MOJO Wireless http://blog.airtightnetworks.com AirTight Networks Blog Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:07:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 More on the Inner Workings of LTE-U for the Wi-Fi Professional http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/more-on-the-inner-workings-of-lte-u-for-the-wi-fi-professional/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/more-on-the-inner-workings-of-lte-u-for-the-wi-fi-professional/#respond Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:55:09 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=9109 Part II of 2 part LTE-U blog series. In this LTE-U blog installment, I expand on 3 additional concepts: OFDMA – Yes With an “A” in the End, Wi-Fi Co-existence and LBT, and Common Backend Network between LTE and LTE-U.   Read more

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The first part of this 2-part blog covered the following topics:

  1. LTE-U Channel Plan, and
  2. Carrier Aggregation (CA) – What Makes LTE-U Happen
    • LTE-U as Supplemental Downlink (SDL) to LTE
    • Small Cells and Client Side Support

Read it here:  Inner Workings of LTE-U for a Wi-Fi Professional

This second part of the blog covers the following additional topics:

  1. OFDMA – Yes With an “A” in the End
  2. Wi-Fi Co-existence and LBT, and
  3. Common Backend Network between LTE and LTE-U

1) OFDMA – Yes With an “A” in the End

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is the LTE-U’s way of doing simultaneous multiuser (MU) transmissions, which is inherited directly from LTE. The base station (called eNodeB in the LTE terminology) dynamically allocates different subsets of OFDM sub-carriers in the LTE channel to different users in the cell. Schedules for supplemental channels (in case of carrier aggregation) can be communicated over them or over the primary channel, which is ideal for LTE-U. The minimum time duration for which a block of sub-carriers (called “resource block”) can be allocated to a user is 1 ms, called as a “sub-frame” in LTE terminology. Schedules can be changed by the base station potentially as fast as every 1 ms. Both the uplink and the downlink allocations are controlled by the eNB.

This is different from Wi-Fi where all OFDM sub-carriers in the channel are assigned to a single user during the frame transmission, while simultaneous MU transmissions (in Wave-2 of 802.11ac) are done via spatial stream separation.

Below are some techniques where LTE-U air interface differs from Wi-Fi in interesting ways:

  • Scheduling: Base station controls transmission schedules in LTE-U as opposed to the contention based access in Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi suffers from collision problem, which gets worse as the number of devices that are contending for the channel increases. LTE-U does not face collision problem on downlink or uplink. The current focus of LTE-U is on the downlink (SDL – Supplemental DownLink), but it won’t be long before LTE-U is also available for uplink (SUL).
  • CQI (Channel Quality Indicator): There is constant feedback in LTE-U from the client to the eNB so that appropriate MCS (Modulation Coding Scheme) can be used for transmission. In contrast, Wi-Fi uses lack of ACK followed by rate fall back (called “rate adaptation”) to guess the suitable MCS for transmission. There are 16 MCS’s spanning QPSK, 16-QAM and 64-QAM in LTE-U.
  • MIMO Feedback (called PMI and RI): There is constant channel feedback in LTE-U from the client to the eNB to optimize MIMO parameters for transmission. In Wi-Fi, there isn’t equivalent of this for spatial multiplexing, but there is explicit feedback for transmit beam forming in 802.11ac which requires sounding packets.
  • HARQ (Hybrid ARQ): There is additional layer of quick feedback loop below ARQ in LTE-U which also uses soft combining, meaning signals from bad transmission and re-transmission are constructively combined to increase success rate of re-transmission. In contrast, Wi-Fi has only one loop of ARQ and also throws away bad frames.
  • Protocol overheads: Wi-Fi incurs MAC and PHY overhead for every frame. Also, frames such as probes, null data, sounding, RTS/CTS eat away bandwidth in Wi-Fi. In contrast, overheads within LTE-U come from pilot symbols, control channels, transmission scheduling etc.

2) Wi-Fi Co-existence and LBT

When LTE-U eNB transmits a frame which is 10 ms long (consisting of 10 sub-frames of 1 ms each), Wi-Fi devices will detect this as noise and back off (recall -62 dBm energy detection rule in Wi-Fi). LTE-U needs to provide a breather for Wi-Fi by keeping quiet for some frames. As a reference, a 10 ms time duration is about the time required to transmit an aggregated frame of 8 TCP packets in Wi-Fi at a 10 Mbps data rate. As per one proposal described by Qualcomm, the LTE-U radio will keep measuring occupancy on a channel and based on that determine how many frames to transmit and how many to stay quiet (called duty cycle). They have called it CSAT (Carrier-Sensing Adaptive Transmission).

Conversely, does LTE-U delay its frame when Wi-Fi transmission is ongoing? LTE-U does not currently specify standardized listen before talk (LBT) mechanism. So, if the Wi-Fi transmission is ongoing when LTE-U radio turns on to transmit the frame, the two will collide during the period of overlap. LTE-U will continue bursting from that point until the end of its frame or sequence of frames as determined by the duty cycle pattern. Wi-Fi will back off during this time. LTE-U will recover the part of the frame that is lost in collision via HARQ.

Since LBT isn’t standardized now, LTE-U is currently seen as applicable in regions like U.S., S. Korea, India, China etc. where LBT is not a regulatory requirement to operate in the unlicensed spectrum. That does not however mean that there will not be any LBT by the time LTE-U products hit the market. There could be proprietary LBT techniques in those products. We have to wait and watch. The 3GPP is working to standardize LTE-U, under the name LAA (Licensed Assisted Access) in Release 13. One aspect of this standardization also covers LBT, which can then make it applicable to markets like Europe and Japan where LBT is regulatory requirement.

If LTE-U deployments use CSAT as currently described, I would really like LAA to put some standardized restrictions on duty cycle as a function of channel occupancy measurements. Without such restrictions, some LTE-U devices could use large duty cycles thereby adversely affecting Wi-Fi. Fingers crossed!

3) Common Backend Network between LTE and LTE-U

It is a given that freebie spectrum in the unlicensed band is phenomenally attractive to operators in the face of a multi-billion dollar licensed spectrum auction market. This is clearly one driver behind LTE-U.

There is also another benefit to operators from LTE-U from the network deployment standpoint. Early efforts on augmenting the licensed spectrum with the unlicensed spectrum have focused on Wi-Fi offload. However, there is significant network infrastructure required behind the Wi-Fi access point for what is called Mobile Core Integration (MCI) to perform authentication, security, traffic tunneling, roaming, service authorization etc. (Hotspot 2.0 is a small part of the big MCI puzzle). If you compare that to LTE-U, there will be no such heterogeneous network requirement on the back end, because LTE-U directly works with the LTE network all the way up! LTE-U is none other than LTE itself from the network standpoint.

This also provides some insights into why some carriers are pushing LTE-U more than others. Carriers who have invested heavily into MCI aren’t in a hurry to adopt LTE-U, while those who have not want it as soon as possible.

AT&T in no hurry to test and deploy LTE-Unlicensed

LTE, Wi-Fi camps need to cooperate, not collide, on LTE-U/LAA

Source: FierceWireless

Co-opetition?

I am hoping that this 2-part LTE-U blog provided some useful technical insights into the workings of LTE-U. I fully expect the LTE and LTE-U landscape to evolve rapidly over the next two years, since big players in the wireless industry are pushing it. Wi-Fi will also continue to grow alongside it. There will be times of co-ordination and also times of friction between the two. It is going to be an interesting ride.

Read part I of this 2-part blog here:  Inner Workings of LTE-U for a Wi-Fi Professional

By the way, you don’t want to miss the Qualcomm webinar on LTE-U (April 13th 2015 and on-demand). There is Wi-Fi Alliance representation on this webinar. Would be good to find out what the two sides have to say.

 

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How Does Restaurant Wi-Fi Pay for Itself? http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/restaurant-wi-fi-pays-for-itself/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/restaurant-wi-fi-pays-for-itself/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:45:36 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=9065 Maximize Your Restaurant Wi-Fi: A Lucrative Tool for Revenue & Engagement is a how-to webinar that helps operators understand the potential of restaurant Wi-Fi, and focuses on a variety of strategies that lead to bottom-line impact.

AirTight joins forces with its partners On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina and Industry Retail Group (IRG) to share how restaurant Wi-Fi networks pay for themselves.   Read more

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Wi-Fi networks are a workhorse for internal restaurant operations. But when properly designed and implemented, they can also be highly lucrative, driving both customer loyalty and revenue.

Maximize Your Restaurant Wi-Fi: A Lucrative Tool for Revenue & Engagement  is a how-to webinar that helps operators understand the potential of restaurant Wi-Fi, and focuses on a variety of strategies that lead to bottom-line impact.

AirTight joins forces with its partners On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina and Industry Retail Group (IRG) to share how restaurant Wi-Fi networks pay for themselves.

Webinar Highlights

  • New research findings from HT’s 2015 Restaurant Technology Study: creating better customer engagement has aligned with technology goals, driving 53% of IT projects in 2015
  • Loyalty boost from restaurant Wi-Fi: what results On The Border has seen from its Wi-Fi implementation
  • Latest trends on what restaurant CIOs are deploying: from enhanced POS to guest Wi-Fi and smart fixtures
  • Roadmap for success: practical advice on selecting technology and implementation providers

Moderator

  • Abigail Lorden, Editor-in-Chief, Hospitality Technology

Speakers:

  • Chris Andrews, Vice President of IT, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
  • Paul Gillmore, Vice President of Sales, Industry Retail Group, Inc.  
  • Kevin McCauley, Director of Retail Business Development, AirTight Networks

 

Kevin McCauley, Director of Retail Business Development, AirTight Networks

Kevin McCauley, Director of Retail Business Development, AirTight Networks
How-to-webinar: Maximize Your Restaurant Wi-Fi: A Lucrative Tool for Revenue & Engagement

Beyond Technical Aspects of Restaurant Wi-Fi

The webinar goes beyond the technical details of Wi-Fi projects.  Hear from Chris Andrews how On The Border’s IT team works with line of business managers and how it bubbles up best ideas for implementation. He also discusses the role of an IT steering committee and covers early insights into the company’s business intelligence and data warehouse projects.

Paul Gillmore of IRG shares wireless and wired deployment Do’s and Don’ts – how to engineer the network properly and why SLAs are critical for restaurant Wi-Fi. You also learn about a creative way in which IRG’s customer Red Robin gets its tabletop tablet-based POS system to pay for itself.

AirTight’s Kevin McCauley discusses how Wi-Fi analytics data can fuel real-time marketing and decision making, and what it means to ‘close the data loop’ with Wi-Fi. Of course, no Wi-Fi network discussion is complete without a look at wireless security and PCI compliance – both IRG and AirTight share practical tips on how to create a network that’s both welcoming and trusted.

 

Maximize Your Restaurant Wi-Fi: A Lucrative Tool for Revenue & Engagement

April 9th 2015, 2:00 pm [EST] and available on-demand

Looking for Business Outcomes

Restaurant IT is becoming more agile and customer-driven, both internally and externally. It’s focused on business outcomes, leading to a close collaboration with marketing, store operations and human resources.

Learn how On The Border is cracking the code to make IT not only essential, but a key component of driving top line revenue.

The webinar is hosted by Hospitality Technology and requires a free registration on HT’s site. Register to attend the live webinar on April 9th or view it at your convenience on-demand.

 

Related information:

 

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Inner Workings of LTE-U for a Wi-Fi Professional http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/inner-working-of-lte-u-for-the-wifi-professional/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/inner-working-of-lte-u-for-the-wifi-professional/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:00:00 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8769 Inner Workings of LTE-U for Wi-Fi Professional by Hemant Chaskar @CHemantC   Read more

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Earlier in my career, I worked for a cellular network vendor where I specifically focused on 3GPP (and 3GPP2) networks. Today, I am majorly into Wi-Fi and as you would expect, cellular networking went to my back burner. There existed a clear separation between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.  That has now changed as the telco carriers turn to the unlicensed spectrum to add capacity.

Until recently, this discussion mostly centered on Wi-Fi as the data offload network for the cellular (LTE). Lately, this has turned into pitting the LTE radio itself in the 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum in lieu of Wi-Fi, called as LTE-U. For the Wi-Fi professional, it now becomes imperative to bridge any knowledge gap with LTE, myself included. I did some exploration on the inner workings of LTE-U and am posting this two-part blog to share my findings. I’m hoping that it will help you get quick technical facts about this fast emerging technology. Here goes the first part.

LTE-U Channel Plan

As per the latest specification from the LTE-U forum led by Verizon, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Samsung and Alcatel, LTE-U is presently slated for UNII-1 and UNII-3 unlicensed bands. They are called band numbers 252 and 255 in the LTE terminology. DFS band UNII-2 (band numbers 253 and 254 in LTE terminology) is out of bounds for LTE-U, for now. In general, LTE-U is presently applicable in regions and bands that do not have so called Listen-Before-Talk (LBT) regulatory requirement such as U.S., S. Korea, China, India etc. (more on LBT later).

The bandwidth of one LTE-U channel is set to 20 MHz, this is the same as the smallest channel width in Wi-Fi. LTE-U channels will be centered at almost the same places where Wi-Fi channels are centered. The only change being that there are five LTE-U center frequencies defined about each of the Wi-Fi center frequencies. For example, consider channel 48 in Wi-Fi which has a center frequency f = 5240 MHz. Then, the LTE-U channel at this location can be centered at any of the f-0.2, f-0.1, f, f+0.1, f+0.2 MHz. The same applies to channels 36, 40, 44, 149, 151, 157, 161 and 165. LTE-U also makes use of one additional channel centered at f= 5160 MHz, which is below Wi-Fi channel 36 (this would hypothetically have been channel 32).

These additional center frequencies 100 KHz and 200 KHz below and above Wi-Fi center frequencies are provided to satisfy the LTE standard requirement that bonded (intra-band, contiguous) LTE channels need to be centered at multiples of 300 KHz apart. This will allow LTE-U to create 40 MHz channels in the unlicensed spectrum in the future (ouch!).

By comparison, single channel LTE bandwidth in the licensed spectrum is typically 5, 10, 15 or 20 MHz. The peak data rates achievable on 20 MHz LTE channel are 300 Mbps for downlink (for 4×4 MIMO spatial multiplexing, highest MCS) and 75 Mbps for uplink (as per LTE Release 8 specification and after overheads).

Transmit powers in LTE-U will be on par with Wi-Fi because they are dictated by power radiation rules of the unlicensed spectrum. So LTE-U will be a small cell technology.

Carrier Aggregation (CA) – What Makes LTE-U Happen

Release 10 of the LTE standard (called as LTE-Advanced) introduced the concept of CA in the licensed spectrum. The basic idea was to be able to bond multiple LTE channels to increase data rate to the user. Bonded channels can be from the same LTE spectrum band (intra-band) or different LTE spectrum bands (inter-band). LTE refers to channels as carriers, so from now on we will also use the term carrier to indicate LTE channel in this blog.

The base station can add and remove carriers to a particular user in the cell based on various traffic criteria. CA can work both for downlink carriers and uplink carriers and can also be asymmetric meaning more carriers in one direction compared to the other. One of the carriers in CA is configured as the primary component carrier (PCC) for a user and the other carriers are referred to as secondary component carriers (SCC’s). The PCC is used to carry all control and authentication messages in addition to its own data and is the lifeline carrier, while the SCC’s can be activated and deactivated for the user dynamically. Data aggregation in CA happens at the data link layer. Current LTE products mostly focus on downlink CA only. For example, high end devices such as iPhone 6 now support CA for licensed LTE and operators have also launched CA in their networks (with some restrictions on combinable bands and channel widths).

As a side reference, LTE carrier can be of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) or TDD (Time Division Duplex) type. FDD is where there is dedicated downlink carrier(s) and dedicated uplink carrier(s). TDD works by time duplexing downlink and uplink time durations on the same carrier. FDD is more popular today.

LTE-U as Supplemental Downlink (SDL) to LTE:

The CA mechanism in LTE-Advanced creates the foundation for LTE-U. Since a mechanism is available to bond multiple carriers in the licensed spectrum with one of them serving as a lifeline, why can’t we bond an unlicensed band carrier to the licensed band carrier, the licensed leg playing the role of lifeline. Voilà, that is LTE-U precisely! This also means that the LTE-U today is realized only with lifeline carrier for it being in the licensed LTE. In other words, LTE-U is supplemental to LTE (like walking the dog!).

Currently emphasis of LTE-U is on the downlink, that is, the unlicensed carrier carrying only downlink data (there will be uplink on the licensed lifeline carrier). Hence, the term you hear is SDL (Supplemental Down Link). This is driven by conventional wisdom that downlink traffic is higher than uplink traffic as well as by lesser complexity of CA in the downlink compared to uplink. In the later phases of LTE-U, there will have to be supplemental uplink (to increase peak rates for selfie video uploads, iCloud synchronization etc.).

In the initial phases, we will see supplemental LTE-U channel of 20 MHz bandwidth, but as discussed before the LTE-U forum specification has provision for 40 MHz channel as well (by virtue of multiple of 30 KHz inter-carrier spacing in the 5 GHz band to allow intra-band CA specified in LTE-Advanced).

Small Cells and Client Side Support:

LTE-U deployments will be in the form of a small cell base station (called eNodeB in LTE terminology) with both LTE radio and LTE-U radio in it. The supplemental carrier in the unlicensed band will be selected by eNB dynamically based on congestion in the unlicensed spectrum. Such base station may also have a Wi-Fi radio in it. That said, the LTE standard has provision also for CA across small cell and macro cell (called Dual Site CA).

In order to reach critical mass, client side support for LTE-U is critical. As we have seen in the past, the client side always lags the infrastructure. LTE-U operation will require additional LTE-U radio on the client side. There were announcements from Qualcomm at recent MWC about LTE-U chips in the oven that will be ready for sampling in the second half of the year.

There is lot more to learn about LTE-U, but this post has reached its size limit. So I will defer additional topics like LTE-U transmission schedules, wireless link efficiency techniques and Wi-Fi co-existence (including LBT) to a second blog (part II coming soon this week).

Also a heads up on upcoming Qualcomm webinar on LTE-U. There is going to be representation from the Wi-Fi Alliance on this webinar, so it should be interesting!

 

 

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2015 Year of the Goat and Wi-Fi & Security http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/2015-year-of-the-goat-and-wifi-and-security/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/2015-year-of-the-goat-and-wifi-and-security/#respond Tue, 03 Mar 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8653 In many Asian countries, the New Year is based on the lunar calendar and is dictated by the first new moon and ends on the full moon. In the case of the Chinese calendar, each New Year is marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiacal animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

In the first part of a 2 part blog series, we started off by reflecting on the Year of the Horse and 2014. In this second installment, we look ahead to the Year of the Goat which began on February 19th 2015.   Read more

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In many Asian countries, the New Year is based on the lunar calendar and is dictated by the first new moon and ends on the full moon.  In the case of the Chinese calendar, each New Year is marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiacal animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

In the first part of a 2 part blog series, we started off by reflecting on the Year of the Horse and 2014.  In this second installment, we look ahead to the Year of the Goat which began on February 19th 2015.

Looking Ahead to the Year of the Goat:

Looking ahead on the coming year, we have a 4 notable areas to single out.

  1. Focus, Growth and Key Partnerships
  2. Key Wi-Fi Trends in 2015
  3. Products & Innovations
  4. Connecting with Customers 

1) Focus, Growth and Key Partnerships

All indications are that 2015 will be a banner year in the Wi-Fi industry as well as for AirTight partners and customers!

In the closing weeks of 2014 AirTight added two key executives to the company:

  • Rick Wilmer as Chief Operating Officer
  • Mike Anthofer as Chief Financial Officer
picture of Rick Wilmer, AirTight COO

Rick Wilmer, AirTight COO.

In an interview with CRN, Rick shares his thoughts on why he joined AirTight.

“The caliber of their engineering and technology talent is impressive. I believe this team has the potential to do something remarkable in the enterprise Wi-Fi space.”

Source: AirTight Networks Adds Top Exec Talent In Bid To Make Wi-Fi More Social. Via CRN News, December 2014

More information via AirTight Newsroom: AirTight Networks Positioned for Next Phase of Growth in 2015: New COO & CFO, Channel Expansion, Continuous Product Innovation.

Meet the Hot Cybersecurity Companies to Watch in 2015, via CyberSecurity Ventures.
More information at Cybersecurity 500 [interactive and searchable list].
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All Indications are that 2015 will be a Banner Year
-
AirTight continues to see demand share shift from a direct sales model to the channel. The company is on track to achieve its goal of 80% sales through the channel in 2015 globally, while 100% of international sales will continue to be through the channel. AirTight is forging new partnerships with key managed service providers including Earthlink and Hughes.
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EarthLink Secure Storefront from EarthLink on Vimeo.  

If you missed the Retail Next webinar on connected stores (featuring Greg Buzek – IHL, Kevin McCauley -AirTight, and Greg Griffiths – Earthlink) you can see a replay at rtou.ch/store-networks.

IHL Group, retail research firm, AirTight Networks and EarthLink recently partnered to conduct one of the first-ever studies that provides insights into the retail industry’s plans for store networking, WiFi, security and engagement.

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Interested in the full results?  Register here to get the final IHL study. -

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2)  Key Wi-Fi Trends in 2015
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Never one to shy away from making bold predictions, Hemant Chaskar outlines what we can expect in Wi-Fi in 2015:

        1. Super-Size: Deployments as large as hundreds, thousands and up to a million APs.
        2. Super-Charge: ISP, MSO, MSP business model enablement, increased spectrum of engagement applications, CRM integration and big data set analytics.
        3. Scalability Behind the Edge: Importance of backend systems to support Super-size and Super-charged.
        4. Right Offer, Right Time, Right Place: Integration of multiple platforms such as Wi-Fi, iBeacon and other innovations.
        5. Opinions and Requirements: Concerns around monetization, intrusiveness and privacy are hot topics in 2015

 Read the full detail behind these bold predictions or view the companion OnTheFlyWifi webcast replay. OnTheFlyWifi webcast.    

 

Executive Viewpoint 2015 Prediction: AirTight Networks – Internet of Things Will Drive Digital Transformation in Businesses | by Hemant Chaskar via Virtual Strategy Magazine, January 2nd 2015

3) Products and Innovations

Many product, service and application innovations are being introduced with many more planned for 2015.  Three such innovations include:

For NRF 2015, AirTight Networks announced updates to its Wi-Fi solution for retail, including Nano, its mobile cloud management application, now available with custom skins for key MSPs, and an in-browser messaging feature. Read the announcement on AirTight’s web site: AirTight Networks Enhances Multi-Unit Retail Wi-Fi Offering for NRF 2015.

For NRF 2015, AirTight Networks announced updates to its Wi-Fi solution for retail, including Nano, its mobile cloud management application, now available with custom skins for key MSPs, and an in-browser messaging feature.  Read the announcement.

AirTight NanoTM

For NRF 2015, AirTight Networks announced updates to its Wi-Fi solution for retail, including Nano, its mobile cloud management application, now available with custom skins for key MSPs, and an in-browser messaging feature.

“The Nano application will be a key element of EarthLink Secure WiFiTM as it provides configuration simplicity and speed, but maintains IT control and oversight,” said Mike Frane, Director of Product Management at EarthLink.

“Store-level personnel or our remote technicians can get WiFi up and running in minutes with enterprise-class features. This reduces our investment in level 1 support and greatly reduces truck rolls, allowing us to focus on valuable customer interactions.”

Nano simplifies Wi-Fi configurations and compliance reporting by exposing several key features of a cloud Wi-Fi management console via a mobile web app. The configurations done through Nano are synchronized with the enterprise cloud management console, so that retailers and their MSPs can layer additional cloud services on top of basic configurations done through Nano. They also retain full visibility into brand-wide Wi-Fi analytics and engagement metrics.  Source: AirTight Unveils Wi-Fi Config Tool for Retail via Channel Vision Magazine.

Read the announcement on AirTight’s web site: AirTight Networks Enhances Multi-Unit Retail Wi-Fi Offering for NRF 2015

In-browser Messaging

The in-browser messaging feature allows insertion of messages in a user’s web session. This provides continuous channel for engagement as the user browses the web over guest Wi-Fi. Retailers and restaurants can now promote flash sales, store specials or the venue’s loyalty program. Retailers can also place third-party ads and align them with in-store promotions, such as premium end-cap placements. The feature also provides detailed analytics on click tracking.

Hemant Chaskar discusses some of the considerations of in-browser messaging in “2015: The Year of Experience and Scale”.

WizShark:  A picture is worth a thousand framesTM. 

In February, Robert Ferruolo gave a Ten Talk on  WizShark.net  at the WLAN Professionals Conference in Dallas.  You can view the SlideShare summary and / or view the video.  A more in-depth video presentation of WizShark is also available here.

4) Connecting with Customers 

Customer engagement and store efficiencies are top of mind for retailers, hospitality and leisure operators attending Industry events like NRF, RBTE and MURTEC.   AirTight has a strong presence at these events where you can easily request a meeting or private demo.

Join us for an informative webinar regarding the usage and deployment of an iBeacon solution. In this 30 minute webinar we will work through what to consider when deciding to engage in an iBeacon deployment.

Join us for an informative webinar regarding the usage and deployment of an iBeacon solution. In this 30 minute webinar we will work through what to consider when deciding to engage in an iBeacon deployment.

You’ll want to join us for an informative webinar regarding the usage and deployment of an iBeacon solution.

In this 30 minute webinar we will work through what to consider when deciding to engage in an iBeacon deployment.

Register for iBeacon Reality Check: Essential Considerations for an iBeacon Deployment Mar 10, 2015 8:00 AM PDT

The session will cover the following topics:

  • What is iBeacon?
  • iBeacon Reality Check
  • Components to Build an iBeacon Solution
  • iBeacon Challenges

 

 

We’re off to a roaring start and all indications are that 2015 will be a banner year in the Wi-Fi industry as well as for AirTight partners and customers!

 

Additional Information:

Wireless LAN Professionals Conference – February 2015  

 

Register to download the free ebook: “A Guide for Wireless Customer Engagement and Security”

Register to download the free ebook: “A Guide for Wireless Customer Engagement and Security”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AirTight at Wireless LAN Professionals Conference WLPC in Dallas http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/airtight-at-wireless-lan-professionals-conference-wlpc-in-dallas/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/airtight-at-wireless-lan-professionals-conference-wlpc-in-dallas/#respond Mon, 02 Mar 2015 01:30:00 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8373 AirTight had strong representation at the Dallas conference (February 2015) with 2 keynote sessions and 4 Ten Talks. View the video and SlideShare archive.   Read more

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The Wireless LAN Professionals Conference is the brain child of Keith R Parsons  – certified Wireless LAN professional, consultant and teacher.  The conference consists of two days of fun, great topics, awesome gear, and wonderful networking.  It features presentations from a vast array of experts in the field. The event is designed with two track sessions and short powerful talks called Ten Talks.

“We designed the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference to be the kind of event we’d like to personally attend. Lots of great technical content wrapped around an opportunity to spend time with our friends, colleagues, and a chance to meet more people who shared our passion for Wi-Fi. We say it is a conference for WLAN Professionals, by WLAN Professionals.”

Keith R. Parsons

 

 

AirTight had strong representation at the Dallas conference (February 2015) with 2 keynote sessions and 4 Ten Talks.  Ten Talks are short powerful talks.  These are just like Ted Talks, only for all things Wi-Fi.

Ten Talks (10 minutes):

1)  Best Practices for Comprehensive WLAN Performance Testing

2)  Tales from the Trenches: Wi-Fi Troubleshooting in Distributed Environments

3)  Staying on Top of Security, Spectrum Rules and Network Operation in WIPS Deployments

4)  Using WizShark to help in your Wi-Fi Troubleshooting

Keynote Sessions (45 minutes):

1)  Pwnie Express PwnPhone and Wi-Fi Penetration Testing

2)  Wireless Security: Fun Hacks for You to Learn and Experience

 

AirTight TEN TALKS:

Below you’ll find an abstract for each Ten Talk, Vimeo video recording with slideware, and companion SlideShare.

1) Best Practices for Comprehensive WLAN Performance Testing 

Want to avoid your Wi-Fi having a reputation for being slow? Or will you be involved in evaluating solutions for your next WiFi upgrade? View this session with Robert Ferruolo for testing best practices from many years on the front lines of WLAN performance testing. It covers how to test voice, video, and data for single and multi AP setups. The session also discusses essential test tools, test applications, testing methodologies, troubleshooting performance issues, recommended test cases for different verticals, as well as ways to examine and present test data. From this session, you get practical techniques and fresh ideas for how to get, and keep, your WLAN fast and reliable.

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Best Practices for Comprehensive WLAN Performance Testing by Robert Ferruolo  (10 minutes) via Keith R. Parsons Vimeo.

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Related Content:

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2) Tales from the Trenches: Wi-Fi Troubleshooting in Distributed Environments

Network issues aren’t something new in any project. However, the troubleshooting task becomes challenging when it needs to be done remotely and when there isn’t much onsite IT help. This is often the case with the distributed Wi-Fi deployments. The session discusses tools and best practices for Wi-Fi troubleshooting in distributed environments, drawing on field deployments both large and small.

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Tales from the Trenches: Wi-Fi Troubleshooting in Distributed Environments by Hemant Chaskar  (10 minutes) via Keith R. Parsons Vimeo. -

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Are You Safe: AirTight Networks Security Assessment

Schedule a FREE Wireless Network Vulnerability Assessment.  AirTight is the only vendor rated “Strong Positive” by Gartner for wireless IPS.

3) Staying on Top of Security, Spectrum Rules and Network Operation in WIPS Deployments

This session explores best practices in wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS). The session provides an in-depth look into wireless vulnerabilities and techniques used by WIPS to address them. Along with the technical deep dive, Hemant Chaskar provides guidelines to enhance security; avoid contravention of spectrum rules and minimize operational overhead in WIPS deployments.

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Staying on Top of Security, Spectrum Rules and Network Operation in WIPS Deployments by Hemant Chaskar  (10 minutes) via Keith R. Parsons Vimeo. -

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Related Content:

4) Using WizShark to help in your Wi-Fi Troubleshooting

WizShark is a diagnostic tool built to make the process of Wi-Fi troubleshooting more enjoyable and fun. Based on the philosophy of “A picture is worth a thousand frames”, it abstracts key events of a complex packet trace in the form of rich visuals. This session demonstrates how to use Wizshark to troubleshoot Wi-Ficonnectivity issues. -

Using WizShark to help in your Wi-Fi Troubleshooting by Robert Ferruolo  (10 minutes) via Keith R. Parsons Vimeo.

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A more in-depth video presentation of WizShark is also available here.

 

 

 

AirTight KEYNOTES:

Senior Wireless Security Researcher Rick Farina keynoted two 45 minutes sessions:

1) Pwnie Express PwnPhone and Wi-Fi Penetration Testing

2) Wireless Security: Fun Hacks for You to Learn and Experience

 1) Pwnie Express PwnPhone and Wi-Fi Penetration Testing

Session 108 – Rick Farina from Keith R. Parsons on Vimeo.

Pwnie Express PwnPhone and Wi-Fi Penetration Testing | by Rick Farina @Zero_ChaosX  (Keynote: 45 minutes) via Keith R. Parsons Vimeo.

2) Wireless Security: Fun Hacks for You to Learn and Experience

Session 211 – Rick Farina from Keith R. Parsons on Vimeo.

Wireless Security: Fun Hacks for You to Learn and Experience| by Rick Farina @Zero_ChaosX  (Keynote: 45 minutes) via Keith R. Parsons Vimeo.

Related Information:

 Wireless LAN Professionals Conference WLPC is not to be missed – in-person and on-demand!

 

Wireless LAN Professionals Conference on-demand video archiveAdditional information:

In a 2 part blog series, AirTight reflects on the Year of the Horse and 2014.  In the second installment, we look ahead to the Year of the Goat which began on February 19th 2015.

 

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Year of the Horse: Wi-Fi and Security Thought Leadership http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/year-of-the-horse-wi-fi-and-security-thought-leadership/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/year-of-the-horse-wi-fi-and-security-thought-leadership/#respond Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:45:00 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8388 In the 1st part of a 2 part blog series, we reflect on the Year of the Horse and 2014. In the second installment, we look ahead to 2015 and the Year of the Goat.   Read more

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In many Asian countries, the New Year is based on the lunar calendar and is dictated by the first new moon and ends on the full moon.  In the case of the Chinese calendar, each New Year is marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiacal animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

In the first part of a 2 part blog series, we start off by reflecting on the Year of the Horse and 2014.  In the second installment, we look ahead to the Year of the Goat which began on February 19th 2015.

Wi-Fi and Security Thought Leadership

Looking back on the year that was for AirTight thought leadership, we have a 6 notables to single out.

  1. Industry Recognition
  2. Strategic Partnerships
  3. Top AirTight Content 
  4. Industry and AirTight Domain & Subject Matter Expertise
  5. Most Prolific AirTight Blog Author
  6. Mojo Wireless Mobile Responsive Design

 

1) Industry Recognition

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Each year, CRN Test Center’s Tech Innovator Award program recognizes companies that deliver outstanding innovation in hardware and software solutions specifically developed for the enterprise.  To determine the 2014 winners and also those worthy of honorable mention CRN Test Center editors reviewed hundreds of products across 18 hardware and software categories.  The AirTight team is thrilled that the C-75 802.11ac access point took top honors in the 2014 wireless category.

Back in September 2014, AirTight Networks was honored with two industry awards.  AirTight won a 2014 Cloudys Cloud Channel Innovation Award and a Gold status from 2014 Golden Bridge Awards. In addition, Anita Pandey – AirTight Vice President of Marketing – was named to the @CRN 100 People You Don’t Know But Should 2014 list.

Great things are happening! Congrats @scrapecorp @gofrontera & our partner @Airtight! #CPEXPO

Great things are happening! Congrats @scrapecorp @gofrontera & our partner @Airtight!

More info at “Smart Dining & Dining Smart: Technology in the Restaurant Industry”.

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2) Strategic Patnerships

Greg Griffiths, VP Retail Solutions for Earthlink Business, discusses the value of AirTight’s Wi-Fi soutions for “small box” retailers.

Earthlink Discusses AirTight Partnership for Secure Wi-Fi by CRN via YouTube

IHL Group, retail research firm, AirTight Networks and EarthLink recently partnered to conduct one of the first-ever studies that provides insights into the retail industry’s plans for store networking, WiFi, security and engagement.

What the survey showed:

  • 82% of large to medium-sized retail participants have already deployed in-store WiFi
  • 57% of enterprise retail participants offer both customer and employee WiFi
  • 28% of retailers report that customer loyalty increased due to deploying in-store customer WiFi
  • 70% of retail participants currently outsource their store level WAN to managed service providers
  • 34% of retail participants will update their store level WiFi technologies in 2015

View the SlideShare summary infographic.  Interested in the full results? Register here to get the final IHL study.


3) Is Your Mobile in Sleep Mode?

The most popular AirTight blog series (of all time) was authored by Troubleshooting Pro and Principal Systems Engineer  Bhupinder Misra.  Published in late September 2014, the iOS8 blog series, inclusive of its SlideShare companion, has garnered over 48,000 readers and continues to get strong daily views.  It received numerous mentions including some in the Washington Post, Gizmodo and The Verge.

The iOS8 blog series provides detailed information on the iOS8 MAC Randomization feature and analyzes its impact on Wi-Fi locationing and analytics solutions in general.  Find out about certain conditions under which iOS8 may randomize the devices MAC address, while in other conditions it may use the device’s authentic MAC address.

iOS8 Blog Series by Bhupinder Misra

iOS8 MAC Randomization – Analyzed!

iOS8 MAC Address Randomization Update

iOS8 Companion SlideShare

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4) Notable Content:  Domain & Subject Matter Expertise is the Sweet Spot

The Year of the Horse was marked by top industry voices.

 

AirTight Contributions:

If you missed the Retail Next webinar  on connected stores (featuring Greg Buzek - IHL, Kevin McCauley -AirTight, and Greg Griffiths - Earthlink) you can see a replay at rtou.ch/store-networks

If you missed the Retail Next webinar on connected stores (featuring Greg Buzek – IHL, Kevin McCauley -AirTight, and Greg Griffiths – Earthlink) you can see a replay at rtou.ch/store-networks

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5) Most Prolific @AirTight Author:  and the award goes to ….

This should come as no surprise to regular Mojo Wireless readers.  The most prolific Mojo Wireless blog author is Doctor Hemant Chaskar who wrote 11 posts in the last year.  You can easily access all of them from here.  In particular, “Understanding FCC decision regarding Wi-Fi containment at Marriott” was a much talked about topic in 2014 and some of Hemant’s most popular content.

Understanding FCC decision regarding Wi-Fi containment at Marriott via AirTight blog

Companion SlideShare:  Marriott Fined 600K by FCC for Blocking Guests Wi-Fi

Hemant recently took up this same topic at the WLAN Professionals Conference in Dallas.  You can view the SlideShare summary and / or view the video.

TT – Network Ops in WIPS Deployments from Keith R. Parsons on Vimeo.  SlideShare Companion:  Staying on Top of Security and Spectrum Rules in WIPS Deployments by Hemant Chaskar (WLAN Professionals Conference – February 2015)

 

If the U.S. Navy had its way, the Bridge might have been painted black and yellow stripes to assure even greater visibility for passing ships.

If the U.S. Navy had its way, the Bridge might have been painted black and yellow stripes to assure even greater visibility for passing ships.

6) Out with the Old Look, In with Mojo Wireless!  

At about the same time as the iOS8 blog series was published, AirTight migrated its blog platform to a Mojo Wireless mobile responsive design.

In addition to being friendly to all types of devices, the mobile friendly theme enables readers to easily find the latest posts and also search the site for topics of interest.

 

Year of the Goat

Be sure to read the second installment of this blog series as we look ahead to the Year of the Goat which began on February 19th 2015.

 

Additional Information:

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ISP Network on the Home Side and the Role Wi-Fi May Play http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/isp-network-on-the-home-side-and-the-role-wi-fi-may-play/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/isp-network-on-the-home-side-and-the-role-wi-fi-may-play/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:00:34 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8587 As the net neutrality debate rages, Hemant Chaskar delves into how ISP networks are organized. Not surprising he found that the ISP core network and service provisioning therein can get pretty complex. Additionally, he found that even at the access layer and in-home networking there are many technologies at work.   Read more

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Recently, net neutrality has been a hot topic of debate. The discussion mostly centers on Internet video transmission in the ISP (Internet Service Provider) core network.

Net neutrality (also network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.  More info.

The commission is set to vote on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s aggressive proposal — which will regulate Internet service providers as public utilities and set new standards for speed and pricing — on Thursday February 26 2015, when it is expected to pass by a partisan vote of 3-2.  More info.

As the net neutrality debate rages, it piqued my interest into how ISP networks are organized.  Not surprising I found that the ISP core network and service provisioning therein can get pretty complex.

On the other hand, I found that even at the access layer and in-home networking there are many technologies at work. Specifically on the topic of in-home networking, it seems that there were a lot of technology developments in last 10 years for the wired network. However, moving forward, Wi-Fi could hold good potential for in-home networking as a harmonized standard. There is a good chance that the Internet will soon be categorized as a utility for the home. So read on to find out how this utility is delivered by ISPs to homes in the U.S.

Fiber/Cable Mix in Access Network

Every ISP uses optical fiber in the network. The differences among them are in how much closer to the home the fiber is laid. There is a range of fiber/cable mix:

  • FTTN (Fiber To The Node),
  • FTTC (Fiber To The Curb),
  • FTTB (Fiber To The Building) and
  • FTTH (Fiber To The Home).

fiber-cable mix in access network (drawing)

ISPs such as Comcast and AT&T use optical fiber network up to a node (FTTN) in their network. Signals are distributed from the fiber node to the homes using electrical wires. Cable companies such as Comcast use coaxial cable on the electrical side (hence also called has Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) network), whereas AT&T uses twisted pair copper telephone wire (Cat 3 cable) on the electrical side.

Comcast and cable companies run a medium access control protocol called DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) for data transmission on the coaxial cable network. DOCSIS runs on top of physical layer which uses FDM (Frequency Division Multiplexing) channels and QAM modulation on the cable. There is support for channel bonding for higher data rates. In contrast, AT&T uses a variant of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), namely VDSL on the Cat 3 wire.

At the other extreme, ISPs such as Verizon and Google use optical fiber all the way to the home (FTTH). For multi-dwelling units and businesses, the FTTH provider can pull fiber to the building. This is then called FTTB (Fiber To The Building or Fiber To The Basement) architecture.

Fiber To The Curb (FTTC) isn’t very common. It was used by Bell South which now is part of AT&T.

In-home Networking and the Potential for Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi and in-home networkingFor signal distribution inside the home, coaxial cable has been an attractive option since greater than 90% homes in U.S. have coaxial cable infrastructure (spanning three generations of cables and splitters).  Technology developed by MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) enables  IP networking on top of in-home coaxial network.

The devices connected to coaxial cable outlets in home are MoCA nodes and MoCA supports full mesh IP connectivity between the nodes. So in case of Comcast FTTN, the cable modem box will be one of the MoCA nodes and also the one that converts between incoming DOCSIS to in-home MoCA. For Verizon FTTH, one of the MoCA nodes needs to have an optical fiber interface to hook into the incoming optical fiber.

MoCA is not the only technology out there for in-home networking. For instance, AT&T FTTN instead relies on HPNA (Home Phoneline Networking Alliance) technology to enable IP networking over in-home telephone (twisted pair copper) wiring.

Depending on the method of broadcast TV transmission used by the ISP, these in-home nodes may also need to convert TV signals to IPTV format. For example, in the case of Comcast and Verizon, ditital TV transmission coming into the home is not IPTV format, whereas AT&T uses IPTV transmission right from the core network.

Wireline technologies such as MoCA (for coaxial cable), HPNA (for Cat 3 telephone cable) and HomePlug (powerline) were devised in the last 10 years for in-home networks.

A question comes to mind as to whether Wi-Fi can emerge as contender for in-home networking moving forward.  After all, it is cost effective, has mature standardization and has prevalent support in all end devices.

Thinking aloud, what would be some of the requirements that Wi-Fi will need to satisfy for in-home networking?

  • Voice and video distribution will be a major ISP application inside homes. Not only does this require support for high bandwidth (multiple HD streams simultaneously), it also requires managing jitter and latency over in-home Wi-Fi links.
  • There is a need to define topology for adequate coverage in larger homes. Some of the end the devices themselves could be used as range extenders or repeaters to meet this requirement.
  • Technology that ISPs deploy in homes need to score high on reliability, dependability and plug and play. Support calls from customers are the last thing ISPs want if they have to operate profitable business.
  • To effectively deal with customer complaints, there will need to be an easy way to remotely troubleshoot these in-home Wi-Fi links.
  • For the in-home Wi-Fi equipment, price points need to be low even though features are challenging.
  • With ever increasing Wi-Fi penetration, how will Wi-Fi performance be assured in the unlicensed spectrum? We may need a much larger spectrum slide for Wi-Fi.

I did not find any coordinated industry effort like previous wired technologies to define Wi-Fi requirements for in-home ISP networking. It appears ISPs are working with vendors independently to create solutions.

The in-home signal distribution over Wi-Fi presents a nice opportunity for innovation moving forward, and given the volume of these deployments, there should be ample incentive to pursue this track. Irrespective of which way the net neutrality vote swings, we can expect to see more activity in coming years on Wi-Fi for in-home multimedia networking at ISP scale.

My thanks to Tushar Saxena, former MoCA board member and now colleague at AirTight, who pointed me to various references on ISP networks and also let me to pick his brains on the ISP technology.

References:

Straw Poll #2: What types of devices do you have connected to home network | via Zaid Kaleem @WLANbook   -

Straw Poll Results: 60% of people surveyed have 15+ devices on home network | via Zaid Kaleem @WLANbook -   

Straw Poll: How many devices do you have connected to your home network? — I’m at 21 devices (family of four!!) | via Zaid Kaleem @WLANbook

<<< Updated February 26th 2015 >>>

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2015: Banner Year for Retail Wi-Fi http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/2015-banner-year-for-retail-wifi/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/2015-banner-year-for-retail-wifi/#respond Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:00:00 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8514 All indications are that 2015 will be a banner year! Stay tuned for new technology developments in Wi-Fi and see what AirTight brings out in the coming year.   Read more

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The New Year is a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make.  January is usually all about resolutions, setting goals and getting a fast fresh start.  This applies just as much in business as it does on an individual level.  All indications are that 2015 will be a banner year in the Wi-Fi industry as well as for AirTight partners and customers!

New Leadership at AirTight

The closing weeks of 2014 saw AirTight add two key executives to the company:

  • Rick Wilmer as Chief Operating Officer
  • Mike Anthofer as Financial Officer

In an interview with CRN, Rick shares his thoughts on why he joined AirTight.

“The caliber of their engineering and technology talent is impressive. I believe this team has the potential to do something remarkable in the enterprise Wi-Fi space.”

Source: AirTight Networks Adds Top Exec Talent In Bid To Make Wi-Fi More Social. Via CRN News, December 2014

All Indications are that 2015 will be a Banner Year

AirTight continues to see demand share shift from a direct sales model to the channel. The company is on track to achieve its goal of 80% sales through the channel in 2015 globally, while 100% of international sales will continue to be through the channel. AirTight is forging new partnerships with key managed service providers including Earthlink and Hughes.

Retail’s Biggest Show of the Year

2015 opened with a bang for AirTight Networks. We just came back from the National Retail Federation’s 104th annual conference and expo, also called Retail’s Big Show, which took place Jan. 11-14 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.  #NRF15: What a whirlwind of activity it was!

The technology is changing the world around us, and retail is not immune.

Key themes of the show, echoed in many sessions and show floor conversations, centered on how retailers can remain relevant in today’s increasingly digital world. Stores are the place where 90 percent of sales still occur, but mobile and digital commerce is growing rapidly.

Top 6 Retail Trends to Watch in 2015 | By Justin Honaman via RIS News  — January 05, 2015

Retailers also face the dual problem of creating an ‘experience’ while reducing the hassles of shopping. They are looking for technology to connect the dots between mobile, digital and physical worlds, putting them ahead of competition – with support from big data, analytics and new ways to engage customers.

5 Key Takeaways from NRF 2015

Through the voice of key industry players and various articles and research papers, we summarized 5 key takeaways from NRF 2015.  They are:

  1. Driving Innovation – From Store Environments to Digital
  2. Mobility, Locationing, Engagement and Security Converge in the New Store Environment
  3. Security Threats are a Business Problem, Not Just IT’s
  4. On the Road to Frictionless Fulfillment: Omni-channel Integration With an IoT Twist
  5. Bottom Line: Loyalty is the Name of the Game – now more than ever!

1) Driving Innovation – From Store Environments to Digital

The connected shopper is here (to stay), and a recent survey from Wi-Fi Alliance and Wakefield Research found that 48% of consumers are more likely to shop in a retail store that provides wireless Internet, while more than a third use their mobile device to research a product review while shopping.  Source:  Edgar Figueroa via Information Week Network Computing, January 2015

“To innovate in an omnichannel world, retailers need to get rid of the constraints of thinking by channel, but also must test and learn concepts — and pay attention to what’s happening outside of the retail industry.”  Source: The Challenge of Retail Innovation by Jennifer Overstreet via NRF.com

“For me as a marketer, looking beyond the theater and magic, it really comes down to the data. It’s all about unlocking the data for the different silos so you can make smarter decisions.” – Emily Culp, senior VP of e-commerce and omni-channel marketing at Rebecca Minkoff.  Source: Best of NRF 2015: Bringing the Theater Back into Retail by Celia Brown via Forbes.

“When you fail, and I hope you do — because if you don’t fail you aren’t experimenting enough — kill projects, not people.” – Terry Jones, Travelocity.com founder and digital disruptor.  Source: Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch by Sarah Rand via NRF.com

2) Mobility, Locationing, Engagement and Security Converge in the New Store Environment

Infographic: How retail beacons work.  “A beacon is like a barking dog — it gets your attention." —Kevin McCauley, director of retail market development at AirTight Networks.

Infographic: How retail beacons work – via Dell Tech Page One . “A beacon is like a barking dog — it gets your attention.” —Kevin McCauley, director of retail market development at AirTight Networks.

“We are a decade away from the end of the traditional POS. The entire process will need to change, not just the register. It is more of a business problem than a tech problem.” – Ratnakar Lavu, EVP of Digital Innovation, Kohl’s.  Source: Via RISnews: The Absolute Best Stuff Overheard at NRF 2015

By 2020, retail businesses that utilize targeted messaging in combination with internal positioning systems will see a five percent increase in sales. By 2016, there will be an increase in the number of offers from retailers focused on customer location and the length of time in store.  Source:  Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2015 and Beyond

The top tech trends for retailers consisted of in-store Wi-Fi, payment systems, PCI compliance and security, according to a Jan. 13 study by IHL Group.  Source:  NRF 2015: Addressing retail’s secure perimeter by Brian T. Horowitz via Dell Tech Page One.

36 percent of retailers plan to invest in Wi-Fi within next 12 months.  Source: IHL Study: 36 percent of retailers plan to invest in wi fi within next 12 months via SlideShare

3) Security Threats are a Business Problem, Not Just IT’s

The challenge is that two-thirds of all companies that have experienced a data breach become aware of it only when notified by someone else — and criminals are inside a system for an average of 229 days before they’re detected.  Source:  Time to Go on the Offensive Against Cyber Threats. By Fiona Soltes via NRF.com

“Security is not just an IT problem. It’s a business problem. It is a CEO and board-level problem and not just something for the CSO or CIO.” – Bryan Sartin, Verizon.  Source: Via RISnews: The Absolute Best Stuff Overheard at NRF 2015

 34 percent of retailers plan to invest in security in the next 12 months.  Source:  34 percent of retailers plan to invest in security in the next 12 months  IHL Study via SlideShare

Connecting with today’s customers via new in-store technologies is critical but can increase privacy and security risks exponentially.  Source:  Earthlink Secure Storefront

4) On the Road to Frictionless Fulfillment: Omni-channel Integration With an IoT Twist

“One of the biggest problems that IoT may help to address is that while retailers can – and do – track consumers’ paths-to-purchase in the digital space, shoppers are invisible to retailers in the store until they get to the checkout counter. Since consumers still overwhelmingly choose the store as the place where their paths-to-purchase are finalized, retailers want to be able to put the same kind of value messaging in front of consumers in the physical space as they do in the digital world.” – Brian Kilcourse, RSR Research managing partner.  Source:  NRF 2015: Internet of Things rises up the agenda, via Essential Retail.

In 2015, CIOs will invest in omni-channel integration technologies as a top priority to support growth in the omni-channel shopper sales premium of 30%. Over the next 3 years, half of CIOs across the top 250 retailers will adopt omni-channel IT governance to combat shadow IT.  Source:  IDC FutureScape: WorldWide Retail 2015 Predictions

5) Bottom Line: Loyalty is the Name of the Game – now more than ever!

According to a new study from EarthLink, 28% of retailers reported increased customer loyalty due to in-store Wi-Fi.  Source:  Study: Can In-store Wi-Fi Lead to Increased Customer Loyalty? Via Loyalty360

40 percent of retailers plan to invest in a loyalty mobile app; only 14 percent have it today  Source: 40 percent of retailers plan to invest in a loyalty mobile app ==> only 14 have it today IHL Study via SlideShare

Retail turned to sports to get insights on how they can leverage fan engagement and team performance strategies that have created some of the most successful sports leagues and teams in the world.  Source:  “Game Changer: Loyalty and Performance Lessons from Passionate Sports Fandom” panel.  NRF.com on YouTube

Wireless Engagement – From Pipe Dream to Reality

Wi-Fi has become the intersection where virtual and physical shopping experiences meet. The evolution is creating profound changes in the way retailers communicate and engage with their customers.

To address the questions surrounding the implications of in-store Wi-Fi, AirTight Networks recently released “Retail Wi-Fi: A guide for wireless customer engagement and security” which discusses technology trends, explores big data opportunities in retail Wi-Fi analytics, and provides examples on how retailers can use Wi-Fi to deliver new in-store shopping experiences to increase sales and build brand loyalty.

Download the Ebook: “A Guide for Wireless Customer Engagement and Security”.

New Study: Store Infrastructure and Impact on Customer Engagement

IHL Group, retail research firm, AirTight Networks and EarthLink recently partnered to conduct one of the first-ever studies that provides insights into the retail industry’s plans for store networking, WiFi, security and engagement (some of the findings are referenced in the bullets above).

What the survey showed:

  • 82% of large to medium-sized retail participants have already deployed in-store WiFi
  • 57% of enterprise retail participants offer both customer and employee WiFi
  • 28% of retailers report that customer loyalty increased due to deploying in-store customer WiFi
  • 70% of retail participants currently outsource their store level WAN to managed service providers
  • 34% of retail participants will update their store level WiFi technologies in 2015

Interested in the full results? Register to get them when the final IHL study is released in February.

IHL Group Store Infrastructure Survey, 2015 Preliminary Results -> infographic from AirTight Networks

Retail Wi-Fi is Evolving

For NRF 2015, AirTight Networks announced updates to its Wi-Fi solution for retail, including Nano, its mobile cloud management application, now available with custom skins for key MSPs, and an in-browser messaging feature. Read the announcement on AirTight’s web site: AirTight Networks Enhances Multi-Unit Retail Wi-Fi Offering for NRF 2015.

For NRF 2015, AirTight Networks announced updates to its Wi-Fi solution for retail, including Nano. More info.

For NRF 2015, AirTight Networks announced updates to its Wi-Fi solution for retail, including Nano, its mobile cloud management application, now available with custom skins for key MSPs, and an in-browser messaging feature.

Nano simplifies Wi-Fi configurations and compliance reporting by exposing several key features of a cloud Wi-Fi management console via a mobile web app. The configurations done through Nano are synchronized with the enterprise cloud management console, so that retailers and their MSPs can layer additional cloud services on top of basic configurations done through Nano. They also retain full visibility into brand-wide Wi-Fi analytics and engagement metrics.  Source: AirTight Unveils Wi-Fi Config Tool for Retail via Channel Vision Magazine.

Read the announcement on AirTight’s web site: AirTight Networks Enhances Multi-Unit Retail Wi-Fi Offering for NRF 2015

 

2015 Will Be a Banner Year for Wi-Fi

With NRF having set the tone for retail Wi-Fi, what’s ahead for the Wi-Fi industry as a whole?  We have just the ticket! Read Hemant Chaskar’s blog post for his take on where 2015 will take us: 2015: The Year of Experience and Scale

Here’s the skinny:

In 2015 we can expect 5 key Wi-Fi Trends:

  1. Super-Size: Deployments as large as hundreds, thousands and up to a million APs
  2. Super-Charge: ISP, MSO, MSP business model enablement, increased spectrum of engagement applications, CRM integration and big data set analytics
  3. Scalability Behind the Edge: Importance of backend systems to support Super-size and Super-charge
  4. Right Offer, Right Time, Right Place: Integration of multiple platforms such as Wi-Fi, iBeacon and other innovations
  5. Opinions and Requirements: Concerns around monetization, intrusiveness and privacy are hot topics in 2015

Here’s the replay of the webcast with Hemant: OnTheFlyWifi webcast , or see it directly on YouTube.

All indications are that 2015 will be a banner year! Stay tuned for new technology developments in Wi-Fi and see what AirTight will bring out in the coming year.


2015: Banner Year for Retail Wi-Fi | via @AirTight blog #NRF15 #WiFi #retail
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Additional Information:

 

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2015: The Year of Experience and Scale http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/what-type-of-wi-fi-scalability-requirements-can-we-expect-in-2015/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/what-type-of-wi-fi-scalability-requirements-can-we-expect-in-2015/#respond Fri, 16 Jan 2015 21:25:50 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8494 Scale versus Scalability: They are different notions. Scale is mostly about numbers, but scalability incorporates business enablement in addition to scale.

In the Wi-Fi industry, we’ve always talked about "scalability at the edge" which is about higher wireless speeds, more clients served, high density and so on. This will continue to be important in 2015 as more applications and clients connect to Wi-Fi.

However, there is another scalability requirement that is becoming increasingly important in some verticals. I call it "scalability behind the edge" and I think that it will be a hot topic in 2015.

What is "scalability behind the edge"?   Read more

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Scale versus Scalability

They are different notions. Scale is mostly about numbers, but scalability incorporates business enablement in addition to scale.

In the Wi-Fi industry, we’ve always talked about “scalability at the edge” which is about higher wireless speeds, more clients served, high density and so on. This will continue to be important in 2015 as more applications and clients connect to Wi-Fi.

However, there is another scalability requirement that is becoming increasingly important in some verticals. I call it “scalability behind the edge” and I think that it will be a hot topic in 2015.

What is “scalability behind the edge”?

As I see it, there are two aspects to “scalability behind the edge” – quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative

Historically, quantitative, in a large WLAN deployment could mean hundreds to thousands of APs under single management. This is characteristic of private enterprise which was the main vertical for Wi-Fi.

Now that ISPs and MSOs are entering the ever increasing Wi-Fi market, the number of APs under single management is set to rise exponentially: going to the hundred thousand to million device range. Tackling the deployment, configuration, monitoring, security, troubleshooting of such a “super-size” deployment is challenging to say the least!

Now you might say that there are a few Wi-Fi providers that have done large scale deployments today. Kudos to them, but keep in mind that they are early adopters. Early adopters are willing to take the challenge of adapting whatever is available at a given point in time and make it fit for their requirements. However, when things become mainstream and the competitive landscape becomes crowded, tailor made solutions are desirable. Current back-end systems are tailored to enterprise deployments and that will not suffice for the “super-size” deployments.

Qualitative

On the qualitative side, the business requirements of these massive deployments differ from the enterprise vertical on many fronts. For example, if you look at ISPs, they are entrenched in low touch home deployment business models. It’s only natural that they will try to apply their established business recipe to business Wi-Fi services.

So the big scalability question is … will today’s back-end systems enable that approach?

Another aspect of qualitative scalability is services delivered on Wi-Fi. In the enterprise context, Wi-Fi mostly supported enterprise applications and where guest Wi-Fi was a matter of convenience for visitors. However in the ISP, MSO or MSP business model, guest Wi-Fi, or public facing Wi-Fi if you will, is a key element of the business offering. The scalability aspect stemming from this requirement is in the form of big data set analytics and integration of multiple guest engagement platforms into Wi-Fi.

Quantitative and Qualitative Scalability Behind the Edge

“Scalability behind the edge” has 2 vector considerations: quantitative (volume) and qualitative (business enablement).  In 2015, expect to see innovations on both fronts.

What type of engagement platforms will be prominent in 2015?

Last year we already saw the emergence of MAC analytics, social Wi-Fi and loyalty recruiting over guest Wi-Fi. Love them or hate them, these will continue to be around, and are likely to be “super-charged” in 2015.

In 2014, from a Wi-Fi analytics and engagement perspective, it held true that “what happened in Wi-Fi stayed in Wi-Fi”.

However, now there is an increased push to integrate Wi-Fi engagement with back-end CRM platforms. Such integration will require high performance APIs between the Wi-Fi system and the CRM platforms. This will be used to derive insights from various big data sets.

What will happen to captive portal in 2015? And what about Hotspot 2.0?

Captive portals initially came into being as a legal requirement for disclaimer. With disclaimers in place, marketing discovered that they could leverage the portals for customer engagement. Since legal is unlikely to remove the requirement for disclaimers, marketing is likely to continue leveraging captive portals. In fact, I see them becoming richer in terms of content, as well as becoming more contextual and dynamic.

Also, in the past, a technical issue with captive portals has been the variability in how different clients react to captive portals. This was either due to their proprietary captive portal auto-detect mechanisms and/or micro-browser implementations. Sometimes this would even become a blocker in establishing a Wi-Fi connection. In the future, these types of technical issues should go away as a natural path to maturing implementations. Hotspot 2.0 can also help here somewhat as it has a mechanism to indicate captive portal to prospective clients.

In the service provider space, Hotspot 2.0 will be prominent and the current form of captive portals will dissappear. However, a new incarnation is now emerging, it is called “in-browser messaging on Wi-Fi”.

In-browser messaging on Wi-Fi: What is it?

In-browser messaging on Wi-Fi provides the ability to overlay content and in-browser apps on a Wi-Fi user’s browsing session. This approach renders captive portal 1.0 irrelevant but the engagement channel now exists in the form of in-browser messaging.

Of course, you can also use in-browser messaging along with captive portal… The more things change, the more they stay the same … or do they?

What about alternative technologies like iBeacon? Are there others?

In 2015, there will be some mainstream deployments of iBeacon. Though people talk about iBeacon as fine grained location tracking technology, I predict that most deployments this year will be zone based. There again, I think the biggest challenge is the back-end which is where decisions are made on what content to send to the user based on an iBeacon proximity trigger.

This is the job of the “offer layer” and the “content policy layer” that need to be present behind the iBeacon infrastructure.  These layers are mostly missing today (at scale) and will evolve in 2015.

Beyond iBeacon, there may be furtherance of other techniques such as POS (Point of Sale) integration, surveillance footage analytics and so on.

 

Mobile Mind Shift:  the expectation that you can get what you want in your immediate context and moment of need.  Source: Forrester

Concerns around Monetization, Intrusiveness and Privacy are not going away!

Monetization, intrusiveness and privacy will continue to be hot topics in 2015.  I categorize monetization and intrusiveness as “opinions” and privacy as “requirement”.

Monetization

Monetization of digital engagement is the basis of the public Internet economy. Whether it’s search tools, social media, or Internet email, all providers monetize user engagement by selling ads and analytics on their pages. In return, you get access to these offerings without explicitly paying for them. Accordingly, if you consider public Wi-Fi as part of the broader public Internet, then it can be inferred that public Wi-Fi will be monetized in the same manner.

Intrusiveness

When you go to an NHL hockey game, there are ads around the rink boards but the main action is on the ice. In that same vein, consider that there are ads around the pages you browse on the public Internet.

As in enjoyment of a hockey game or consumption of content on a browser, I think that the key is to strike the right balance between engagement and intrusion.

This balance might be different across markets and geographies.  Unlike the NHL, the Spengler Cup hockey tournament held annually in Switzerland features a more overt advertising strategy on player and referee uniforms.  What is the right approach?  It depends what the market will bear.

Getting back to Wi-Fi, how can meaningful engagement be achieved without offending your users?  That is the key question and I think that the answer should be “within the limits of acceptable quid pro quo for the target market”. Strike the right balance and most people will be fine with it; cross the line and users go away.

The boundaries of Wi-Fi monetization and intrusiveness will be tested in 2015.

Privacy

Privacy concern exists for all information that is digitized and put in the network. This is not just a Wi-Fi engagement specific issue. So we need to take cues from what is being done in other fields for privacy protection.

It then comes down to the chaining of multiple controls to minimize the chance of violation. The controls that stand out are:

  • Opt-in controls (user chooses what to disclose),
  • Engagement application and Wi-Fi infrastructure controls (These try to limit collection of personally identifiable information without the user having to make a selection. For example, controls on OAuth server is Social Wi-Fi or Facebook Graph API 2.0 controls about what information an app can collect), and
  • Legal, policy and compliance controls.

There is a wealth of experience on this front with organizations in ISP, MSO and retail verticals. So, I am hoping that right balance will be achieved between engagement and privacy over Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Scalability and Engagement in 2015

To summarizes, in 2015 we can expect 5 key Wi-Fi Trends:

  1. Super-Size:  Deployments as large as hundred thousands to million APs
  2. Super-Charge: ISP, MSO, MSP business model enablement, increased spectrum of engagement applications, CRM integration and big data set analytics
  3. Scalability Behind the Edge: Importance of backend systems to support Super-size and Super-charge
  4. Right Offer, Right Time, Right Place: Integration of multiple platforms such as Wi-Fi, iBeacon and other innovations
  5. Opinions and Requirements: Concerns around monetization, intrusiveness and privacy are hot topics in 2015

May the New Year be filled with plentiful Wi-Fi!.

Related Information:

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View the companion On The Fly Wi-Fi webcast (episode 13 on-demand): Mike Leibovitz and Hemant Chaskar discuss scale and engagement trends for 2015.

On The Fly Wi-Fi

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Kaustubh Phanse talks 4Cs and The Future with Cloud Wi-Fi http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/kaustubh-phanse-talks-4cs-future-cloud-wi-fi/ http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/kaustubh-phanse-talks-4cs-future-cloud-wi-fi/#respond Fri, 05 Dec 2014 16:30:28 +0000 http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/?p=8421 What is the CxOs to do? Whether you’re a CEO, CMO, CIO/CSO, or COO, your organization’s future must have a stake with cloud Wi-Fi. Dr. Kaustubh Phanse, VP of Content and Product Design at AirTight Networks recently keynoted on this very topic at CRN’s NexGenCloud Conference. In case you missed his keynote, you can flip through the SlideShare companion.   Read more

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What is the CxOs to do?  Whether you’re a CEO, CMO, CIO/CSO, or COO, your organization’s future must have a stake with cloud Wi-Fi.  Dr. Kaustubh Phanse, VP of Content and Product Design at AirTight Networks recently keynoted on this very topic at CRN’s NexGenCloud Conference.  In case you missed his keynote, you can flip through the SlideShare companion.

IDC logoCloud-managed business Wi-Fi – infrastructure and managed services – will reach $653 Million in 2014 and $2.5 Billion by 2018.

Source:  IDC Insight Report, March 2014

Gartner logo‘Risk-On’ attitudes and modern technology key to business growth in the digital era.

Source: The 2014 Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey, April 2014

AirTight Cloud Services™ provide a cost-effective, easy to manage, scalable and robust solution to deliver enterprise class Wi-Fi access, wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) and regulatory compliance.

Dr. Kaustubh Phanse keynotes at NexGenCloud Conference:  4Cs and The Future with Cloud Wi-Fi

Dr. Kaustubh Phanse keynotes at NexGenCloud Conference: 4Cs and The Future with Cloud Wi-Fi. View the companion SlideShare.

Individual customers or even MSPs managing multiple customers can centrally manage the AirTight WLAN and WIPS services as well as other applications such as WizShark and BrandBuilder from AirTight’s single sign-on Mojo Studio console.

AirTight’s C-75 802.11ac access points and the companion MOJO Studio cloud-based portal provide value-added business services beyond basic connectivity. The access points combine rich data analytics with social Wi-Fi to help customers build targeted loyalty programs, while also providing measurement of the marketing programs’ performances through visibility into customer traffic and engagement.

Additionally, they offer AirTight’s top rated wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS), customized guest Wi-Fi and social sign-in options for guest engagement.

AirTight’s channel partners can design their own value-added business services, such as wireless vulnerability assessments for proactive threat prevention. They can also create custom branded engagement leveraging AirTight’s BrandBuilder™ application to build Wi-Fi splash pages.

Get things done quickly and simply!

Powered by AirTight’s RESTful Web APIs and SS, AirTight Nano provides enterprise Wi-F functionality with consumer-level user-friendliness.  AirTight Nano provides a level of simplicity unprecedented in the configuration of an enterprise access point (AP). It gives personnel, with or without IT skills, the ability to customize their Wi-Fi networks right from their mobile device – even remotely, – without the need to go into the cloud console. They can get Wi-Fi up and running in minutes with enterprise-class features.

AirTight Networks vision for the moretization of wifi

Recognized as an innovation leader in the wireless space, AirTight is at the forefront of moretization of Wi-Fi. Dr. Phanse’s keynote addresses this central thesis.  The same topic was also recently covered by Dr. Hemant Chaskar (VP Technology and Innovation at AirTight) and Pravin Bhagwat (AirTight CTO) in discussion with Rohit Mehra (VP Network Infrastructure at IDC) in the following video interview.

Video:  Rohit Mehra (VP Network Infrastructure at IDC) questions Hemant Chaskar (VP Technology and Innovation at AirTight) and Pravin Bhawat (AirTight CTO) about “monetization” and “more-itization” of Wi-Fi.  click-to-tweet

4Cs and Planning for the Future

In the end, Dr. Phanse concludes that CxOs must make sure whatever WLAN they choose gives them the ability to provide an instantaneous, positive user experience that will meet the expectations of their business and customers, without compromising security.

 

Related information:

  • Dr. Kaustubh Phanse keynotes at NexGenCloud Conference:  4Cs and The Future with Cloud Wi-Fi | via SlideShare

 

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