Tag Archives: Connectify

A Crazy-Assed Idea For Business Wi-Fi

Free your minds. Are they free? OK then… What I’m about to describe is a notion so profoundly bold and stupid that I know some of you reading will think that crazy bastard just might be onto something here. We’re talking Wi-Fi, in the business setting. Where big dollars flow for infrastructure components, and where there is a precision of approach and knowledge that goes into doing Wi-Fi “for real”.

Read that last sentence again.

<pause, for dramatic effect>

What if there was another way of doing enterprise-grade WLAN that didn’t put cables in hard to reach places using expensive pathways? That didn’t need that precision approach? No, I’m not talking about meshing wireless.. that’s old news.

What if we were able to leverage the wired computers that so many businesses have, by using wizardry like Connectify to provide wireless connectivity? Add a decent WLAN adapter to your typical GigEthernet-connected PC, use magic software, and BAMMY! You got a Wi-Fi hotspot! In a business, it’s BAMMY! x100, or 500, because there’s lots of computers!

<deep breath>

So that was fun to contemplate about for about 5 seconds, but then the WLAN professionals among us start thinking “bah, what an idiot. What about channels, and power, and proper AP placement, and fast secure roaming, and big areas where there are no PCs  that still need WLAN coverage?” And there are many other problems too with this idea.

But remember… we’re talking bold and stupid.  And that makes many things possible in conversation.

What if some whizz-kid developer took the Connectify paradigm and blew it out to infinite scale, and magically coordinated all those new PC-hotspots with orchestration sorcery that could manage the RF environment, and let these new soft APs actually be part of a hybrid architecture that included real access points for areas where there are no PCs?

Here’s where I admit two things:

  • This isn’t completely my idea. A pal named Andrew who happens to be an Active Directory God planted the seed when we were talking about Connectify as we both learned about it for the first time.
  • I just had a decent shot of Jameson’s.

In my mind, it all makes absolutely perfect sense as I picture people a lot smarter than me whipping up the code that makes my strange vision work.

Laugh if you choose… but as a technologist who likes to daydream I have to think that maybe something like this isn’t as silly as it might sound to the ears of Wi-Fi folks that have always done it “the old way”.

What do you think? Is this bold and stupid? Just stupid? Bold and maybe not so stupid? I’d love to hear your opinion, or your own crazy idea.

Update: One of the really smart guys out there in WLAN thought leadership has already been down this road!