Synology Adds Networked Cameras to It’s Lineup

I’ve never met a fellow Synology customer that wasn’t impressed with the company’s Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Regardless of the specific model in use, these boxes go far beyond storage and to me equate to being mini-data centers. Among their far-ranging applications is Surveillance Station, which I have ran for several years now using a couple of no-brand cameras. The application itself is pretty slick, though my cheesy cameras have been less than impressive at times. That’s one of the reasons I was tickled to hear that Synology was introducing their own camera models- the BC500 and the TC500.

This is Synology’s first dip into the IP CCTV camera market, and they are starting with a bullet camera and a turret style camera. There is not yet a wireless offering or a PTZ model, but the the BC500/TC500 models are a decent start to what I hope blossoms into a bigger pool of camera devices from Synology over time.

Synology TC500 at Wirednot HQ
Synology TC500 setup page and live view

I had the advantage of being familiar with Surveillance Station when I started to look at the two new Synology cameras. It is worth mentioning that these cameras (to the best of my knowledge) are most usable within the Synology ecosystem- they wont play with other DVRs beyond providing an RTSP stream. (This isn’t unheard of- my Ubiquiti UniFi Protect cameras are also vendor-locked.) I have two Synology NAS devices, and I run Surveillance station on the beefier of them, the DS1618+ which has a RAM upgrade to 16 GB from the 4 that it shipped with. The use of Surveillance Station with multiple cameras streaming to it has not bumped my NAS CPU or RAM in any discernible way.

For those who didn’t know, Synology also has dedicated video storage solutions versus using your NAS for other purposes and video storage.

Synology BC500 mounted for testing at Wirednot HQ
Synology BC500 live view

Both cameras feel solid enough in the hand, and the simple mounts and manual adjustment features for both are effective. I have the BC500 fully exposed to the elements and it has done fine in two pounding rainstorms so far and both are IP67 rated.

You’ll need Power over Ethernet (PoE) in the form of an adapter or Ethernet switch port as the cameras do not come with their own adapter or transformer. I interpret this to mean that Synology expects to sell these primarily into environments beyond the home, like to businesses who would have PoE ports available to leverage. I ran both cameras on PoE switches from Meraki, Ruckus, and Ubiquiti with no issues whatsoever. They power up quick and just work faithfully in my environment, using only Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps).

Male model on loan for this blog

Back to Surveillance Station. For third-party cameras, Synology gives you two free licenses before you have to pay per-camera to use them in the application. The BC/TC500s don’t require a license, and are an order of magnitude easier to set up in Surveillance Station than third party cameras. There is a range of recording and detection options, on par with even big systems I’m familiar with like Genitec. The person and vehicle detection is nice, as is the capability to mask parts of the recording view for privacy concerns and to define detection zones. There’s really a lot here if you choose to use the system beyond the very capable default settings. The digital zoom with the new Synology cameras runs circles around any other camera I have in use right now, as does the nighttime IR feature.

I did not attempt to use the cameras in stand-alone mode, where instead of recording to Surveillance Station you record to MicroSD cards on the cameras. I did read that if you opt for that the card has to be removed to view it’s contents, which is a really strange requirement that Synology needs to address sooner rather than later.

At $219 per, I feel that Synology has priced these on the high side of fair, but still within what I would consider reasonable. At the same time, only Synology customers are likely to buy them, so hopefully we see bundling deals or something similar to keep us interested when weighing the BC/TC500s versus less expensive cameras to use with Surveillance Station. I have no doubt that Synology’s own cameras will always integrate better, but price is a big deal to people. I would buy these, especially after having used them, but I also would understand if cheaper third-party options were chosen to use with Surveillance Station by people who don’t have the luxury of trying them out.

Rather than regurgitate specifications for Synology’s two new cameras, let me point you to the company’s spec sheet. Overall, they are absolutely wort considering and as mentioned earlier, I hope to see more models from Synology.

Netool.io Pro2- A Good Thing Just Got Better

Netool.io Pro2 at Wirednot HQ

Today’s network tool market really isn’t all that big. We love our support tools, sure- but if they don’t bring consistent value, they won’t stick around. Back in 2017, I think it was, the small Nevada company brought the original Netool to market. I wrote about the introduction of the Pro model back in 2020. Now, three years later, we see the company and the product have stood the test of time.

For those totally unfamiliar, all versions of Netool.io are meant to be highly pocketable (or carried in the available belt holster) so those in the field working with Ethernet switches always have it with them. The tool talks via Wi-Fi (or now Bluetooth) to an application on your phone or tablet, and you connect a patch cable between the Ethernet port on the tester and a network switch. Then what? Let’s see some visuals.

There’s a lot more to show, but hopefully you get a general sense of what the little unit offers. Beyond pretty decent characterization of the local environment, there is a switch configuration side as well. Complete feature list stolen from the Netool.io web pages:

Netool.io Pro2 Features

The USB-C charging port is handy in today’s world, as is the ability to connect a flash drive for .pcap storage during packet capture. CPU and memory are bulked up over the last version, and run time exceeds a typical busy work day.

I have been playing with the Pro2 in my home lab environment which at current is Meraki and Ubiquiti on the wired side (the Netool is not a wireless tool, remember). It’s peppy, easy to pull information and performance feedback from, and I am a fan of the new Netool.io Cloud service. In my opinion, NetAlly absolutely aced this way of storing and sharing test results with their Link-Live service, and it’s nice to see another network field tool provider follow suit.

My current on-hand cloud-managed switches don’t lend themselves to benefit from the config capabilities of the Pro2, but other environments I do manage could absolutely benefit and I look forward to trying out the possibilities again, having kicked tires a bit on the earlier Pro version. One example of configuration capabilities is here.

It really is an impressive, super portable tool that pretty much any network field technician would benefit from. On my wish list for refinements would be a single app for all models of the tool. Right now there is an app per model- no one’s biggest problem but feels a bit odd. Also, Power over Ethernet has become such a pervasive part of networking that I would hope to eventually see some basic PoE verification in the Netool.io mix.

Learn more about Netool,io Pro2 here.

Oscium’s Wi-Fi 6E Spectrum Analyzer

With Wi-Fi 6E networks being implemented, 6E access points shipping, and new 6E client devices introduced to market, those of us in the WLAN support game need to make sure we have tools to function in the new and expansive 6 GHz spectrum. Fundamental to wireless support is the ability to display the RF environment through the use of a spectrum analyzer. Oscium has a fairly deep history in the Wi-Fi spectrum analysis realm, and has introduced their Clarity model for the 6 GHz part of the 802.11ax world- in addition to working in 2.4 and 5 as well with a band span of 2.2 GHz to 7.25 GHz.

Physically, Oscium’s Clarity is just gorgeous. It has a solid well-engineered feel to it and is very nice to look at (as silly as that might sound.)

Oscium’s Clarity

Unlike past Oscium spectrum analyzers, you’ll need either a Windows PC or a Mac for Clarity- no mobile devices are supported yet. Also unlike Oscium’s other spectrum analyzers, Clarity cannot natively show 802.11-related information on detected SSIDs in the environment as it does not have that capability under the hood from the chip perspective. It is strictly RF views, unless coupled with a tool like Intuitibits’ Wi-Fi Explorer Pro 3 when run on a 6E Macbook. At the time of this writing, no such Macbook exists so even Wi-Fi Explorer Pro 3 can only show 6E spectrum and not SSIDs when Clarity is used as an external adapter. Hats off to Intuitibits for building in support despite suitable hardware not yet being available.

Here’s Clarity looking at my Meraki 6E environment at Wirednot HQ:

And… what it looks like in the Wi-Fi Explorer environment, so far.

Read more about Oscium’s Clarity at the company’s product page.

Hamina, bitches…

So, how long HAS it been since a new WLAN design tool hit the market? Arguably, this has been a space long-dominated by de facto monopoly. And sure, most of us in WLAN Land created and supported the monopoly. It was working for everyone. But then circumstances changed. Companies were bought. People changed. And people have a way of making things great, or laying waste to years-cultivated credibility. Such is life.

But wait- I was talking about WLAN design tools. There’s a new one out there, you realize… Now, I know that you know that I know that a whole bunch of us already know about Hamina. It’s really a rather small community of wireless professionals, and people talk to each other. They share. And Hamina is definitely a hot topic right now.

Beyond just being weary of what an incumbent tool vendor might be doing under new management, I think many of us are ready for a more lightweight design experience. Lighter on the wallet, lighter on the hardware required to run the tool, and lighter on the fable that Wi-Fi design is something akin to rocket science that requires razor precision. After a while, some stories start to collapse under their own weight. That’s not to say existing tools aren’t still effective, but paying ever more to use to use them is in no way a privilege. The notion of who is working for who sometimes gets blurred,

So why look at Hamina? To start with, it is feature-packed for WLAN design, on par with any leading tool. It’s in version 1.0 currently, and feels very intuitive to use. Everything you’d expect to see for 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz are there. Bring in the CAD files if you’d like or do your walls and such manually. You can model your designs, and then model what a client (using various device types) would experience in the environment as they move around. It works well in my experience, so far as a design tool.

Differentiators? Hamina is browser-based. Run it on Windows, run it on Mac without installing software. Run it on a locked down corporate machine. And for me at least, the 12-month cost for the WLAN-only version is a fraction of what the competitor charges just for renewal after purchase. Add in 4G/5G features, and the cost is still quite comfortable for the higher tier. And it all seems to work well in my experienced opinion- even in the early versions. There are other niceties in the mix that I may or may not personally use- BLE and LoRaWAN planning, planning for cable runs and network switches and such.

Take a look at Hamina, says I.

Hamina, bitches!

Arista Numbed My Brain at Mobility Field Day 8 (and not in a good way)

I hesitated a bit about writing this blog, in the spirit of “if you can’t say something nice…”. And we all know that when someone says “no offense, but…” the rest of the statement is likely going to offend. But I’ll take my chances here, and start off by saying I really DON’T want to offend, and the following opinion is just that- my opinion. As for the individual gents from Arista who presented at Mobility Field Day 8, you won’t find nicer folks. Jatin Parekh, Kumar Narayanan, Nadeem Akhtar, Pramod Badjate, and Sriram Venkiteswaran are obviously extremely intelligent and also passionate in their presentations. They collectively bring great credit to the House of Arista.

Now on to my frustration (did I mention that I am well aware that this is just MY OWN opinion?). Funny things happen to the time-space continuum when you are involved with a technical presentation. As a presenter, there often isn’t enough time to say and show everything you’d like to. As a consumer of the content on the other side of the table, time sometimes flies by because you are so engrossed in what’s being presented, and hours feel like minutes that you don’t want to end. Other times minutes feel like someone stretched each one by a factor of 10X as you try to not drift off to your happy place to escape the presentation that can’t end soon enough. Unfortunately, I was really struggling to stay locked on to Arista on this go round.

What happened for me here?

I’m fortunate in that I’m a many-time Field Day delegate who gets to occasionally hang out with the very women and men who define and shape the networking industry. That is truly a gift. The other side of that privilege is that sometimes a given vendor’s latest presentation can sound and feel a lot like the last one, if you have done a number of Field Days. That is not the vendor’s fault, but it is where I found myself on this outing.

Even though many of the words and topics were different than my last go round hearing Arista present at a wireless or mobility Field Day event, the vibe was the same. To me, it felt a mile wide and an inch deep for the most part. There was waaaaaaaay too much about Cognitive Everything and just not enough on the topic of wireless. I’m probably guilty of assuming I’d hear mostly about wireless-specific topics, but by the time we finally got there I was fairly done in. I found myself thinking the following random thoughts:

  • Arista bought Mojo, and Mojo was AirTight before that
  • I have yet to meet anyone who ran AirTight or Mojo wireless, and still have yet to meet an actual Arista wireless user (Arista data center networking is a whole different story)
  • Often, Arista refers to a giant wireless environment in India as did Mojo, but that’s hard to get energized about given the previous bullet
  • Arista isn’t the only Mobility Field Day vendor to do the “Let’s introduce the whole freakin portfolio and all of our marketspeak, and if you’re still awake at the end we’ll touch on a little bit of wireless” approach, but I was primed for differentiators. Like what is truly compelling about the mobility side of the Arista house these days?
  • Can I use Arista wireless if I don’t have Arista switches and don’t want to do VXLAN? If so, how?
  • Too much dashboard talk is smothering, I tellya
  • Come on…. where’s the radio stuff? Where’s 6E?
  • Where are your real-life WLAN-specific success stories?

You get the point- I personally didn’t get much out of it. As people we’re all wired differently, and I’m guessing some of my fellow delegates maybe have a different take on the MFD8 Arista presentations. But for me, I just could not get into it. Yet I know that Arista HAS to be doing cool wireless stuff where the rubber meets the road- where real wireless devices connect to the network and no one gives two figs about Cognitive Whatever.

I very much want to see Arista back at future Field Days whether I’m a delegate or watching at home, but I’d also like to see them shake up their formula a bit. Put more Mobility in your Mobility Field Day presentations, says I.

Reading this, I feel a bit like a jerk having written it. So be it- I mean it constructively and I stand behind it.

We Shouldn’t Need Wyebot, But We Do

Just a taste of the Wyebot UI

Wireless network systems are expensive- like insanely expensive- and they are only one part of a given enterprise network environment. You can spend top dollar on market-leading WLAN hardware, switches, RADIUS servers, DNS and DHCP systems, Active Directory resources, security stuff and more You can have veteran IT craftspeople design, install and configure it all- and still have problems that are not only hard to solve but also hard to even start looking at when an end user tells you they aren’t happy. It is what it is, and many of the built-in tools that SHOULD help don’t do a particularly good job when you most need them.

Enter Wyebot.

I’ve been dipping toes in the Wyebot waters for a few years now, and was happy to see the Massachusetts-based company presenting at Mobility Field Day 8. Through the years I have been less than impressed after testing other 3rd party sensors and monitoring overlays (excluding 7signal, whose methodology I find to be quite effective), as false alarms are the norm and the systems frequently become just another high-cost glass of pain to ignore shortly after implementation.

I’ve personally found Wyebot to work well in effectively characterizing the WLAN space it operates in, exposing all of the WLAN-oriented details a wireless admin needs to know about. What’s there? How are the SSIDs configured? Where is contention and the potential for trouble? Which Wi-Fi networks are deviating from best practices? That’s the easy stuff. It also does highly-reliable synthetic testing that you define (one area where other sensors just don’t get it right) to help tell when any of the non-WLAN parts of the network are misbehaving in ways that frequently tarnish the WLAN’s reputation. I like the information delivered from the monitoring of spectrum, client behavior, and testing of upstream network resources. I find Wyebot to be a force multiplier in that it watches and ACCURATELY reports on what I care about when my pricey wireless system can’t natively get it done.

All network problems feel wireless to wireless users.

I particularly like that Wyebot not only has a robust packet capture capability for problem analysis, but you can also import wireless pcap files taken outside elsewhere using Wireshark on a laptop (just one example) and display that capture through the graphical Wyebot UI for Wyebot’s analysis of that capture. I also like that I can do wireless backhaul from the Wyebot sensors if needed.

The company is generous with free trials, and has some interesting case studies that show how organizations are using the solution.

Have a look at the Mobility Field Day 8 presentations by Wyebot. Also, see my past blogs about Wyebot here,

Well-designed and maintained wireless networks ought to not need outside tools to help keep them running well. Unfortunately, WLAN professionals know that we live in a very imperfect world. Unfortunately, not all of those outside tools are particularly effective, but I personally like what I get out of Wyebot.

The Thing About Ventev

Having just participated in Mobility Field Day 8, I got to spend some quality time with Ventev– during which I had an epiphany of sorts. We’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in many of the Field Day events through the years. They know me out there in Silly Valley where vendors and Field Day delegates come together and discuss industry trends, new products, what works and what sucks, and so on.

Being a veteran Field Day-er, I understand the routine. Vendors present what they want the world to know, delegates ask questions and make comments to dig deeper or provide criticism (some constructive, some because often the vendors can be decoupled from the reality of what end users actually need). How effective a Field Day is depends on (in my opinion) how effective the vendors are at following the guidance given to them for their presentations by Field Day management, and the quality of the delegate’s questions and comments. There are human beings involved on both sides of the table, and sometimes one side or the other just makes a given presentation laborious. Maybe boring content is offered a mile wide and an inch deep, or perhaps a given delegate just cannot shut up as they enjoy the sound of their own voice as they redesign the vendor’s product for them in real time. Again, the human factor.

One prevailing theme from the vendor side is this: WE THINK THIS FEATURE OR THINGY IS TRULY INNOVATIVE AND SO WE WILL NOW TRY TO CONVINCE YOU DELEGATES AND THE FOLKS AT HOME SO YOU WILL PAY US LOTS OF MONEY FOR THE HARDWARE AND A SHITLOAD OF LICENSES BUT YOU MAY NOT IMMEDIATELY SEE THE VALUE SO WE GOTTA WALK YOU THROUGH IT WHILE WE HOPE YOU DON’T ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS THAT COULD CUT INTO OUR STORY AND HENCE OUR BOTTOM LINE.

Nothing new here.

Let’s get back to Ventev, shall we? I promised you an epiphany.

So I’m listening to their Mobility Field Day 8 presentations about specialty enclosures, solar powered network “stations” (my word, not theirs) and antennas when a tidal wave of realization came over me. While network equipment vendors work hard to convince you that their often murky magic is worth the constantly elevating costs for what I often feel ought to be largely commoditized by now, Ventev sells fact. Ventev sells tangible reality. Ventev sells physics.

Whether it’s their Venvolt battery packs for survey work and temporary power needs or providing solutions for wireless access points to function out in the middle of Frozen Friggin Nowhere, Ventev doesn’t need to convince anyone of anything. When they talk about specialty antennas, their situational benefits are obvious and the physics of it all is instantaneously provable.

The Ventev narrative isn’t one of trying to out-AI or out-dashboard the other guy. They just make wireless environments better (or in some cases, even POSSIBLE). The Ventev story is end-to-end real, with no hype to sort through. No hyper-granular, squeeze-you-until-it-hurts-then-do-it-again-in-three-years-because-we-got-your-wallet–by-the-nuts-now licensing bullshit to hold your nose and pay for.

That is pretty sweet. And all too rare these days.

I suggest you get to know Ventev. Their presentations from Mobility Field Day 8 and earlier events are all found here.

Curse You, Documentation Lacking in Details

This blog is a wee bit wireless, but not much- so be forewarned. And the wireless that it is has nothing to do with Wi-Fi. And the point of the piece has nothing to do with wireless per se. It’s more about lost time (and almost wasted money) on documentation that leaves out important details. If that doesn’t interest you, just move along…

Still here? Good. So my wife and I are Hoosiers now- we have relocated to Indiana. I’m still a wireless and network guy for a large private university back east, but that’s a whole other story. Here in Indiana, we bought a rather nice property with both attached and detached two-car garages, which is where the meat of this post begins.

Both garages have wireless keypads attached to the door frame as one way of opening the door. The one servicing the attached garage is a Craftsman brand, the other is Overhead Door brand. Though the previous owners left all kinds of information on various aspects of our new home and it’s amenities, no codes for the door opener keypads was provided.

No worries, right? A hip tech guy like me can just reprogram them. I can reprogram anything if I hack at it long enough, and these should be child’s play.

Should be. But wasn’t… at least not for the Overhead Door brand.

The Craftsman was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Off to the Internet I went and found the info I needed toot-sweet, and had that opener factory-defaulted and reprogrammed in about three minutes. It opens, it closes using the wireless keypad. Yee-hah.

The Overhead Door unit had a bad attitude from the start. I needed a new 9V battery to begin with, and that sent me off to CVS where I discovered that drug stores in Indiana have a fairly decent hard liquor selection… But back to topic. I popped in the new battery, and got to work trying to tame this beast:

Alas, there were various versions of “guidance” on how to reset it online but they all failed me. Press “PROG + 8”. Press “PROG, 6, UP/DOWN” at same time. Press “PROG + UP/DOWN”. Stand on left foot, point a pitchfork at the sun, and yodel. Didn’t matter what I did- each attempt was met with angry you suck at this, Pal flashing lights.

But then… the golden nugget surfaced. That wee bit of info with the right level of detail that got this little project over the goal line. Behold:

BOOM! One document after another (even those from the manufacturer) said to press multiple buttons SIMULTANEOUSLY which is erroneous , capricious, arbitrary and poop. But when you press PROG, and THEN press 6 while still pressing PROG, and THEN press the up/down button while still pressing the other two, a golden light shines down from the heavens and this unit resets so you can then program it.

I pissed away like an hour and a half, and was ready to call this unfamiliar-to-me unit “bad”. But it’s out there working like a champ now, because I found ACCURATE documentation. Which is important to any and all technical systems. I couldn’t help but think I have seen similar out of market-leading networking documentation. Contrary versions of the same information, and have taken the red pill before when the blue would have been correct.

There’s nothing new under the sun, ya’ll.

Are Wi-Fi Networks in General THAT Bad?

Let me start by apologizing for a long absence here. It would seem it was my turn for life for a while. People and animals I love got sick and passed on, and those inevitable changes to each of our existences came knocking on my own door. I also had some demons that poke me at night sometimes to exercise.

But a couple of recent vendor and VAR interactions brought me back here.

Really? You Don’t NEED us?
I’ve been operating in the collective big overall networking universe for at least a quarter of a century now, so I get the rhythm of the music. Everyone has a part, and I begrudge few individuals for playing theirs (except maybe the vendor exec that has the gall to try to explain how sucking my bank account dry with complicated licensing schemes suddenly equals value or perhaps innovation). Still I’m occasionally surprised when I’m presented with some new solution, dashboard, or service that I was doing fine without yesterday and today, but if I don’t get on board my tomorrow will certainly be disappointing for my end users.

THEM: We have it to offer, so you MUST need it. It solves all kinds of problems.
ME: I’m not sure what we’re doing differently, but we don’t seem to have the problems you mention.
THEM: Bah. Everyone has those problems. Lots of them. In mass quantities. The freakin’ sky is falling!
ME: I’m gonna get some coffee now. Good talk, thanks.
THEM: You are pretty lucky then. Everyone else has problems that they need our stuff to find.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has been part of that kind of conversation.

Let’s unpack that a bit.
I always find the messaging that “lots of networks are just fraught with endless problems that you need help with” to be a little confounding. Why? I ask myself that, and I think I can answer it- beyond the “I’ve been doing this a while and have arguably seen it all” effect. I offer these:

We are on what generation of Wi-Fi now? Sixth? Sixth extra special? Shouldn’t the general kinks be worked out by now? With the Wi-Fi Alliance chest-thumping about all their certification programs and the IEEE putting out wireless “standards”, everything should generally just click, no?

No. I’m being sarcastic of course. This many DECADES after the original 802.11 miracle, we’re still dealing with driver issues. And that fuzzy, ill-defined gap between enterprise and consumer end devices, and the denial by groups like the Wi-Fi Alliance that this is a serious problem. After all, there is middleware kinda solutions that make it all right, no? Again, no. Not without paying through the nose in upfront and ongoing costs. Pffft.

So what is the expensive new dashboard, or managed services, exactly delivering? Is it telling me I got driver issues on a given client? Newsflash- I can tell that without the dashboard when a client stops working right after an OS update.

Shouldn’t proper WLAN design mitigate a lot of what the magic dashboard is supposedly figuring out? Price out Ekahau or iBwave (both fantastic tools) and the training and ongoing licensing for both. They are not inexpensive. Yet, somehow, you can design your networks perfectly using high end tools, and STILL need “help” with all the inevitable Wi-Fi issues you are going to have. Smells funny…

Speaking of expensive… Have you looked at the pricing on the latest access points? We have reached INSANITY in this area, when indoor Wi-Fi access points list prices EACH top $3K. For an access point. Without the mandatory licensing that The Industry now gets fat on. And for that lofty expenditure, you still need all the professional services and pricey dashboards because that increased pricing solves… nothing? Same problems are still with us, evidently.

You suck, Lee. You’re a real freakin’ downer, man. Perhaps. A lot of gloomy shit has been happening for me lately, but that aside- something is wrong here. Either I’m doing networking wrong, because I don’t have all the problems that I’m supposed to, OR those problems are the bogey man maybe created by The Industry to have more to sell us. We just can’t collectively be this far down the Wi-Fi timeline and be that bad off, can we? If we are, then everyone from the IEEE to the Alliance to vendors have screwed up. And if we AREN’T that bad off, then we’re being bilked for solutions that we really shouldn’t need.

Is there a point here? Whether I’m articulating it clearly or not, something isn’t quite right in Denmark, or in Silly Valley. Or is it just me?


A Wi-Fi Look at the GoPro MAX

That’s right, I said MAX. A hip guy like me isn’t going to have something called MIN junking up my life. I’m top shelf all the way. The GoPro MAX is a fascinating action camera that does what other GoPro cameras like the Hero 10, 9, 8, 7… all can do (which is a lot) PLUS lets you get freaky, like so:

You can do a heck of a lot more with a 360 camera- like Google street view kinda stuff. And… you can also control the camera via GoPro’s Quick app with a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (it’s also got GPS in there, and voice command capability. It just impresses the heck out of me, but each one of these works against the battery life.)

So… what does it actually DO for Wi-Fi?
Being a wireless professional, I can’t leave well enough alone and simply enjoy the magic. I gotta know what’s in play with the MAX and it’s Wi-Fi capabilities. Anything and everything you’d like to know is here, but stay with me and I’ll boil it down for you.

It’s dual-band- works in both 5 GHz (.11ac) and 2.4 (.11n). It appears to default to 5 GHz, and it uses a whopping 80 Mhz channel width. That’s right, I said 80… Don’t believe me? Well maybe this will change your doubting mind:

For giggles, here’s the 2.4 GHz side of the MAX doing it’s thing:

It’s always interesting to me to see how they craft the WLAN antennas in various tight squeeze products, and the MAX is definitely a tight squeeze product. The complete take-it-apart views are here, but this is the antenna view from that series:

What about about power? This little guy isn’t as skimpy in that department as I expected it to be, at least not in some frequency slices:

I see no way to manually manipulate channel, channel width, or power output settings. So far I love the control via Wi-Fi, but I can also see where if you get a number of these and other late-model GoPros also doing wireless ops together at an event, they certainly could impact the business/visitor WLAN in a noticeable way. Such is Wi-Fi life.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to make a bunch of goofy round pictures that only I find interesting…