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Posts Tagged ‘WFD5’

Wireless Field Day 6 – We’re Back!

January 27th, 2014

Update:

Please see our recap of Wireless Field Day 6

Original post:

Last August, AirTight Networks made its Wireless Field Day debut. We had such a good time with all of the delegates and organizers that six months later we’re back as the opening presenters for WFD6 on January 29, 2014, 10 a.m. Pacific.

We welcome the returning delegates

  • Sam Clements
  • Blake Krone
  • Keith R. Parsons
  • Jennifer Huber
  • Lee Badman
  • Jake Snyder
  • George Stefanick

And also four new delegates!

  • Scott Stapleton
  • Richard McIntosh
  • Evert Bopp
  • Germán Capdehour

Of course we want to thank the Tech Field Day team for their hard work on this event

  • Stephen Foskett
  • Tom Hollingsworth
  • Claire Chaplais

Watch us live (or watch us later)

You’ll be able to see our presentations streamed live at Techfieldday.com. After the event we’ll provide links to the recordings on our web site.

10 am to noon—Pacific, Noon to 2 pm—Central, 1 pm to 3 pm—Eastern

What are we presenting?

Well that’s for you to find out on Wednesday, but here are a few clues to get you started. Another hint: if you ask enough questions on Twitter, perhaps things will start to become a little clearer.

In memory of No. 5

AirTight #5 balloon

Have you seen our balloon?

While WFD5 was an awesome experience, it was tainted with sadness and grief as our much loved #5 balloon disappeared from our premises at the end of the event. The last sighting was at the Meru WFD5 presentation. An investigation proved that Meru was in no way complicit with the disappearance. So perhaps the balloon acted on its own accord and stowed itself away on the delegates’ bus (highly unlikely). It may have been lured away by a bad man (possibly), or was unwittingly taken by an overly enthusiastic delegate caught up in the celebration (maybe likely).

So during your busy day, please take five seconds to reflect on our missing silver mylar number 5 and please keep your eyes on your own balloons – keep them safe and tell them that you love them.

Have a safe and enjoyable Wireless Field Day!

WiFi Access, Wireless Field Day ,

Pleading the fifth at Wireless Field Day 5

August 15th, 2013

 

AirTight R&D and support teams, based in Pune (India), tune in live to watch WFD5.

AirTight R&D and support teams, based in Pune (India), tune in live to watch WFD5.

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It’s not often that you get a group of Wi-Fi independent thought leaders together in the same room.  Last week, we had the privilege to address such a group at Wireless Field Day 5 (WFD5).  This was the first time that AirTight presented at the semi-annual event.  We’re hoping to be invited to the next one in February.

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AirTight Networks to Make its Live Tech Field Day Debut at Wireless Field Day 5 in Silicon Valley

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What made this event all the more interesting is that our session was streamed live over the Internet. An AirTight video archive was then created and can easily be referenced at any time from the Tech Field Day site.  In fact, all vendor presentations can be found here.

|The AirTight session started off with a welcome by CEO David King.  His talk provided a view into the richness and depth of the wireless industry and even included a reference to Dilbert Wi-Fi.  Following are a few tweets that reflect the sentiment around David’s introductory remarks.

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wirelessguru tweet

Keith R Parsons tweet

 

 

 

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Stephen Foskett tweet

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Next came a demonstration of the AirTight user interface and ease-of-use by Dr. Kaustubh Phanse, principal wireless architect and chief evangelist, and an analytics and social Wi-Fi demonstration by Sean Blanton, senior systems engineer.

These two demonstrations were then followed by a technical presentation on the AirTight cloud-based Wi-Fi management plane by Dr. Hemant Chaskar, VP of technology and innovation.  For more depth around what differentiates a cloud-based Wi-Fi management plane from traditional architectures, you’ll want to read this @CHemantC  blog post.

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AirTight WFD5 picture archive by Jennifer Huber

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There was no shortage of questions for each of the presenters and it seems that the candor of AirTight answers was well received. The WFD5 delegates waste no time in voicing their opinions.  This blog post by Blake Krone was published a few minutes after the final ‘innovation’ presentation by CTO Pravin Bhagwat.  Ryan Adzima later published a post titled NMS UI and the product managers that hate us.

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radzima

 

Each WFD5 delegate was given an AirTight C55 AP to test drive via AirTight’s cloud service.  If you’d like to experience AirTight cloud Wi-Fi for yourself, request your free AP today.

|Free AP Banner

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Enquiring Minds Want To Know …

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The delegates are a very social bunch and their questions and comments light up Twitter as the sessions progressed.  Their curiosity knows no bounds and it seems that nothing is off limits. There were even tweets asking about the meaning of the tattoo on Sean Blanton’s forearm.  If AirTight is invited to WFD6, Sean might be convinced to show them the one on his back …

And while we’re on the topic of questions, we’re wondering whatever happened to the AirTight “5”? We think that Lee Badman knows … but he’s pleading the fifth.

 

More on WFD5 and the complicated world without wires

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802.11n, WiFi Access, WLAN networks, WLAN planning ,

Next generation cloud-based Wi-Fi management plane

August 7th, 2013

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In early days of cloud Wi-Fi, incumbents used to say that cloud Wi-Fi was just about moving traditional controller appliances to centralized data centers. As time progressed, it became clear that this was a gross mischaracterization of cloud Wi-Fi. In the first dimension, cloud Wi-Fi would differentiate from traditional architecture by decoupling the data plane from the control plane (also called “local switching”). However, this alone wasn’t adequate since tying the control plane to centralized controllers created an inefficient architecture. Accordingly, the second new dimension consisted in moving the control plane to the edge of the network (also referred to as “smart edge APs”).

There is also a third dimension where “true cloud Wi-Fi differentiates even further from the traditional architecture. This dimension is not easily visible to the end user, though it results in substantial differences in the operation efficiency of the cloud backend. Eventually, these efficiencies pass on to the end user either as cost savings or features. This third dimension is about how the Wi-Fi management plane is implemented in the cloud – this is the topic of this blog.

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Virtualization

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The benefits of virtualization are many and varied. Full virtualization of the Wi-Fi management plane gives greater speed and efficiency in provisioning and re-provisioning the cloud resources. It allows for taking advantage of the rich features of the virtualization OS, which are geared towards better cloud implementations. As a result, fully virtualized cloud backend for the Wi-Fi management is a big step beyond the blades and appliances provisioned at the data center.

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Resource Sharing

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Multi-tenancy is an essential feature of a true cloud management plane. Multi-tenant servers in the cloud can concurrently host sandboxed workspaces for different customers. This provides benefits of sharing the high end computation resources across many customers.

However, there are also other resource sharing benefits that can be achieved in the cloud management plane.

Let’s take the example of disc storage. Virtualized instances can derive benefit from SAN (Storage Area Network) disc arrays as opposed to discs attached to appliances and blades. Apart from being more reliable than appliance based discs, they also allow for use of efficient disc redundancy techniques such as RAID5 (with 3 discs and intelligent parity based redundancy, it causes only 50% storage overhead), compared to RAID1 (which requires 2 discs and does brute force data mirroring with 100% storage overhead) of appliance based systems.

Another example would be that the fully virtualized management plane can be deployed in (N+1) redundant fashion. This is possible because virtual machines can be quickly and automatically moved from any of the N running instances to the standby instance – in the event that any of the N instances were to fail.  With appliance based systems, you are mostly constrained to legacy (1+1) redundancy which increases the overall cost of solution. That being said, virtual instances can also be deployed in (1+1) redundant fashion if so required for specific deployments (N = 1). Because of the way in which AirTight cloud is implemented, it offers a sliding scale of redundancy for customers to choose from; ranging from the best value to the extreme redundancy.

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Horizontal Scalability

 

This is not something that you will get just by virtualization, though virtualization can be leveraged for better horizontal scalability. Horizontal scalability (also called “elastic cloud”) is a concept that is application specific and applications need to be architected to permit it. In the Wi-Fi management context, horizontal scalability could mean seamless expansion of the management resources at the data center to subsume increasing demand in the end user network. This typically happens when deployments grow as more APs are added, and especially when they start overflowing capacity of single server instances. How each vendor handles this is unique to the vendor. In the AirTight cloud, we have our own way of resource pooling to provide horizontal scalability to enable single pane of glass management in AirTight’s HTML5 management console for very large deployments and for managed service providers. We also have elastic analytics engine that can grow horizontally as the data set continues to grow.

 

Multiple Layers of Fault Tolerance

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True cloud Wi-Fi implements multiple layers of fault tolerance. For example, at the AP level, APs need to be able to operate autonomously with no reliance on the management server for traffic forwarding and for offering services such as handoffs, captive portals, firewall, etc. For deployments which also care about security, the AP/Sensor should be able to perform full WIPS functions without reliance on the manager. In the AirTight architecture, we refer to this as “standalone” operation, which ensures that the service at the edge is not disrupted at all – even if the Wi-Fi management server is unreachable. In addition, a resilient service discovery network with geographically replicated databases ensures that the connected edge device will quickly and reliably find its home in the cloud from anywhere. Fault tolerance on the server side is provided via redundancy techniques I’ve already discussed. Additionally, features of a virtualization OS, such as snapshotting are useful to add an additional layer of protection during upgrade processes.

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Good Things in the True Cloud Wi-Fi Management AirTight Cloud ServicesPlane

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These are some things that can only be found in the Wi-Fi management plane that is designed bottom up to be hosted in the cloud. While these things may not be directly visible to the end user, they are important for the cloud operator and also result in indirect benefits to the end user. Simply hauling Wi-Fi management servers to the data centers does not allow for these benefits. So, we now have one more dimension by which to compare true cloud Wi-Fi with traditional architectures – the good things found in the cloud-based management plane!

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#WFD5

 

Want to hear more about this topic?  Tune into Wireless Field 5 (live on August 8th from 8-10 am PT, or watch from the TechFieldDay archives). You can also follow the Twitter discussion with the WFD5 hashtag.

WFD5 tweet from Gestalt IT

 

AirTight Networks to Make its Live Tech Field Day Debut at Wireless Field Day 5 in Silicon Valley

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802.11n, Cloud computing, mobile device management, WiFi Access, WLAN networks , , ,

AirTight Demos on Demand and WFD5

July 31st, 2013

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IDC’s recent IT Buyer Experience Survey reveals that “45% of the buying decision is made before your potential buyer even says “hello” to your sales rep.” and “buyers are more knowledgeable and connected”.

If you’re still in the investigation stage (as suggested by the IDC survey) and not quite ready for a customized personal demo with an AirTight expert, you might want to check out the first three installments in our Demos on Demand series.

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Airtight Demos on Demand

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Demos on Demand serves the communication needs of tech vendors and resellers across vertical industries with its video platform and content library.  Airtight is excited to leverage this innovative platform to present in depth product information to assists buyers by showing what our product is, what it does, and how it does it. 

Sean Blanton, senior systems engineer for the US Western region is featured in the first three installments of our Demos on Demand series.  Sean joined the AirTight team in early 2013.  He’s a Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH).

As the title of the first video implies, in ”Quick Installation Guide“, Sean begins with a discussion and then goes through a step-by-step walk-through of the Airtight Wi-Fi installation process.  After a brief introduction, he covers the management console and its HTML5 GUI access, and then moves into location and configuration settings.

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quick installation guide image 

Cloud Managed Wi-Fi for the Distributed Enterprise is the second video from the series.  After a brief architectural overview, Sean covers 6 main sections: Location-based Management, Enterprise Wi-Fi, Guest and Social Wi-Fi, Device Templates, Devices, and Wi-Fi Analytics and Reports.

 

cloud managed 

The third video focuses on WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System). In this video, Sean gives a quick introduction in which he touches on: WIPS Overview, Information about Wireless Threats, and AirTight Marker Packet™ Techniques. This introduction is followed by an AirTight WIPS demonstration.


WIPS

 

Once you’ve gone through these 3 videos, if you still have questions and want to know more, feel free to sign up for a customized personal demo with an AirTight expert.

If you have comments on how we can make these videos better, please don’t hesitate to pass along your suggestions.  We’re in the process of  recording other videos and can incorporate your feedback to make them even better.

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Wireless Field Day 5

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While we’re on the subject of demos, on August 8th between 8 and 10 am PT, you can watch Airtight present from Wireless Field Day 5 on this page

Sean Blanton will be joined by  Pravin Bhagwat – CTO, Hemant Chaskar - VP Technology and Innovation, Anthony Paladino – VP Global Technical Services, Kaustubh Phanse – Chief Evangelist, and David King – CEO.  Be sure to tune in for an opportunity at some techie giveaways. Follow @Airtight and the WFD5 delegates on Twitter as we’re talking SMAC from WFD5.

You might want to check out the following blog articles that were recently published as a lead up to WFD5:

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Not only are we pumped about next week’s event, we’re already planning for the next one!  In case you can’t make it on August 8th, you’ll be able to find Airtight in the WFD5 archives.

 

Additional Information:

802.11n, mobile device management, WiFi Access, Wireless security, WLAN networks , , , , ,

Retail Survival: Enabling the Consumer

July 30th, 2013

The age of the empowered consumer is upon us. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article called Mobile Shopping’s Data Goldmine, some 44% of shoppers use their smartphones while they’re shopping; more than a third of them are comparing prices. The impact of mobile research can be profound, affecting the buying behavior of nearly 90% of mobile shoppers,” according to the HBR article.

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HBR Blog Network _ Mobile Shopping's Data Goldmine

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Customer empowerment is extending beyond mobile as consumers become comfortable interacting with retail companies through any channel available, including ecommerce, online, kiosk, voice, webchat, and more. The question is how aggressively retailers are moving to enable this new reality for the customer.

 

As the following short (and funny) video below shows, shoppers want to take a lot more into their own hands.

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she's in your stuff

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How to Respond?

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The video shows a future that is frightening to many retailers, but it needn’t be. Leading retailers are taking a number of steps now to get in front of this approaching tidal wave.

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1) Optimize in-store shopping 

 

Accenture Seamless Retail Study

Accenture Seamless Retail Study

Rather than fear consumer empowerment, retailers should embrace it. In a survey of 6,000 consumers polled across eight countries (US, UK, Germany, Sweden, France, Brazil, China and Japan), Accenture found that the majority of respondents believe that integrating in-store, online and mobile is the number one thing that retailers can do to improve the shopping experience. An IBM study found that, contrary to expected concerns about loss of privacy, “the majority of shoppers were willing to contribute 20 minutes on average to help a retailer better understand their desires in order to provide them with more meaningful offers based on their past purchases.”

By encouraging in-store customers to use their own devices to join a social Wi-Fi portal, retailers can further bridge the gap between the physical and online space.  They can raise awareness about their mobile app and loyalty program.  Stores can deliver personalized offers tailored to specific interests or particular profiles, allow for social sharing and feedback, as well as collect profile information and user analytics (ideally after opt-in).

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2) Create a “Wow” Store Experience

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As consumers increasingly use technology to find the products and services they want at the price they want, what’s the value of the store? Certainly not for inventory lookup and ordering when shoppers can do this themselves. And no longer for immediate gratification as Amazon and other ecommerce sites neutralize this physical store advantage by partnering with same-day delivery services.

Create a “Wow” Store ExperienceThe purpose of the store will evolve to provide an exciting, rich physical experience. Consider a new flagship AT&T store in NY where the “experience” of shopping for mobile or network technologies is being transformed and includes:

    • 130 digital screens
    • The Explorer Lounge to play and learn about apps that interest them.
    • The App Bar where “app-tenders” serve up one-on-one or group demos, which are also displayed on multiple video monitors on the Apps Wall.
    • An 18-foot-high Connect Wall that shows interactive content and product information visible to the entire store and passers-by.
    • Products, apps and accessories organized by needs in the Lifestyle Boutiques, including Get Fit, Be Productive, Share Your Life and Chicagoland.

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3) Empower Frontline Sales

 

You don’t want your sales associates to have less power or knowledge than your customers. But in many stores customers are outfitted with the latest mobile devices, while sales staff has no electronic equipment beyond the register. If equipped with smartphones and tablets and targeted apps, however, sales associates can demonstrate how products work or immerse customers in interactive mobile environments.   The approach can be as simple as training staff to guide customers through existing tools.

At Burberry stores, some 20% of Burberry’s total sales are on iPads, and half of these are from staff iPads in store, according to the Harvard Business Review article mentioned earlier. The article also noted that “by engaging in activities like these, salespeople shift into the role of helping customers rather than simply selling to them.”

AT&T is also having success at its New York City store by arming its salespeople. The retailer rolled out a mobile POS system that has changed AT&T’s concept of retail, expanding the store’s capacity during busy times. Using tablets added efficiency and promoted interaction, creating transparent, friendly, knowledgeable experiences. According to Paul Roth, president of AT&T retail sales and service.

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“They just like us more when we use a tablet. This changed the way we do business.”

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Additional Information:

Evaluating a Wi-Fi Solutions Provider? Make Sure They Talk SMAC

Evaluating a Wi-Fi Solutions Provider? Make Sure They Talk SMAC

Mobile Shopping’s Data Goldmine via Harvard Business Review

Accenture Seamless Retail Study

IBM Retail Study

Evaluating a Wi-Fi Solutions Provider? Make Sure They Talk SMAC

Sometimes you gotta talk some SMAC!   by Geoffrey Moore @geoffreymoore

AirTight Social Solution Brief

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Another Controller-less Wi-Fi Solution by Matthew Norwood @matthewnorwood

The ‘New’ Enterprise WLAN Vendor by Lee H Badman @WiredNot

Product Review: AirTight Networks Wi-Fi by Craig Mathias via @NetworkWorld

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AirTight Networks expands cloud-Wi-Fi product line

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Catch @AirTight at Wireless Field Day 5, August 8th from 8 to 10 am PT (live) or via #WFD5 video archive

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802.11n, Best practices, mobile device management, PCI, smartphones, WiFi Access, WLAN networks , , , , , , ,