…of travellers and merchants

Finally, after four years, I used Ekahau Site Survey & Planner. This journey started at the first Wireless LAN Professionals Conference. I first met Jussi Kiviniemi walking out of registration at WLPC, he was in the lobby area. I noticed his badge/name tag had that funny word. At the time I had barely heard of it, nor how to even pronounce it. He mentioned the name, I said “oh yeah, that’s it”, he smiled and I walked away.  The last evening of the conference was a training session for the software, I wasn’t planning on staying for that, had to catch a plane. But I was around long enough to have the phrase “Hello, Mr. Anderson.” forever burned into my mind. During the training session, that phrase was mentioned several times.  Not really sure why that was being said, but that’s what I remember.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched people design with the software. And, what issues they have with it and how responsive support is. Everybody seems to love it. I even hung around longer during other training sessions at WLPC to try and pickup more about it. Just a little bit here and there.

So this brings us to today, right now. Well, I downloaded the trial version.  Hmm. OK, it has some limitations.  But, during that time I just clicked around and figured out what each button does, where to find things and how to “draw” with it.

I have a floor plate of my office, nothing fancy just a PNG image. If you have the CAD file for your floor or building. You can important that, and if the walls are put in and other stuff that goes into a CAD file, the software will know that and design correctly, vs. you having to place walls. So this is what I started with after placing some Access Points.

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Hmm, wow … green is good … coverage is great. HA … well, yeah. But, lets do some more with it.

 

After adding some attenuation areas, elevator areas, brick walls, drywalls, glass walls. More walls, and lots of walls. I ended up with this…

IMG_3040

Of course this is not even close to being done. I still need to adjust heights of some walls–we have walls that are six and nine feet tall used for dividers. Most of our office is open with 11+ foot ceilings. However, based on what WiFi Explorer shows me. I would say so far this design is pretty accurate—take that with a grain of salt, because much more goes into wireless design than an hour or so of playing around.

Now, there is a reason for Ekahau Certified Survey Engineer (ECSE), this software is pretty intense. Lots of little knobs and things to “tweak”.  To get it right, or close to perfect as possible.

So, yeah, I’m kind of happy about this. I can see why people love this software and why they spend hours with it. Now the only downside is—I should have used this software sooner.

Where we’re going we don’t need backups.

So yeah…. that was my thought for six years. And, for six years it was good. But wait, nothing bad happened, data was still safe and “snapshots” were done.  Yeah — you heard me “snapshots”.  But then after a BLT sandwich with Vince Vaughan, we bought Veeam.

Now, Vaughan didn’t convince me to buy Veeam, he just explained what it can do.  For a few years prior I had been listening and watching to what other people had done, had come from and what was being used.  It still came back to “Hey, use Veeam”.

Our setup is simple, one VMware host with around 20 guests. Nothing big, nothing fancy, other than being a relic of another time—i.e. just damn old, I mean super old.  The system was turned on December 2009.  We needed a good way to get the data, the guests off the host. Now, we could do other things, yeah, but I’m lazy. I wanted something fun and simple.  Plus, I like the color green and Veeam fit the need!

Wait, did you just say you bought something based on a color??? Sure why not, lots of options for backups exist. But, I figure if a company has good marketing throughout the product and brand.  I’m thinking they must be looking at the little details. And, to me those little details count. And guess what, I think I was right.  So far we have not had any issues with using Veeam, updating Veeam, doing backups, doing recoveries(just for fun).

So what’s your point?  The point is, find something simple and easy to use, because one day, today or five years from now—things will break.  And, they could break–not during your maintenance window, not during the low usage times, but when you least think about it.  And, you want something simple, easy to use and stable.

That’s why I picked my road colored with Veeam green.

The day with Bernie… or Interface Tour

After just getting back from Cisco Live 2016 in Las Vegas, the Interface Tour was a nice slowed down pace.  This has been my third time and each time is getting better.  After a few emails from Bernie Bokenyi and finally meeting him during an advisory council meeting, having Bernie around makes for a fun time. This guy has always been great to talk to and makes the event a well organized time(thanks to him and all the people involved).

If you have time check for an Interface Tour in your area. It’s a great time.  Being a smaller event makes it easier to talk to the vendors and enjoy the sessions. You don’t have to run around trying to make it to your next session, usually the next one is just a few hundred feet away.  Which makes for less walking–always a good thing!  And, the sessions have “CPE accreditation”.

Also, they have lots of great prizes when the event is over. 🙂

Our air has turned mobile?

With Wireless Field Day, err .. Mobility Field Day a few days away. Has our view on wireless changed? Are the players in the wireless space willing and accepting of this change, or has this changed taken place without them?

I have the feeling that the big boys in the space are concerned about this change. They have placed lots of money into the wireless name and people know what it is, maybe not by the word “wireless” but you say “wi-fi” people instantly know what you’re talking about. Do they know how it works, maybe, maybe not, are do they even care?  They just know something on the mobile device changes either while at home or maybe work.

I have great hopes that Mobility Field Day will be the dented armour that we all used and was placed in the closet.  Now it’ll be brought back into the light, shined up and on for another round. I think this will be a catalyst for new things in both the wireless and the new mobility landscape.

The question still is, are people willing to tear down a bridge and start new? People always say: never burn bridges. However, if you can’t burn the bridge down to light your new path, what’s the point?

Or maybe you’re just making a bigger and better bridge…

The non Aruba customer?

Why would a person who does not use Aruba products go to Atmosphere 2016?  I asked myself that many times during my flight to and from Las Vegas. And, all roads led to the Aruba Community.  Why the hell would anyone go just for the community….yeah, good question. Let me explain a little….

Why not—is what you should be thinking. The best part is learning something, do you like wi-fi? I hope you do.  Atmosphere is a smaller group compared to other conferences, attendance was around 1500+, I never heard the exact number. Heck, anything over 1,000 people is still a large group, still lots of fun, and being smaller–easier to find people and doesn’t kill your feet having to walk all over the place.

Community is good.  I think that is what drives people to use a product, well besides it being good.  Multiple times I heard people talking about the community, the Airheads community.  I only attended a few sessions at Atmosphere, I was more interested in being the fly on the wall and finding groups of people talking before or after a session. Or roaming around and hearing people talk during breaks. One thing I thought was really cool—video games(and a great way to get people talking) Yes, a mini arcade was setup, they even had an air hockey table and pinball machines. I thought that was a nice touch, lots of people seemed to love that. Each time I made my rounds, I would see two or three people playing at each game. It was a great way to zone out after a session, yes, the sessions I did attend–mind blown. Lots of great information(I attended the Ten Talks). The Ten Talks are off-topic style “10 minute” talks, typically wireless focused, but could be on other technologies that go along with wireless.

Something I did notice was that people liked the “hot breakfast”.  I have never ate the breakfast food at a conference before, not sure what the normal run of the food is.  But, seeing people post pictures on Twitter about bacon and eggs, and seeing a tray full of bacon almost made me try it, but then again, I never really eat breakfast at breakfast time.

The vendor booth layout is much smaller, you could walk for maybe 60 seconds and cover all the vendors. I thought that was actually odd, but frankly it seemed easier to talk and interact with them(even got into a vendor VIP party). Also, you don’t get slammed with people wanting to scan your badge because you walked too close to a booth! And, the vendor VIP party was great, ran into people that we currently use products from, which made for great talks, over beer and Deep-Fried Oreos(Yes, Deep-Fried Oreos, they are almost the best thing on the planet, well, that and Tacos).

Now, the coolest thing I liked, in fact loved, was the Aruba Meridian location mapping/awareness that was done. It was fun and interesting to find directions to a session and to share your location with other people. It was fun to see random people(I purposely shared my location–via the Atmosphere Conference mobile app–and other people allowed their access to be seen) in sessions and to find friends easier–all indoors. Aruba had setup beacons all over place, looked to be roughly 10-15 feet apart covering the entire conference halls and session rooms. I was super lucky to get a handful of Aruba Beacons and a Sensor to play around with—can’t wait to get that setup.

So of course every conference must have an ending party, and this party was interesting. The typical Las Vegas style of odd things made an appearance–what looked like a ballerina inside a six-foot tall clear ball floating in pool. Hmm ok.  BUT, they did have a flash-mob style group of people jump into the pool, all dancing and singing. Which I thought was pretty funny and great to watch.  Oh and on-site hand rolled cigars–awesome!

I know you are thinking—-all this still does not answer why a non Aruba customer went to Atmosphere.  You are right it really doesn’t, I was curious to see what Aruba was all about.  It looked like people love Aruba almost in the sense that people love Apple.  I don’t see that as being a bad thing, in fact I think you’d have better products because people are loyal and willing to get and make things perfect.  Why wouldn’t you love Aruba, the community is great! Everyone was always friendly to give advice or answer just random questions.

Will I go again, Yes! Should you go if you’re an Aruba Customer—without a doubt yes! the amount of information that you gain from the Community is amazing.