Impressions of WFD7 (Day 3): The Meraki Gnome and The Seventh Wireless Field Day Awards

 

20140808_091002_resizedCisco Meraki was the only presentation for WFD7 Day 3, but it was worth the drive to San Francisco to hear new ideas in Wi-Fi technology.  The Meraki offices, which overlook the Bay Bridge, where you can embrace a cool ocean breeze, told this newbie why people love to live in San Francisco!  This presentation was packed with great WLAN technology and I personally liked “talking the talk” with these technical engineers.

From the beginning, we saw Cisco Meraki tackling the 802.11 technology head on (and after all, that is why we as Wi-Fi delegates are here–we deal with this technology every day…).  Matt Silverman did a great in depth coverage of MU-MIMO and how it is going to play out in real life scenarios when this Wave-2 technology is deployed in the enterprise world. He mentioned that 802.11ac WLANs should not be designed around MU-MIMO, but this technology can be leveraged to get clients on and off the wireless medium faster, improving performance for all wireless clients.

The deep dive into RX-SOP was really engaging.  RX-SOP (receiver start of packet) is the sensitivity of a receiver’s radio to either hear or ignore a packet. This technology (used for several years by Cisco) helps to shrink down the cell size to allow better channel reuse, especially in high density deployments (auditoriums, stadiums, dense offices).  So, receive levels can be modified to help with channel reuse or as presenter John Biosco said, it is like “putting wax in the ears of the AP”.  Nice analogy!

Yes, WFD is all about the technology, but a brief comment is needed about the Meraki offices we visited.  Four years ago, Meraki was purchased by Cisco.  Our tour guide, who led us to the employee gourmet lunch line, told us that Cisco pretty much let the Meraki offices stay the same as they were when they opened.  Most employees work at open tables with their laptops, sitting on stools, using their Bluetooth phone headsets, walking around and talking to customers.  I saw a young lady walking her dog (yes, inside…); two young guys taking a break playing ping pong; another guy taking a call on his cell phone in the break area, overlooking the bay.  Without a doubt, Meraki has the look and feel of a fun place to work!

Impressions:

  • Cisco Meraki, thank you for talking Wi-Fi to us like WLAN engineers!  We had heard lots of presentations over the last three days, but Meraki seemed to understand that we wanted to talk tech.  They “spoke” the language of 802.11, and we understood it!
  • SINR (signal-to-interference-plus-noise-ratio) was emphasized here, where interference can be from signal sources which include neighboring APs.  The SINR Wikipedia definition is defined as “the power of a certain signal of interest divided by the sum of the interference power (from all the other interfering signals) and the power of some background noise”.  SNR seems to be used more often in Wi-Fi, but I think as small cells with dense capacities become more common, we will see the need to include SINR in our WLAN site surveys and Wi-Fi health assessments.
  • The offices and atmosphere at Meraki make it seem like it would be a great place to work!
  • Oh. the gnome — I almost forgot!  He was a “thank you” to us from Meraki for being awesome delegates!  It looks like he is holding an MR24 in his hands, behind his ultra-cool RayBan shades.  He really looks nice on my office shelf–thanks Meraki!

And just another reminder, all WFD7 videos (YouTube, Vimeo) can be found here.


linksys_wfd7

The Coveted WFD Linksys Router Award!

Welcome to the Seventh Wireless Field Day Awards! Due to major budget cuts in San Jose and the recent Napa Valley earthquake, our awards and graphics have taken a few steps back. This year, there are only five categories, all seeking the coveted WFD Linksys Router Award!  And now, let’s get on with the show!  Our award winners for WFD7 are (thunderous applause and dramatic music….):

* For the vendor providing the user a choice in logging in with social Wi-Fi, the WFD goes to….AirTight Networks!

For the vendor with the best drone aerial view of a Wi-Fi network, the WFD goes to….Fluke Networks!

* For the vendor with the best impression of a telephone graveyard, the WFD goes to….Aruba Networks!

* For the vendor providing the best 802.11 and WLAN technologies presentation, the WFD goes to…..Cisco Meraki!

And lastly, the award we’ve all been waiting for.  The Best Vendor of WFD7,  according to Academy voting (and that would be me….), the WFD goes to (cue drum roll)…………………….

AirTight Networks! 

 

AirTight continues to provide practically manageable, scalable, top-notch WIPS, cloud-based WLAN technology that is easy to use, easy to configure and puts the user first.  Kudos go to Airtight Networks!

That wraps up the Seventh Wireless Field Day Awards, but don’t forget to tune in for Wireless Field Day 8 that will begin on April 1st, 2o15!

 

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