Tag Archives: WFD

Wireless Field Day 8 Takes “Wireless” Up a Notch

If you’re not familiar with the Tech Field Day franchise,  you’re really missing out on a fantastic resource. When the events are live and playing out, you get a nice feel of the pulses of the various spaces covered (Network, Storage, Wireless, and Virtualization).  After the live coverage is done, the session recordings become excellent on-demand resources.

I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of Wireless Field Days (WFDs), and I think the upcoming WFD8 really moves in a nice direction. Each WFD event I’ve been to  has provided a wonderful glimpse into the goings on of the presenting WLAN-related vendors. I’ve got to see and hear first-hand what the following companies have to say on their own offerings, industry trends, and what the future of wireless might look like:

  • 7signal
  • Aerohive
  • AirTight Networks
  • Aruba Networks
  • Avaya
  • Cisco Networks
  • Cloudpath
  • Extreme Networks
  • Fluke Networks
  • Juniper
  • Meraki
  • Meru Networks
  • MetaGeek
  • Motorola
  • WildPackets
  • Xirrus

WFD8 features Aruba Networks as an HP company for the first time, Cambium Networks, Cisco, Cradlepoint, Ruckus Wireless, and Zebra Technologies. I like this lineup a lot, for various reasons.

With Aruba and Cisco, it’s always good to hear from the WLAN industry’s #1 and #2. I’m a Cisco and Meraki customer, so visiting Cisco’s campuses is a bit more personal for me. I’ve long respected and admired Aruba, and I’d like to see how things “feel” now that HP is the mothership.

Cambium Networks is a bit exotic as I think of them as a backhaul company- but they certainly do more with wireless, and it’ll be exciting to hear from a relative newcomer. I did one blog entry about Cambium awhile back.

The Field Day organizers did well in my opinion to land Cradlepoint. Modern day “wireless” is about so much more than Wi-Fi, and Cradlepoint’s 4G edge-routing will take the delegates down a new WFD path that could serve as precedent for future non-mainstream Wi-Fi vendors. I’ve covered Cradlepoint in my blog as well.

With Ruckus, WFD finally lands one of the main WLAN vendors out there that I’ve not met with, though they were at #WFD3.  Ruckus covers a lot of ground, so their presentation is hard to predict, but is guaranteed to be interesting.  I’ve done a fair amount of coverage of Ruckus, both for Network Computing (like this one) and right here in this blog.

Finally, there is Zebra Technologies. I’ve personally never laid hands on a Zebra product, and for those who don’t know, Zebra bought Motorola’s Wi-Fi interests (which I blogged about.) With a fascinating product line of their own, this too should be a very interesting session.

Put a reminder on your calendars- this Wireless Field Day promises to really put a fresh spin on an already excellent event. Woo woo!

WFD-Logo2-400x398

Goodbye, Motorola Wi-Fi. Hello, Zebra Technologies!

Motorola Wi-Fi had a good run, but nothing lasts forever. Here’s the official memo, and it’s actually a bigger Moto story than just Wi-Fi that Zebra Technologies is buying. But the operative Wi-Fi related paragraph reads like this:

About Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise Business
With 2013 pro-forma sales of approximately $2.5 billion, Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business
is an industry leader in mobile computing and advanced data capture communications
technologies that serve customers in retail, transportation & logistics, and manufacturing. The
sale includes Motorola Solutions’ wireless local area network (WLAN), Rhomobile and MESH
businesses. 

I did have a conversation with Moto folks about the acquisition. For those who followed the Wireless Field Day sessions from the Motorola facilities in San Jose, I can report that Zebra will likely take over that building. Hopefully we’ll see the WFD crew in the old building with new colors in the future.

The entire WiNG portfolio goes forward with the transition, from all of the old stuff I’ve covered in the past, including these from Network Computing:

– Motorola WiNGS It’s Way To A New Wireless Architecture
Motorola Launches 802.11ac APs

To the newish WiNG Express and VX9000 clolud controller (pop it in an Amazon data center, and it scales to 25K APs, as per the folks I spoke with). Highlights can be found in this video, and I’m pleased to see the product line evolve.

Things that jump out at me on WiNG Express:

– Aimed at mid-market customers
– Options for Single/Multiple Sites
– 11ac APs that retail UNDER $400
– Guest Wi-Fi with lots of onboarding options
– Same social Wi-Fi options as the other guys
– Interesting location analytics using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
– Updated UI since I last saw it

In a word, WiNG Express looks pretty competitive, and it’s clear that the product line has continued to develop despite the pending acquisition. It will be interesting to see the Zebra colors on Moto gear and software, and how the new owners might leverage their new baby in a tough market.

Welcome to the Enterprise Wi-Fi space, Zebra!