News

FCC Proposes More Unlicensed Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just proposed up to 1200 MHz of spectrum for Wi-Fi use by unlicensed devices. These devices would operate in the 6 GHz band, more specifically 5.925-7.125 GHz.

There are incumbent users of the frequency space but Wi-Fi devices utilizing that frequency, used by Broadcast Auxilary Service and Cable Television Relay Service, would only be used indoor at low power.

Having up to 1200 MHz available for Wi-Fi is great news! It provides more spectrum to a finite resource that we’re beginning to see in the 5 GHz spectrum. With 5 GHz, we are now seeing congestion. We’re limited with the amount of non-overlapping channels. And we’re unable to fully utilize 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel widths.

If Wi-Fi received 1200 MHz worth of spectrum, there would be 59 x 20 MHz channels to select from! Even at wider channels, there will be 14 x 80 MHz channels and 7 x 160 MHz channels.

The industry may be able to see the increase in throughput with more non-overlapping channels at the network operators disposal.

This is a big step forward in the right direction. Wi-Fi needs the frequency space for unlicensed devices and for the industry to innovate further.

From Aruba Networks' Chuck Lukaszewski WiFi Trek presentation

Aruba Networks CWNP WiFi Trek Conference – Chuck Lukaszewski

Security Improvements in Wi-Fi: An Ekahau Webinar

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Joel and Jerry on an Ekahau webinar. The topic I presented was on Security Improvements in Wi-Fi.

In this webinar, I touch upon three different security improvements:

  • Device Provisioning Protocol
  • Opportunistic Wireless Encryption
  • WPA3

While I go over a general overview of the topics, OWE gets a little detailed because of the frame capture I was able to obtain from Aruba Networks’ live demo from MFD3.

Check out the webinar and let me know what you think in the comments:

Mist Strengthens Partnerships

Mist has been hard at work forming partnerships with strong players, Juniper Networks, VMware, and Palo Alto Networks. Working alongside technologies which don’t have a wireless play, Mist complements each of their solutions by utilizing their AI and Machine Learning product.

Initially, it looked like a strategy to be acquired but with multiple firm partnerships, it can be seen as a jab to the competition which has been acquiring WLAN companies as part of their portfolio.

Mist has extended their reach into a copious number of new potential customers who are in search of API-driven technology leveraging artificial intelligence.

By joining forces with Palo Alto Networks, both companies can take advantage of policy creation. Pushing security policies from the perimeter of the network once a threat is identified and pushing it down the network all the way to the edge where the user devices reside. Security can get a little more simple with consistent policies applied throughout the network.

Working with Juniper Networks, Mist helps provide visibility and insights into both wired and the wireless network. Again, artificial intelligence is looking to make IT teams become proactive when it comes to user experience. We’ve seen Juniper take a stab at wireless and let’s hope they’ve found their groove.

VMware has their infrastructure deep in a lot of data centers. The story remains the same. More visibility using artificial intelligence. VMware wants to know how users are interacting with applications over the WLAN.

With APIs, IT teams can now see what’s happening on both ends and be proactive in resolving issues that crop up.

The expansion of Mist into different areas of the network isn’t something we shouldn’t brush off. The API first mentality may give IT the innovation it needs to thrive. Whoever can develop the solutions to tie all these vendors together seamlessly can gain an immense upper-hand in this business landscape.

Meraki Go Launches

What’s left? The small and home businesses! Meraki released a new line of access points aimed for the small shops called Meraki Go.

By the tap of an app on a mobile phone, a wireless network can be live within minutes. Taking some features from their enterprise dashboard, a business owner can set some basic application thresholds, security, and other settings.

Using the strength of the brand name and simple dashboard, Meraki is enticing users with competitive pricing on the Go access points.

This is targeted to really small businesses, no more than 10 people or 20 devices. The critical piece will be the simplicity of the app in configuring the network.

The problem will be in troubleshooting. I don’t see how a small IT shop can help manage the wireless network unless they’re sharing credentials with the owner or taking over the installation completely.

But is this a path Meraki should be taking? Creating another product line? Meraki should be focusing on making the current offering better, developing more APIs, improving the hardware, AP antenna offerings, I can go on.

I’ll say I’m not sure about this direction. It will pull resources away from their enterprise products. But knowing Meraki and Cisco, there’s a large customer base worth taking.

The Story Behind the Ekahau Hat

During Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando, Florida we were able to meet up with Jussi Kiviniemi from Ekahau. We were enamored with the Ekahau hat which was being given out at their booth.

The quality of the hat is exceptional. There’s even a little detail inside the hat with reference to the Simpsons. If you’ve received a Sidekick then you know what I mean.

Minimalism is key. If you’ve used Ekahau, you know what the bar represents on the hat and I think it’s a genius idea.

Another great detail about the Ekahau hat is the reflective sticker on the top.

François asks Jussi about the hat and the story.. just check out the video for yourself.