK and Rick Farina from the US - presenting. As luck would have it, the organizers put the two sessions in the same time slot, so unless the attendees are completely slacking, they won’t be able to avoid both Rick and Allen at the conference.

What will they be speaking on?


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Best practices, Wireless security

Channel Bonding Caveats – Over and Above Spectrum Hogging

July 14th, 2014

Popular literature on 802.11ac describes 40 MHz and 80 MHz operation (channel bonding) as doubling and quadrupling of the data rate, respectively. Every time I saw that mentioned, the following question came to my mind.

When radio transmits over 40 MHz (or 80 MHz) channel, is the total transmit power proportionally increased over 20 MHz to maintain the SNR (signal to noise ratio)? And, how is the data rate multiple with channel boding distributed over the cell?

This question nagged me like a little stone in the shoe that is impossible to ignore. My subsequent findings from the lab tests show that the popular literature is only partially true. Read on to find out why.
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802.11ac, WLAN planning , ,

Why #EdTech Needs Wi-Fi? And How FCC Aims to Help

July 2nd, 2014

ISTE 2014, the largest US education technology conference, closed July 1 – good-bye, Atlanta! The time frame coincided with new developments around FCC’s proposal to close the E-rate’s “Wi-Fi gap”; we cover these below. 

notatisteAs always happen with these large events, not everyone can go. But educators are a creative bunch. Rather than feeling left behind, they organized a parallel #NotAtISTE14 conference – complete with presentations, virtual badges and ribbons, Google+ community and hangouts, Twitter chats, karaoke (!), challenges and prizes. (Links and resources pertaining to a #NotAt… conference are at the end of the post).

We reached out to the community with a contest asking why they needed Wi-Fi for education technology initiatives.

A summary of the tweets are below, with responses ranging from robotics and iPad carts, to working with special ed kids and spurring creativity in students.


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Education

802.11ac Deeper Dive Webinar Recap

June 30th, 2014

Last week, AirTight’s Senior Technical Marketing Engineer, Robert Ferruolo (@RAFerruolo), added another chapter to the AirTight 802.11ac webinar series.  Robert presented on “802.11ac Deeper Dive” focusing on features that come along with the 802.11ac wireless platform.

Webinar recording image

During the presentation, Robert broke down channel availability, QAM, beamforming, MIMO, MU-MIMO, frame aggregation, and error correction.  To view the recording, click here.

Throughout this 6-part series, we’ll continue to break down why 802.11ac should be a serious consideration for your wireless network. The series will address the inevitable migration from 802.11n to 802.11ac.

We’ll be continuing to post our Q&A sessions for all of our webinar series. Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming webinars and their corresponding Q&A sessions.


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802.11ac

Suddenly, Everyone Attacks Monetization – Wi-Fi Offload Summit, Day 1

June 19th, 2014

The Wi-Fi Offload Summit is taking place in Palo Alto through today, June 19. Lots of interesting perspectives on what Wi-Fi offload is, Wi-Fi monetization and how to go about it, along with privacy discussions and the future of mobile network operators.

See-full-presentation-on-SlideShare

See Anthony’s presentation on SlideShare

The number of solutions (and vendors) in the Wi-Fi monetization space seem to have exploded in the last 18 months. There are options for

  • Pure-play Wi-Fi presence analytics
  • Pure-play social engagement
  • Social engagement integrated with Wi-Fi and social media monitoring focused on SMBs (similar to what our partner Frontera Consulting is doing in this space)
  • AirTight’s approach of integrating Wi-Fi, presence analytics, brand engagement and compliance/security

Antony Paladino, AirTight’s president of technology services, focused his session on “unconventional engagement” – using Wi-Fi to connect communities, develop company culture, and, yes, fight crime!


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Carrier Wi-Fi

802.11ac Webinar Series Launched

June 19th, 2014

Webinar-jun-24

Last week AirTight launched its 802.11ac webinar series. Throughout this six-part series, we will be touching on various aspects of the 802.11ac wireless platform.  The first session touched on the Essentials of 802.11ac.

Upcoming Webinars: 802.11ac Deep Dive & Beyond

We will be continuing the series next week with “802.11ac Deeper Dive.” Stay tuned for later installments in our 802.11ac series, where we’ll be discussing:

  • Is 802.11ac Right for Your Network?”
  • “802.11ac Deployment Best Practices”
  • “802.11ac Channel Capacity Planning”
  • “802.11ac Network Optimization”


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802.11ac

Wi-Fi Offload Summit: Who Will Monetize Your Brand?

June 17th, 2014

With the theme of “Monetize Thyself!” AirTight speakers will tackle issues of real-time business intelligence, user engagement and creating value from Wi-Fi investments. Update: Please see our recap of Day 1: Suddenly, Everyone Attacks Wi-Fi Monetization.  

offload3

In today’s environment even the non-traditional telecom companies are jumping into the big data and monetization fray, as seen in Google’s leaked plans to offer free Wi-Fi equipment to local businesses and Facebook’s integration of its sign-on with Wi-Fi.

Most recently, Apple announced plans to obscure MAC addresses in iOS 8 potentially impacting Wi-Fi presence analytics. The change in iOS 8 was heralded as a privacy win, but astute observers noted that the move supports Apple’s iBeacon technology, which collects location data much more comprehensive than information inferred from MAC addresses.

Carriers need to ask themselves: “Are you willing to have Google, Facebook or Apple monetize your brand, or would you rather do it yourself?” With tools and solutions available today, carriers do not have to give up control (and monetization opportunities) to others.


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Carrier Wi-Fi