Impressions of WFD7 (Day 2): SDN Redux, Graveyards, TCPDump and Knights of the WLAN Roundtable

20140824_160311_resizedWireless Field Day 7 (Day 2) began at Avaya Networks and SDN was the topic du jour.  Avaya describes SDN as automating the configuration and deploying of devices and applications.  Avaya’s Fabric Connect provisions at the edge so that services can be extended anywhere using one protocol and ultimately this will make it easier to deploy APs.

Impressions:

  • This was round two of SDN–a very complex and difficult topic to grasp (and my Twitter feeds were hotly confirming that).  Avaya wants their Fabric Connect SDN solution to be open, but they are putting the release into their products first.  Then other vendors can integrate this Avaya solution into their products.  So it sounds open and proprietary at the same time.
  • Thanks to Keith Parsons, who brought our discussion back to WLAN technology.  He asked what made the Avaya AP unique, as Wi-Fi is Layer 1/Layer 2.  He elaborated that once a packet gets to Layer 3, switches can do what they want with that data, but we are Wi-Fi delegates and want to know what sets Avaya apart from other vendors in the Wi-Fi realm.  Unfortunately, that question came at the end and all Avaya could say was they had a software-programmable radio that allowed them to change from 2.4 to 5 GHz via software and that they should have added more time discussing that.  I agree–and guess we will have to wait until next time.

20140807_102603_resizedArriving at Aruba, we were greeted by a phone graveyard!  Before we even entered the building, Aruba wanted us to know they’ve taken phones off the desk and moved to a completely wireless workspace (and most of the phones were Avaya phones.  Hmmm….just reporting what I saw.).  Aruba uses Microsoft Lync to accomplish this and Wi-Fi (not just wired networks) is key to making this happen.  AirWave updates were also highlighted.

Impressions:

  • Aruba continues to be a vendor-leader in WLAN technology and innovations.  Removing phones from the workspace was strategic and challenging yet a measurable resource savings.
  • AirWave remains a strong tool for Wi-Fi troubleshooting, especially for voice.

When WLAN professionals sniff packets, they usually use either Wireshark or Omnipeek.  So as we concluded Day 2 of WFD7 at WildPackets, it was good to see highlights of some of the new Omnipeek releases and what they can do for wireless.  Version 7.9.5 can now handle 802.11ac captures at gigabit speeds and version 8.0 has support for TCPDump for Macintosh (via VMware or Parallels) by leveraging the internal Broadcom chipset.  (Mac users in the presentation room were jumping for joy!)  Definitely, Mac support for this neat feature is a value add for Omnipeek.  Read more about the TCPDump remote adapter here.

Impressions:

  • IMHO, Omnipeek is the premier Layer 2 packet capture device that every WLAN professional needs in their Wi-Fi toolbox.  And WildPackets does not sit around — they consistently make this tool better and better.
  • TCPDump for Macintosh made our Apple delegates very happy!  Kudos for this great addition, WildPackets!

As the WildPackets presentation concluded, the “Knights of the WLAN Roundtable” assembled and thus began the first ever Wi-Fi Roundtables!  Heraldically speaking, these topical discussions were fun and incredibly engaging.  One of my Twitter feeds said, after WFD7 was totally done,  that these roundtables were the “best part of WFD7!”  (Kudos to Steve Foskett for bringing to life this roundtable idea that was germinating in our tech discussions).   If you have not seen the videos, check all three out below.  The discussions were fast-paced, passionate and a lot of fun!

Multi-vendor Roundtable:

Social Wi-Fi Roundtable:

  • WirelessNerd (Drew Lentz) had his own blog referencing the roundtable on social Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Designs Standards Rountable:

 

 

 

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