What does cultural anthropology have to do with Wi-Fi? Well, don your pith helmet and join me on a brief but interesting trek into the dark forests of Wlandia! “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” will lead us on this thrilling expedition, using his RTLS finder.
(For a good bio on the amazing life of Dr. David Livingstone, check out http://www.biography.com/people/david-livingstone-9383955#explorations-of-africa&awesm=~oFTN52hf4kLt2v)
As I was doing undergraduate work in cultural anthropology, we sort of had the “taking a drink from a fire hose” feeling on a regular basis–information overload! So, a student complained one day, “how can you expect us to know all this stuff about every culture?” The professor then presented a golden nugget to this university class–a gem of knowledge that I have never forgotten to this day. He mentioned to us that we would never be able to know everything about every world culture (except for the next exam, that is….). He then said (and don’t miss this!!): “Know something about everywhere, and know everything about somewhere”. He was encouraging us to have a good all-around knowledge of every different world culture, but then to become a specialist or even, an “expert” in one culture.
WLAN technology is so vast and wide-ranging that it makes WLAN professionals (like me…) feel like we cannot keep up or know it all. Maybe yours is different, but my brain is not big enough to know everything about Wi-Fi! So if you will allow me to paraphrase my college professor, I would restate his words of wisdom like this:
“Know something about everything Wi-Fi,
Know everything about something Wi-Fi”
OK, it doesn’t have a ring to it yet, but I think you get my drift. If you are a WLAN professional, you really need to know a bit about everything Wi-Fi. Topics range from customer sales to site surveys to installation to security to RF behavior to troubleshooting to lots of other Wi-Fi fundamentals. It’s sort of like studying for your CWNA —you have to know something about many different Wi-Fi topics to sit for the exam. Then, you dig deeper and specialize as you study CWSP (security), CWAP (packet analysis) and CWDP (design, site surveys, installation)
So, who would I consider as “experts” in specialty areas of Wi-Fi? Well, I have not met all the following individuals, but have thoroughly read their blogs, followed them on Twitter/LinkedIn, listened to their podcasts, read their white papers and watched their presentations at technical conferences. The following list comprises whom I feel have “risen to the top” in these areas of WLAN technology:
- Packet analysis: Ben Miller (@ben_sniffwifi, http://www.sniffwifi.com). Ben knows his packets! Rumor has it, that packets bow down when he fires up Omnipeek or Wireshark!
- WLAN Education: Keith Parsons (@KeithRParsons, http://www.wlanpros.com) Keith’s gift to Wi-Fi is education and at this, he is a master. This year he launched the inaugural WLAN Pros Summit and the video sessions comprise a WLAN education on one web page (http://www.wlanpros.com/wlan-pros-summit-2014-videos/). It is of little wonder that his website tag line is, “A Place to Educate, Inform. Entertain and Inspire”
- Site surveys: OK, this is probably a tie between Keith Parsons (who they say has site surveyed about every sch00l building in America) and Jussi Kiviniemi (@jussikiviniemi). Jussi also works for Ekahau, which probably has the best site survey tools out there.
- RF behavior: GT Hill (@GTHill, the “man without a real first name”) Check out GT’s RF behavior presentations on YouTube and his blog, http://www.gthill.wordpress.com. A side note, GT was my first CWNA instructor in Orlando and I’m in Wi-Fi today partly due to GT’s teaching. (Thanks GT, from a grateful fellow WLAN professional!)
- WLAN antenna technology: Avi Hartenstein (@AntennaGuyAvi). If you missed Avi’s presentation for Xirrus at WFD6, go and look up the archive and marvel at what Avi knows about antennas! He has over 30 years of antenna design experience. (I’m convinced Avi lives on the top of a Himalayan mountain where WLAN antenna engineers regularly ascend for his wisdom, counsel and VSWR readouts!). UPDATE: Avi sent me a picture of his residence–see end of blog!
- WLAN innovative technology: Steve Foskett (@SFoskett, http://techfieldday.com/wfd/) Steve holds Wireless Field Days twice a year and brings together the “best independent thought leaders in wireless to discuss pressing issues and technology advancements with key companies in the space”. These are two weeks that every WLAN professional does not want to miss (live-streamed).
- Technical resources: Andrew von Nagy (@revolutionwifi, http://www.revolutionwifi.net). Andrew has some amazing tools, tech papers, downloads and archives. Bookmark it today!
- Technical writing: Matthew Gast (@MatthewSGast). There may not be a better 802.11 writer than Matthew (with his classy Oakley shades…)! Be sure his 802.11, A Definitive Guide, 802.11n, A Survival Guide and and his latest, 802.11ac, A Survival Guide are all in your WLAN library! (We’ll just have to wait until he pens his survival guides for 802..11ad and ax)
- Technical tools: Zaib Kaleem (@WLANBook, http://www.wlanbook.com) Zaib has online apps and Wi-Fi tools (many for free) that he has personally developed. He is an incredible Wi-Fi tool developer–check out his site.
- Technical training: CWNP (@CWNP, http://www.cwnp.com/) Nope, not a ‘person’ per se, but CWNP is the world-leader in vendor-neutral Wi-Fi training and certification, hands down! I strongly believe every WLAN professional needs to get their CWTS and CWNA at a minimum for a certification baseline and then work toward the other advanced certs as you progress in your WLAN career.
- WLAN “opinions” in general: Lee Badman (@wirednot, wirednot.wordpress.com). Lee is not afraid to “tell it like it is” when it comes to WLAN technology, products and services. His blogs are refreshing, candid and forthright. Lee also blogs on wireless topics for Network Computing (http://www.networkcomputing.com/wireless-infrastructure.asp)
- Wi-Fi Blogroll: Glenn Cate (@grcate, gcatewifi.wordpress.com). (Hey, calm down, tuna! This is my blog, OK?) Honestly, I feel my niche (for now…), is to provide a clearing house for the best and most comprehensive Wi-Fi blogroll on the web today! I solemnly promise the WLAN community I will keep this blogroll up to date (and NO dead links allowed!)
- Vendors: Yes, they get paid by their respective companies, but these guys and gals know their vendor stuff well:
- Aerohive Networks. Abby Hassel Strong (@wifi_princess), David Coleman (@mistermultipath), Bryan Harkins (@80211University)
- AirTight Networks: Hemant Chaskar (@CHemantC), Pravin Bhagwat (@AirTightCTO), Sean Blanton (@blantr0n), Andrew von Nagy (@revolutionwifi)
- Aruba Networks, Airheads – Sean Rynearson (@Srynearson)
- Cisco Mobility: Amy Renee (@amyengineer, http://amyengineer.com/), Sam Clements (@samuel_clements , http://www.sc-wifi.com)
- Extreme Networks: Mike Lebivotz (@MikeLeibovitz, http://www.ontheflywifi.net)
- Ruckus - GT Hill (@GTHill), Marcus Burton (@MarcusBurton)
Hemant ChaskarHemant ChaskarAerohive Networks: Abby Strong, Matthew Gast,
So there’s my list of “the best of the best” in their specialty areas of Wi-Fi! I openly petition your input on other men and women who have Wi-Fi expertise in areas I have overlooked–please use the “Leave a Reply” section below.
But this list is missing one very important person–and that is YOU! That’s right, what’s your specialty area of WLAN technology? Don’t know yet? Well, you need to start your journey! See what areas of Wi-Fi light your passion fires. Start blogging! (yes, I think ALL WLAN professionals need to blog. Just start doing it!). Ask other WLAN pros what they feel are your areas of strength. Experiment, do stuff in your home lab (you do have a home lab, right?) Then, when you find your niche, go after it with all your heart! Become an SME (subject matter expert) in the Wi-Fi area that you love!
Fellow WLAN professional, are you ready for the journey of your life? Then let’s go over your expedition checklist:
- Pith helmet – check
- Water, rations – check
- Compass, maps – check
- Communication devices – check
You’re ready to go! All you have left to do is to complete this last task: Fill in the following statement:
“My area of expertise and passion in WLAN technology is ________________________________________.”
My hope and prayer for you is the “best of success” as you chart your course through Wlandia!
(Now, where did I put my RTLS finder….?)
Thanks Avi, for sending me a picture of your residence! I placed it here so all WLAN antenna engineers are aware…..