Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Who Wants A Free 802.11ac Access Point & 1-year of Cloud Service?

Image used under Creative Commons. Thanks Sarah!

Remember when Meraki and Cisco first got together? They had a pretty successful campaign where if you watched a webinar, you got an access point. It worked pretty well for them, got them some great exposure, got you to learn about the product, and more importantly it got their tech into the hands of the people that wanted to try it but might not want to commit to a full purchase.

So here we are a few years later, 802.11ac is out, and now you can sign-up for a webinar to get not just a fancy 802.11ac access point, but a year subscription to one of my absolute favorite cloud based services around.

AirTight Networks has introduced a webinar series that asks the question "Is cloud Wi-Fi Right For You?" I'm not here to judge you, I'm just here to deliver the news that you can get some free stuff.

How Do I Sign-up?

You just click this link to find out when the webinars are.
Cool, huh?

Cambium Goes Cloud

Great news for Wireless ISPs and users of multipoint wireless: Cambium is taking it to the cloud!
On a webinar this morning, Cambium Networks announced their Wi-Fi portfolio, but that was only half the story; they've made some pretty big changes. Introducing cnMaestro.

By pushing all of the management to the cloud, they give the customer or operator an easier way to manage all the components of their network. This is great for an industry that definitely needs it. Now, there's no word on when all things Cambium will be managed by this tool, cnMaestro, but it's getting there :) Their words: "cnMaestro will be replacing all of Cambium's Management systems."

So let's dig in to it:

There is a fancy automated provisioning tool that is used to drop-ship client Wi-Fi devices straight to the customer. Pretty-slick.

They stepped this up by allowing the complete end-to-end management of products: From basestation/ap, to the subscriber unit, to the AP level. As a former WISP builder and someone who tries to stay close to that industry, I think this is tremendous news. The Dude, eat your heart out.

To that note, integrated hotspot capabilities included in the AP, the ability to support APIs, and northbound interfaces can turn this into a great revenue generator for existing ISPs. That's how you get a WISPs attention: figure out how to make them more money using existing infrastructure! Take that Ubiquiti!

As far as the features and capabilities of the equipment, there's nothing really special going on here. They look like standard 802.11ac and N access points. The PoE will be standard 802.3af.
One way they are sweetening this up is by providing Wi-Fi planning tools (no screenshot yet) to assist with your deployments.

So what does it cost?

Please note, as of right now there will be no charge for the cloud control and management system.

And when will be available?

Tried to write this in real time, so I hope it's not to disjointed :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Google Gets Knee-deep in the Consumer Wi-Fi Market Space with OnHub

So everything just started appearing online about Google's latest consumer offering, OnHub, about 2 hours ago. I found myself scurrying around the interwebs looking at everything I could find and then questioning if my wife would slap me over buying a new $200 router. She would.

Picture from Google Blog

So what is this magical little device, and whys is it important that it is "really, really ridiculously good looking" (according to Wired)?

 If you're reading this blog, it's safe to say you are not a typical end-user, so I'll skip past the "what is a wi-fi router" part and get right to what interests me with this announcement.

First off, Google is stepping into consumer Wi-Fi? 

I'm trying to wrap my head around the millions of comments, questions, thoughts, and implications of this. "How long before it moves into outdoor access devices," I ask myself. Why would Google want consumer hardware? For better access? I can see that. (FYI the OnHub is manufactured by TP-Link however Google is working with ASUS for another future device)

Side Note: A big question for me while my mind is spinning is:
Are we going to be able to modify the device so that I can use one radio as a client radio and the other as a AP radio so that I can use this as a cost-effective bridge to bring in things like, oh you know, public wifi? If it's a router, why limit me to routing via the wired port? What about that 3rd radio, that "boost" / "sensor" radio? Anyhow, back to the program.. 

Alot of what happens on the campus out there in California has this great goal it seems, of making the world a more connected and better place. This is a great logical step in that direction, however, what's the bigger play here? I love that it supports all the standards as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and ZigBee too. That should be a big sign of what's to come especially considering they own Nest.
Picture from Wired.com 

So what's exciting about this offering?

Well, it's Google. Which to me means that it is the start of things to come. Other than shutting down Google Reader, they have a pretty good track record of doing good things and making good things better. At a very basic level, this device will probably be solid and work well enough to replace a huge number of those other devices that are out there just for the simple fact that it's, well, simple.

For Pete's sake it "emits an audio tone which can be detected by a mobile app to help pair your phone or tablet with your router." The fact that it combines simplicity with 802.11ac 3x3 MIMO, multiple frequency support, and obviously routing capabilities make it seem like a great little package.

From OnHub's Tech Specs

What about the way it looks?

That right there is the good stuff. This maybe one of the best parts of the whole thing. Not the tech side of it or situating the antennas properly, or a fancy app, but giving you better RF. How? By making it pretty. "you’ll be happy placing OnHub out in the open, where your router performs its best."

From OnHub's site

You can't explain RF to people who don't really care about why it affects their Suits marathon. But what you can do is build a product that they don't chuck in a closet. I mean, they might anyway, but there's a better chance they won't if you tell em not to and make the thing pretty enough that they don't feel bad about it.

Tech, hype, buzz, and press aside, this is what gets the golf clap.

Well freakin' done.

In the event that I can find an extra 2 Benjis, I'll buy one. If not, I'll have to wait 'til my D-Link has an "episode". Either way, I'm happy to see this excitement!