Tag Archives: IdentiFi

Extreme Ways- At Wireless Field Day 6

Extreme ways are back again,  Extreme places I didn’t know…

  – (Moby, Extreme Ways)

When it comes to wireless networking, Extreme ways are here, And Enterasys ways are gone- along with the legacy company name behind the product line that is now IdentiFi. New product line, new logo, new forward looking strategy. Now the company just needs to hire Moby to do some commercials…

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I had the pleasure of visiting Extreme’s offices in San Jose as part of Wireless Field Day 6. The facility is very nice, and so were our hosts. Director of Mobility and Applications Mike Leibovitz opened the presentation with an overview of IdentiFi, which for me was the first formal intro I’ve had to Extreme’s WLAN solution. (I have covered Extreme WLAN from afar in the past, for NWC.com- like the release of the Altitude 4511 AP). Mike handed off to colleague Will Aguilar, Director of Product Management for IdentiFi.

Will filled the delegates in on IdentiFi’s APs, the system’s virtual and hardware appliances, and alluded to Extreme’s management tools (was a bummer we ran out of time and did not get a demo). I can’t say that I heard anything particularly unique in Extreme’s presentation, but it’s obvious that IdentiFi is positioned to compete with any WLAN vendor in the industry,

Given the buzz over the last couple of months regarding Extreme’s partnership with the National Football League for providing Wi-Fi analytics (and not necessarily only where Extreme WLAN is in use), it was nice to get a little glimpse of how Extreme has carried out stadium wireless in venues like Gillette Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles), but the delegates made short work of Senior Wi-Fi Architect Dionis Hristov’s time. I also spent some time after the presentation hearing from Aguilar on the value of analytics, and the sizable dollars that they lead too in marketing and monitization. This is a huge topic and we’ll no doubt be hearing a lot about it in the months to come.

The videos from Extreme’s session at WFD 6 are here. Since Field Day, Extreme has announced Purview, the magic behind it’s new analytics gig.

My final analysis: Extreme is a big solutions story with a lot of chapters. A couple of hours wasn’t nearly enough to properly get our feet wet, and I hope we hear more from the company in future Field Days.

Outsourced Wireless- Enterasys’ New Offering

By now, cloud-managed wireless has certainly gained legitimacy. To over-simplify, cloudy WLAN is often touted as both an alternative to hardware-heavy and maintenance-intensive controller-based Wi-Fi solutions, as well as being marketed as a good fit for environments that have limited IT staff at distributed sites. Enterasys is now taking that second point even further; the company is offering a completely outsourced cloud-managed solution that you pay someone else to worry about- from planning to installation to daily operations.

Sure, outsourcing is dirty word to many of us in the IT world, but Enterasys’ strategy has merit for certain situations. With every new technology release (both on the infrastructure and client device sides), wireless networking gets ever more complex. Many businesses simply can’t afford to have wireless professionals on staff to keep it all on the rails, yet business Wi-Fi is pretty much a must any more for most of us. Rather than limp along on a Hail Mary solution pieced together by consumer-grade parts or blowing HR budget to get a WLAN pro on staff, there likely is a sweet spot out there in Customer Land for the Enterasys Experiment.

Here’s the Important Stuff:

  • Enterasys has partnered with PCM, Inc for the customer-facing end of the 100% turn-key service offering
  • The WLAN hardware is the IdentiFi line, while OneFabric provides the cloud/management magic
  • Remember, this is managed all the way- the most the end customer gets is a read-only glimpse of what’s up
  • PCM or it’s subs will plan, design, upkeep, respond to trouble, and even do AP upgrades when it’s time as part of the service
  • The solution is aimed at small-to-medium businesses that need reliable wireless but don’t have the staff to pull it off

Find out more here:

My Own Take On Enterasys’ Offering

It’s a big wireless market, and only getting bigger with more nuanced use cases. There should be room for what Enterasys is attempting, but at the same time I offer:

  • I know little of PCM’s capabilities or track record. Enterasys’ success in this venture depends on the quality of the PCM Cloud Wireless Service experience and how it’s executed for each customer.
  • In any local market, how the actual support model plays out will be interesting. I’d hate to be a Syracuse, NY customer that has to wait for service from a technician in New Jersey or Boston. I don’t know that this would be the case, but similar services in other technologies (CCTV, security, etc) often have enormous service areas.
  • It’s one thing to say that “this is 100% turn-key”, but if it ties into a business LAN, eventual finger pointing is inevitable when something isn’t clicking as it should, whether it be PoE or DHCP/DNS. Potential customers need to be aware that if the entire network isn’t outsourced but wireless is, sooner or later you’ll need to provide a resource or two to help with issues.

As managed services becomes more a part of major WLAN vendors’ blueprints, I’d expect to see more of these announcements.