Reflections on WLPC 2016

20160225_165155Over five days of the best WLAN training, education and professional relationships just took place in Phoenix. As I sit on the plane from PHX to TPA, I’m beginning to reflect on the WLAN Pros Conference 2016 and why this was one of the BEST conferences I have ever attended in my lifetime. Please read on as I share some thoughts and ideas why WLPC 2016 was so unique and worthwhile.

WLPC is the best of the best!  Yes, there are other Wi-Fi conventions out there, but attending my first WLPC this year was unique. I met so many of the “best of the best” WLAN engineers from all over the world at WLPC 2016. These men and women work for Fortune 500 companies, leading vendors, well-known VARs and even are on the committees that are writing standards for the next Wi-Fi PHYs that we will support for years to come. And they were all in one place! We ate together, talked together and I now know many of these professionals by their first names.

WLPC is family!  Lee Badman had a great preso on building the WLAN community. But I would like to take Lee’s thoughts a bit further. It seems to me that WLAN professionals are not just building a community, but the relationships are even deeper—like family. Others in the industry have told me the same. Why? I threw out that question at dinner with some other WLAN pros and these ideas came back:

  • Wi-Fi technology is relatively new.
  • To make Wi-Fi work, you have to reach out to other WLAN engineers
  • Wi-Fi relationships have grown through social media, especially Twitter
  • When you meet another Wi-Fi engineer, it’s like “old-home week”

You may have some other ideas why WLAN pros just like each other. Oh, I know, just like in your family, we may not always see things the same way and agree on issues, and I get that too.  But still, it is great to know so many in the industry I can call friends. And as a university professor once said to me, “Let’s agree to disagree – agreeably!”   Good thoughts for everyone in my family!

(Dan, Francois, Joel — what a great time hanging with you guys! You are the best! And Tammie, Manon, it was super to meet you both as well!)

WLPC gives back to the community.  Leading industry professionals presented important topics at WLPC.   But other WLAN pros in the audience gave Ten Talks on various ideas as well. I put out an idea I thought that should be discussed (Yes – on Twitter: #WLPC) and Keith Parsons responded, “Will you do a Ten Talk on that topic?” Who me? There are too many other WLAN pros at the conference—why me? Well <gulp>, I said yes, threw together a quick PowerPoint preso and on I went up to the stage (shaking in my shoes….). Me—speaking in front of 225+ of the best WLAN engineers in the world! But that’s the point—ALL WLAN engineers can (and should) give back to the community!   What an opportunity…and I want to encourage you reading this blog that you too can give back — maybe through a blog, maybe a Ten Talk, maybe as a mentor to other Wi-Fi engineers coming up. But we all need to give back. We have received so much through the WLAN community and to quote someone much more famous than you or I, it is indeed “…more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

WLPC is the fruition of a dream.  Keith Parsons, please come forward and take a bow — you’ve earned it! Keith’s dream of a WLAN professional conference that is not funded by any vendor group, covering the vital Wi-Fi topics of the day and providing professional training has morphed from a “grain of sand” idea and become a huge reality. I had been trying to get to a WLPC for the past two years and this year I was able to attend. All the video sessions will soon be up on the WLPC web site (a WLAN education on one web page!). Keith, you have found your niche among WLAN professionals; you are helping others find theirs, too. From one WLAN professional to another, thank you from a grateful heart!

WLPC is growing.  This year, WLPC began with a “swap meet” of used Wi-Fi gear (which was totally fun!) and ended with well-deserved WLAN awards (Lifetime Achievement – Devin Akin and for giving back to the WLAN community, the Person of the Year – Andrew von Nagy—huge congrats to both!). There was a store to purchase WLAN tools to help us in our work.  CWNP offered boot camp training before the conference began. And rumors were floated about having some kind of test lab going for the next conference. Friends, WLPC is only getting bigger, better and even more worthwhile!

WLPC is missing…YOU!   Yes, that’s right. If you, a WLAN professional, have not signed up for the next convention, you need to do so. Bookmark and check this site often where details will be posted about the dates and locations for upcoming WLPCs. Additionally, VARs, vendors, Wi-Fi software designers, and industry leaders—you also need to attend (or send a representative) to the next WLPC. either in the US or in Europe.

WLPC – a big THANK YOU!  This was a great week; full of professional training, timely topics, wonderful relationships, and lots of fun that is helping us support a vital industry in which we all work.

WLPC 2017 – will you be there?

Follow me at:
Twitter: @grcate
Wi-Fi Blog:
Also, follow Lee Badman’s Wi-Fi Question of the Day: #WIFIQ


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