Stephen Cooper flies from Australia to San Jose to record in-person for Clear To Send. But really he was in town for work and made time to meet with me, Rowell, to talk about different topics in wireless.
Interview with Stephen Cooper
We met at the Westin hotel which happened to be the quietest place downtown due to a winter holiday event occurring.
He’s a Technical Solutions Architect for Cisco residing in Australia. Previously was the Ekahau SE for Asia Pacific working out of Australia. And before that he was at Dimension Data.
It’s challenging to find wireless guys who understand wireless and network access control such as Cisco ISE or Aruba ClearPass. At Dimension Data Stephen had to work on these types of projects. Network access control usually falls with the security team and the wireless guys don’t have much insight into how it’s deployed.
Troubleshooting is critical for wireless professionals. Understanding how the network should be working helps identifies root causes faster.
While at Ekahau, Stephen was very remote from the rest of the team. He met with a lot of customers where shifting their minds towards thinking about design first and understanding fundamentals. A vendor default is not vendor recommendation. And a challenge Stephen noticed at Ekahau is customers may not necessarily know that distinction.
When it comes to design, we often see that device types are forgotten and not considered into the design process. But the wireless community has been very good at bringing device types and their characteristics into light.
Moving to Cisco, Stephen has been able to work with clients on wireless designs, helping with migration strategies between controllers, helping customers understand how to get onto locations services network or VoIP ready network. He’s more focused on wireless and Cisco DNA – future architecture.
With Cisco’s next generation wireless architecture and intent-based network, Stephen thinks you have more flexibility with how you can deploy new controllers, but there’s still life in the AireOS controllers. There’s a large legacy install but they can still do telemetry you can use in DNA Assurance. You may not get the same level as detail compared to the C9800s.
Wi-Fi Design Day was born out of Ekahau and was started in the UK. It was meant to educate people but have it a community driven event. The first event was a huge success in London and when it was announced in Australia it was also popular. The event is unique where it’s vendor neutral with experts from multiple vendors talking about Wi-Fi as well as end users talking about their use cases. This event is much smaller and intimate compared to larger conferences.