It’s been a week since I left the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference for this year behind, and my mind has been a bit of a jumble over it. There were aspects of it that were fantastic, and other parts that gurgled up some tension in my brainpan… things I can’t quite square within myself. Let’s get some of it out there, and see where it goes.
The Event Itself
If you have never been to the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference (WLPC) and are in the business of wireless, I can only recommend that you try to get there in 2021. I have been fortunate enough to attend every single WLPC. I have presented in short and long sessions, and have instructed on Deep Dives of my own creation. I’ve frequently been in the crowd, and have been a student in different instructional sessions. I’ve seen the event evolve and mature, and hands-down it is the most bang-for-buck legit conference I have ever been to. Read more on the event itself here and start saving pennies for next year.
Some of what I particularly liked as an attendee this year beyond the always good Wi-Fi content:
- New faces in the crowd, more presenters that had never spoken at the event in the past.
- Content like CBRS making it’s way in- wireless does go beyond Wi-Fi. I’d like to see more of this. Point-to-point bridging needs occasional representation, says I!
- Drew Lentz was having a blast with his Wi-Fi Stand scavenger hunt and the sponsoring of the Whiskey and Wi-Fi podcast. Both were a very nice add to the conference experience.
- Seeing the runners, the religious, and the yoga types getting together for their own time together outside of conference hours.
- The generosity of folks with the giving of hats, stickers, booze, or hugs to old and new friends.
- I am soooo glad this event is anywhere but Vegas.
My Fellow Man- The Good
I have been around. As a blogger/writer/community member/frequent Tech Field Day delegate/WLPC goer/man of the world, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people through the years. For me, events like WLPC are almost like a family re-union of sorts. Having dinner in The Hall of Great Luchadores with wonderful company is the kind of time spent that is long remembered, and that brings a smile every time the mind wanders to it. Conversations by the food trucks, a passing fist-bump on the way to coffee break, hanging with the elusive Bender for a bit… all great stuff. There’s so much that is good and warm and positive and fun at this event I really can’t put it all into words. I’ll end this section by saying I am thankful that there are other men and women out there that are not ashamed that they are still little kids on the inside… we all tend to find each other and can talk lofty technical and life topics like polished professionals, and then suddenly fall into the most silly of banters without skipping a beat. That’s priceless.
My Fellow Man- The Sadder Part
People are the worst part of… well, people. We drive each other nuts. We do stupid stuff. We say stupid stuff. We can’t yield a point to end a contentious interaction. We hold grudges. We hurt others and then can’t believe that someone would have the gall to hurt us. We fall in and out of favor with certain groups of people for various reasons. When we’re “in”, it’s awesome. When we’re “out” it sucks. We don’t know how to simply move on. WLPC is people, and people are freakin’ messy. As a long-timer, sometimes the community dramas feel like my beloved extended family members squabbling (although I know that to those involved, each contentious issue has substance- I don’t mean to minimize anything here). All I can say is that none of us is getting any younger. Give each other and yourselves a break. It doesn’t really matter who is right and wrong. One of the the greatest gifts we can give each other (and ourselves) is a second chance. <End of preaching.>
The Wi-Fi Awards- Some Opinions
Conceptually, I like what the program is trying to achieve. At the same time, a few things about the Wi-Fi Awards have been bugging me. Here’s one man’s take.
The categories and finalists for 2020, the inaugural year for the awards, is here. You’ll note that I was nominated (not by me, mind you) for Content Contribution, along with some fantastic gents. But beyond this blog, I write professionally for IT Toolbox, Search Networking, Network Computing, and whoever else wants to pay me for work. I think that this category should be narrowed down to those who are not getting paid for their content, or at least not getting paid by outside companies (is OK to pay yourself kinda thing). I’m a Cisco Champion, and I don’t do the associated blog contest there either because I’m a professional writer. In short- this category needs to refine itself, or split into amateur/professional, or something.
In both Innovation and Product categories, I’d like to see tools have their own category and to not compete against infrastructure products. It just feels weird.
Also, it feels really strange that small self-made companies like MetaGeek and Tech Field Day are up against behemoths like Cisco and Aruba. From a vote-getting perspective, The Bigs have bigger fan (and employee) bases and are naturally going to squeeze out the little guys on votes- at least in my mind that’s how it works. Maybe somehow recognize small innovation companies versus large?
I don’t see eduroam as a “product” in any way, shape, or form- that one threw me. Also, many of the products/things being recognized were not new in 2019- should that be a criteria? Not just a cool product, but a cool product that came out in the previous year?
Not throwing dirt- this program is a very nice add to a great community and industry. I just wonder if the criteria needs scrutiny. I’d be curious if anyone agrees or disagrees with my perspectives.
Whew. I did it. I feel better now. Hope to see you all in Phoenix next year.