Attending Wireless Field Day 5 as a first time delegate was such an honor, and I was perfectly aware of how significant past Wireless Field Day events have been. But being involved and experiencing the event first hand I realized just how big of a deal the event really is! The Wireless Field Day event gathers some of the best wireless talent and companies together to talk about and showcase the latest and greatest in wireless technologies. No details are left out in the planning and coordination of the event, and the vendors go all out with their presentations and demonstrations. It is three days for the wireless world to shine and put on a show, and it is a BIG DEAL!
Now that I’m back home from Wireless Field Day 5 and had a few days to recoup, and start to go over my notes and oganize my thoughts into blogs, and begin playing with some of the goodies I received from the vendors I wanted to quickly give what I remember most from the event.
I’m not sure what the cumulative years of experience among all the delegates is, let’s just say a lot, but talking to them and hearing their stories it becomes clear they are talented and passionate people. It was a thrill to hang out with the other delegates, and I only wish I had more time to spend with all of them. If you ever get the chance to meet any of the delegates you will greatly benefit from their expertise!
Below is the Wireless Field Day 5 delegate list along with links to their twitter accounts and blogs. The delegates are starting to post about the event and presentations, and much more about WFD5 is going be published in the coming weeks and months.
3 Days, 9 Vendors, 18 Hours of Presentations!
Three words, wireless information overload!
The vendors shared a tremendous amount of information at Wireless Field Day 5, and all the sessions were recorded and now posted to the Tech Field Day YouTube Channel. I have started watching the online videos to help piece together my notes or fill in some of the details I missed, but these videos offer a substantial amount of information for anyone interested in wireless technology.
Video Production Crew
Ben and Andrea did an awesome Job! Part of the Wireless Field Day event that not every one is aware of is the constant moving from place to place for the presentations. Ben and Andrea always had their equipment setup and ready to go for each presentation, and it was amazing to watch them break down and/or setup for the sessions. They definitely had the process down to a science! The result of their hard work was the live online stream and now the WFD5 event videos that have been posted online for every ones viewing.
Chris Woerz and Stoney Tuckness talked about and demonstrated the different products offered by Metageek, and for myself it was the most memorable of the presentations. Their approach seemed to hit on the hey we are one of you and needed simple yet informative tools to monitor, survey, and troubleshoot wireless networks. The products are very affordable, and whether you’re an experienced WLAN engineer or someone new to wireless these tools offer something for everyone to help with the day-to-day wireless network maintenance. Here is a link to the Metageek home page listing their product line, and there is an excellent video tutorial page on the Metageek site as well. During the presentation the Metageek guys handed out several gifts to the delegates, and after the session completed they introduced themselves to me and as a first time delegate gave me a few extras (see the picture below). Thanks to Metageek for being so generous and I’m really looking forward to test driving the utilities. I know I can use the Metageek utilities immediately in my network to help trouble shoot or see what is going on in the RF environment, and cannot wait to write about my experiences using their utilities.
Being in the K-12 environment I was really looking forward to seeing Aerohive demonstrate their controller-less APs and BYOD solutions. Aerohive started their presentation talking about the proliferation of wireless devices along with an overview of their cloud enabled solutions. After the Aerohive introduction several presenters demonstrated their controller-less cloud solutions including client management and on boarding, ID Manager for guest registration, and application visibility and control that can perform deep packet inspection. One of the best sessions from any vendor was when Aerohive’s Matthew Gast talked about 802.11ac. This is a highly recommended video to watch, not just by myself, but the other delegates and many of the Twitter viewers were raving about Matthew as well. Another highlight of WFD5 was after Aerohive’s sessions completed I was able to meet many of the companies employees. I started to recognize many of the names from social media, blogs I follow, and as authors of several books on wireless I have read including the CWNA and CWSP study guides. The only way I can describe it is going to a Van Halen concert and after the concert getting to go back stage to meet the band. It was an impressive amount of talent gathered at one vendor!
Airtight and Xirrus
Two more vendor presentations I was looking forward to seeing was Airtight Networks and Xirrus and they did not disappoint. I believe Airtight was a first time presenter and there was a lot of Twitter buzz about their being involved with Wireless Field Day 5. Airtight is known for their security and WIPS products and has branched out to controller-less APs with just about everything being software defined in the cloud. Their presentation started with an excellent talk of the company’s background presented by David King. After the company introduction several people demonstrated the cloud management, social Wi-Fi, and guest BYOD on boarding solutions. The Airtight solutions are very intriguing, and I look forward to learning and writing more about Airtight.
The Xirrus radio array solution is very interesting, and this presentation probably had the delegates asking the most questions. Dirk Gates was a great speaker and very knowledgeable, and while he may not have answered all the radio interference questions, he is definitely wireless smart and good to listen to. Xirrus offers APs with 2, 4, 8, and 16 radio arrays, and the Xirrus Management System (XMS) can be used to monitor and mange the wireless array network. Some advantages of the array APs would be a lower number of devices to install, less cable runs, and they give excellent capacity in high density areas. As with Airtight I look forward to checking out the Xirrus website and learning more about their radio array solutions.
Customers Telling Their Stories
Two vendors, Xirrus and Meru Networks, each had a customer speak for about 20 minutes to tell their success story. It was interesting to hear from an outside source about each vendor and how their solution was installed, configured, supported, and why the solution was an improvement on what was previously there. I’m not recommending for future wireless field day events every vendor have a customer speak, but it was that something different approach that got noticed by many of the delegates and the Twitter crowd. It wasn’t the super wow factor that caught my attention, but having someone not directly employed by the vendor help tell the story. It might be something for vendors to think about for future field day events as far as what can they do different.
The BIG DEAL Continues!
The Twitter conversations can be followed using the #WFD5 hash-tag, and be sure to check out the delegate blogs and the vendor websites to read more about the event. If you missed the live event the videos have been posted online.
Thanks for visiting my blog, and please leave any comments or questions or drop a comment about what you thought was memorable from Wireless Field Day 5.