So, me and Dirk Gates were hanging out the other day in San Jose…. I run in those circles, you know. (Sean Connery may or may not have been in the room, but that’s another story.) Dirk and his posse were busting some funky narrative on Xirrus wireless, and Tom Hollingsworth was serving me coffee while I took it all in. Ah, life was magical for a couple of hours. But how did Xirrus, you know… do?
Pretty damn good, actually (for the most part). Here’s how it went down, what I took away, and what might have made it just a bit sweeter.
The night before Xirrus did their excellent presentation, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Xirrus VP of Product Marketing, Bruce Miller. We chatted easy about mutual acquaintances, goings in in both of our lives, and Xirrus’ looming presentation. Miller is a class act.
Back to the presentation. Dirk opened the show with a nice overview of his founding of Xircom, and passed around some interesting kit from the pre-802.11 days of “cordless Ethernet”. This is one sharp Exec. Gates’ professional history is fascinating, and you gotta appreciate that he has made an empire out of doing WLAN different from the rest of the pack, despite keeping up with feature sets. Xirrus has an 802.11ac offering, application visibility, a cloud story, and all the trappings that go with the typical enterprise WLAN system. But as anybody in the business knows, Xirrus is not the typical WLAN system when it comes to the Access Point side of the equation. And this is what makes the company controversial at times.
To address the controversy square on, Gates brought THE BIG GUN, and he stole the show. Mr. Avi Hartenstien is Xirrus’ Director of RF Engineering, and as you can see from the video, Avi IS the magic beyond Xirrus’ multi-radio arrays. Regardless of whether everyone in the room was converted, Avi did a great job of presenting and defending the Xirrus antenna technology. I can tell you as one who has built antennas (for amateur radio) that visual and electrical characteristics of antenna designs can be worlds apart in ease of comprehension, and this may be Xirrus’ biggest liability. People just can’t “see” it as presented.
Overall, Xirrus did great, and I give them a lot of credit for coming back after WDF5.
At the same time, there was a bit of discussion among delegates after Xirrus did their presentation, and I took a couple of things away from that as well:
- Xirrus ends up being the WLAN servicing a number of big conferences (Microsoft, Interop, others), but many of us have been to those events and have been less than impressed by the Wi-Fi. As high-visibility as these tech conferences are, Xirrus would do well to make sure that whatever integrators are doing the shows with their gear absolutely get it right, because these events may not be working in Xirrus’ favor from the word-of-mouth perspective.
- Xirrus would do well to offer an array or two to Field Day Delegates and other analysts to play with, not because we want free stuff, but because getting product that you believe in into the hands of skeptics can be the best way to alleviate the skepticism.
I thoroughly enjoyed this session, and I know I learned more about how Xirrus “does it”. I wish them the best in market that is growing both in opportunity and competitiveness.