Tag Archives: Dennis Burrell

Ventev Products Make the WLAN Better

As I watched the Ventev presentations being delivered as a delegate at Mobility Field Day 5, I couldn’t help but think of my own positive experiences with the company’s antennas, enclosures, and site survey power supply products.

A quick aside- if you didn’t realize: Ventev=Terrawave=Tessco. All same-same. It is what it is.

Problems Solved.

To me, Ventev has frequently been the answer to “We got a unique wireless network situation, we need a unique solution” scenarios. Sometimes i’s a mounting issue, other times its a question of pushing signal in a specific direction. One thing I LOVE about Ventev in this era of hyper-complicated WLAN systems, licensing, and code bugs is that their products play in the “No BS zone” of wireless networking. You need a thing, you need that thing to work right and for a very long time, you pay for it once, and you enjoy the fruits of making a good choice. 

That zone is getting smaller when it comes to enterprise WLAN, sadly… as the space ventures deeper into Marketing And Gratuitous Complexity That We Can License The Hell Out Of Above All for certain vendors. Thankfully Ventev  is outside of those games, and will be an important player in reliably putting the icing on any vendor’s wireless cake.

A Look Behind the Technical Curtain

I have made my share of antennas. Some have worked fantastically, and some were complete duds. I’ve been doing Wi-Fi since the early days, when making your own Pringles Can antenna for 2.4 GHz was a thing, and have been a licensed amateur radio operator (KI2K, Extra Class) for longer. Pieces of wire, coaxial cable, copper pipes,  threaded rods, and all sorts of bits and pieces have been fashioned into antennas by my my hands. When you make your own then test for performance, you get a different appreciation for antennas that do what you want and need them to.

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During the Mobility Field Day 5 presentations, Ventev gave us feel for how they approach antenna design, then iterate that design for whatever important criteria is in play. For example, sometimes an antenna is big, sometimes it is small with the same general coverage- this comes about by manipulating wavelength fractions and other parameters to end up with similar electrical characteristics despite antennas having different dimensions and shapes. Modeling the designs is imperative, and Ventev uses the very cool CST suite for that.

There is a lot more to Ventev’s presentation at Mobility Field Day 5, and I don’t want to give it all away. Suffice it to say that they are an important player with a lot to offer to any WLAN environment, and to be familiar with their offerings is to be equipped with what you need to make your wireless projects more successful.

Here are the links to Ventev’s sessions at MFD5:
Not All Antennas are Created Equal
Antenna Innovation With Dennis Burrell
Taking the Telecom Closet Outdoors

 

 

Ventev Knows- What a Difference That Antenna Makes

Have you ever designed a WLAN for a stadium? Ever taken a tour a of a top-tier professional stadium that has just had a a new wireless network installed throughout? I’ve done both, and the challenges of stadium WLAN have to be experienced before you can fully appreciate them. Regardless of what WLAN vendor you use on the radio side, you have to get the signals to where they need to be and to manage their fidelity in an environment that has great potential to devolve into an RF cesspool during events. Antennas- and their placement- are the keys to success, Daddy-o.

There are only so many places you can stick access points and antennas in a stadium environment’s fan seating areas. Depending on the venue, you might get great bleed-out/in between the bowl area and the concourses and office areas where different WLANs are likely to be found. Then there is the sheer volume of client devices, the other RF systems on and around the field, and whatever hotspot noisemakers fans and media show up with. Precision placement, alignment, and antenna patterns are the stuff of stadium wireless networks, and it’s all gotta be done in a way that protects the WLAN gear and rowdy fans from each other.

Lately, I’ve been fortunate to spend a little time on multiple occasions with Dennis Burrell of Ventev talking about antennas and his work designing them for challenging environments. Let’s have a look at one of Ventev’s specialty solutions, straight from Soldier Field (home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears):

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And now a cutaway of that “handrail enclosure”:

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If it’s not obvious, the advantage here is that the antennas are not below the seats or at some far-away overhead mounting location, but rather at waist-height with more clear lines of sight into the adjacent seating rows, shooting in two directions out of one enclosure. You can read more about the 275 of these units at Soldier Field here.

It’s fascinating to see the stadium challenges get answered by people like Burrell who have the talent, know-how, and empowerment to do what needs to be done. I also wrote this recently, which will lead you to many more of Ventev’s stadium projects.

Finally- let’s see what you might now about the stadium Wi-Fi market. Any idea how many large venues are “out there”? My past blog “What’s the Big Deal With Stadium Wi-Fi?” will help you to appreciate this fascinating space. And in this space, you can bet that the WLAN designers and owners appreciate Ventev’s contributions.