Tag Archives: WLAN Optimization

Getting to Know Cape Networks

I recently attended the 2017 edition of the Wireless LAN Professionals conference in Phoenix. As usual, it was awesome. Catching up with old friends who are scattered far and wide, hearing information-rich presentations, and meeting new people with their own wireless story made it a very enriching week for me. But part of my learning actually came after the conference. I was saying my goodbyes when a gent named David Wilson asked for a few minutes of my time, and that’s how I would come to know of Cape Networks.

It turns out that Wilson and his travel partner Michael Champanis are two of the co-founders of Cape Networks. These guys were awesome to talk with at the end of a long week, and the conversation flowed easily. I learned that Cape Networks is based in both South Africa and San Francisco, and is trying to raise their brand awareness here in the US. The company is in the business of Wi-Fi performance monitoring and testing through deployed sensors and a deceptively simple cloud dashboard.

I was given a demo of the Cape dashboard and got to handle the low-profile sensors. We talked of how the system finds issues and helps with resolution, and what customers are already using it.None of us was in a particular hurry since our travel arrangements were all later in the evening, so they patiently handled every one of the many questions that came to me during the demo.

I’m hoping to get a couple of sensors in the near future, and to be able to do a proper review. Until then, I can share that the solution looks interesting and of decent quality with the potential to reveal information that other systems I’ve looked at or used don’t really do very well. At the same time, I’m not endorsing Cape Networks here as I haven’t used the solution yet.

But I did find them interesting, with enough potential differentiators that I felt it worth sharing what little I know of Cape so far. Once I do a review on their hardware and dashboard, I’ll be sure to follow up.

Meanwhile, I encourage anyone running business WLAN systems to have a look at Cape Networks’ web site and to learn about a company that you may not have been aware of yet.

WiTuners Wants to Optimize Your WLAN

Some days it feels like there’s nothing new under the wireless sun. But every now and then a unique offering wiggles its way onto your radar, and if you’re the curious type you just have to dig a little bit beyond what meets the eye. Recently a Wi-Fi colleague asked me if I’d heard of a startup called WiTuners, which is the impetus for this blog. It turns out, I had not heard of WiTuners. But, being both a crack analyst and master sleuth, I set out to find out more about this intriguing company with the peppy website.

My first question about WiTuners was “are they still in business?” or are they a ghost ship like Nira Wireless seems to have become- having a flashy website and interesting premise but no update announcement in like a bazillion years. I looked at the WiTuners Twitter account and saw little to no activity over the past year and figured that this company must be a mis-fire. But then I put my powers of interrogation to work and asked them via a webform “hey, are you guys still in business?” The reply came quickly and decisively, and my inquiry was met with an inquiry- “Sure we are. Who the hell are you, and why do you ask?” (or something to that effect). And that’s how I came to know Luke Qian, President and CEO of WiTuners (and long time wireless industry veteran). We exchanged a few emails, and eventually connected via telephone so I could learn a bit more about this company that promises to help you optimize the performance of your pricey WLAN. (Luke conceded they’d gotten inattentive to their Twitter thing, and the account has since gotten much more active.)

Please note: I have yet to try WiTuners, and this blog is in no way an endorsement of the capabilities offered by the company. But WiTuners is an interesting story, and I salute anyone who attempts to bring a new performance angle to our important WLAN environments (well, except for these guys.)

So WHAT IS WiTuners about? I can’t say that I yet fully understand the model, but I do grasp large parts of it. When you’re done reading this blog, pop over to this WiTuners page to hear it in their own words. Here’s a stab at it:

  • There are no hardware components, only software
  • Survey and planning utilities are available
  • There is a cloud approach to much of what WiTuners does
  • It’s aimed at both MSPs and enterprises
  • WiTuners doesn’t replace RRM and such, it complements it
  • Optimization can be done on demand or automagically with continuous monitoring
  • You can see proposed optimizations before invoking them after doing a quick audit
  • The framework does not replace NMS, though it does promise certain life-cycle and system monitoring capabilities
  • SNMP figures largely into what goes on here, leveraging standard MIBs to “significantly reduce … costs of WLAN deployment and maintenance while simultaneously…[providing] better WLAN performance.”
  • Is compatible with Cisco, Aruba, Extreme, Ruckus, Moto/Zebra, Juniper, and other modern WLAN systems
  • Optimizations can be proven by reported decreases in channel utilization or by the survey tool with boots on the ground
  • WiTuners aggressively keeps up with code/MIB updates from the vendors they support

This list is far from an eloquent portrayal of the WiTuners model, I realize. I’m providing it more to spark your curiosity in case you’d like to learn more than to act like an expert on the offerings as I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. WiTuners is a well-funded startup, and Luke is a good ambassador for the company if you get a chance to talk with him (it turns out that Luke and I know some of the same people in the WLAN industry). WiTuners expects to become more visible to target customers later this year.

Whether there is room and demand for the WiTuners optimization services remains to be seen, but anything that promises to make busy WLANs perform better is at least worth hearing out. 


For me, I’d have to see WiTuners in action before I could pass judgement. But I would be curious to hear what you think about the notion of WiFi system optimization as a service offering. Please leave a comment, and thanks for reading.