Article Round-Up: 01/28/2011

Here are a collection of articles from the past week that I have found useful, interesting, or enlightening. As always, for a complete list of articles check out my shared article feed from Google Reader.

General Wi-Fi Articles

First, President Obama pledged to make wireless Internet available to 98% of all Americans. Of course the freed up TV White-Space frequencies and "Super Wi-Fi" will be a large component of that vision.

"Within the next five years, we'll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans. This isn't just about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age."

"President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for expanding high-speed wireless services for consumers and businesses, during his State of the Union Speech."

"The proposal by President Barack Obama to bring wireless broadband to 80 percent of the United States is a fine idea that’s already mired in the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality mess."

"The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday conditionally granted nine companies the opportunity to manage databases that will serve to coordinate the usage of 'white spaces' -- underutilized frequencies of the broadcast spectrum -- for high-speed wireless broadband networking."

Also this week, security and cloud management articles dominated the news. It will be interesting to see how cloud management reduces feature disparity between consumer / SMB wireless equipment and Enterprise equipment. I expect new markets for cloud-managed service providers to spring up for SMBs looking to outsource this task.

"Traditionally, wireless network segmentation has been accomplished by creating separate Extended Service Set Identifiers (ESSID / SSID), and mapping each to a different network VLAN with access restrictions performed by some upstream device such as a firewall or router. However, that approach is increasingly ill-suited for today's complex wireless networks"

"enterprises are beginning to seek wireless IPS products that will look beyond the Wi-Fi spectrum for wireless security threats from cellular activity and other wireless devices."

Disclosure - I provided a brief interview and contributed to this article.

"Cisco has enhanced its Adaptive Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (wIPS) so that its Wi-Fi access points can both forward traffic and scan for security anomalies. The company contends that the move should make it more affordable for enterprises to add the wireless intrusion prevention capabilities required to better protect their airwaves. The new Enhanced Local Mode (ELM) is available as a free software download to Cisco 802.11n APs."

"3) Smartphones Trigger Data Breaches - Consumers will bring their 2010 holiday toys to work. Of course, when those 'toys' include devices that can connect to the enterprise network and store sensitive information, organizations must take steps to either block or secure such devices."

"Deloitte claims businesses will account for 25 percent of total tablets purchased in 2011 despite the fact that the market Apple's iPad forged is so young and immature."

"The cloud isn't just the most important trend in IT - it's also essential to the future of mobility. We're already seeing a lot of activity here, with 2011 perhaps becoming the pivot point in the market's overall thinking from 3G/4G to WLAN management."

"With this acquisition, Wi-Fi vendor Aerohive will integrate Pareto’s routing, VPN and cloud services technology into Aerohive’s operating system (HiveOS) and Cloud Services Platform (HiveManager Online). New features and platforms will begin to be delivered in Q2 2011."

"Enables Wireless Access Points and Routers to be Managed Via the Cloud, Simplifies Networking for Small and Medium Enterprises"

"This will fill the product gap between non-scalable, consumer-grade Wi-Fi products and complex, expensive enterprise platforms within the SMB market."

"On Wednesday O2 announced that it would be rolling out a free Wi-Fi network, paid for by venues hosting it and backed by advertising model that deserves a little more attention."

"The Wi-Fi covers 12 indoor and outdoor venues and be offered as a free service to festival patrons... The entire Wi-Fi network across all venues includes 20 Ruckus ZoneFlex 7962 802.11n dual-band access points, 20 ZoneFlex 7762 802.11n outdoor dual-band APs, and two long-range 802.11n point-to-point bridges (for backhaul)."

"Ford believes intelligent vehicles that talk to each other through advanced Wi-Fi are the next frontier of collision avoidance innovations that could revolutionize the driving experience and hold the potential of helping reduce many crashes"

"Wi-Fi has cornered the connected home market thanks to the ubiquity of cable operators' in-home Wi-Fi routers and the economies of scale offered by the technology"

"There’s no question that wireless carriers are cozying up to Wi-Fi more than ever... The broad support, in turn, will help advance Wi-Fi beyond basic connectivity to a smoother overall user experience, says networking giant Cisco."

Cisco advances the need for seamless roaming between cellular and Wi-Fi networks in this Forbes article.

"within 2 to 3 years, I expect 25 to 35 percent of business users to employ a mobile smart phone device exclusively and abandon use of a fixed line desk phone. The impact to businesses will be significant as they embrace this mobile enabled mindset."

Be prepared to support Voice over Wi-Fi, personal devices, and hybrids over your Wi-Fi network soon!

Retail Wi-Fi / Mobility Articles

Mashops anyone? Get to know this term.

"What’s a Mashop, you ask? It’s a shopping experience that combines the best of the physical and virtual worlds in one"

"Interesting article today from Stores Magazine about Mashop - the retail version of the Mashup.  The basic premise is that shoppers now want all of the information that they get from the web at the same time they are physically shopping for an item.  I think this is a great name for something that is drastically changing human behavior; the way we shop."

"why are online retailers growing so fast, and conventional stores so slowly? The answer, many retailers are starting to realize, is that the experience is better online than in stores."

"The report concludes by noting that applications and websites tailored to mobile shoppers are a must-have for retailers. As smartphone use increases, more customers will turn to the mobile channel to find price and product information before making a purchase."

"Any retailer not actively working to develop, measure and refine its mobile experience is leaving money on the table for competitors."

Hey, Target made this list (along with most other top 2010 mobile retailer lists too)!

1. Globalization is rebalancing and returning to historical patterns.
2. The millennial “Sunday night/Monday morning” effect.”
3. Cloud plus social networks plus broadband plus mobility equals a new computing model.
4. Pace of Innovation will accelerate.
5. The mobile channel is transforming retailing.
6. Take the store to the shopper.
7. Mobile POS signals death of traditional POS.
8. All-channel synchronization changes zero-sum game to win-win.
9. Death of the task worker.
10. Engagement-centric retailing takes hold.

"The availability of free Wi-Fi service has a direct impact on whether people select to go to certain venues, according to a new report from In-Stat."

"For an IT leader, mobile is a game-changer. Unlike many other emerging technologies where an immediate strategy is not a concern, mobile is front and center now to your users and customers."

"In order to make payments via NFC, an entire ecosystem of players must cooperate. That includes network operators, handset makers, banks, credit card companies, application developers, and so on. (We’d be kidding ourselves to think that they don’t all want a piece of the mobile payment pie.)"

"Apple plans to introduce “Near-Field Communication,” services, reports Bloomberg, that would let customers use its iPhone and iPad computer to make purchases."

Miscellaneous Articles

This week, I'm highlighting a few articles that focus on soft-skills, rather than technical skills. As engineers it's easy for us to learn, know, embrace the technology. But often times, the communication of technology benefits, solutions, or alternatives is lacking the persuasive punch and is not correctly adjusted to reach it's intended audience. I cannot stress the importance of soft-skills and communication skills enough for engineers of all types. If you want to be truly effective in your position, know how to effectively communicate messages to management and other parties.

"One of the hardest lessons I’ve ever learned is that PERCEPTION IS REALITY. That is, whatever a person sees of a problem, and the way that THEY see it, is the only REALITY that they know... Therefore, as an engineer, you need to understand how to hack other peoples brain such that they perceive correctly."

"One tip for building successful presentations was to spend time thinking about and *really* getting to know and understand your audience. Seems like kind of an obvious one, but think about it…"

"the purpose of this post is to identify, in my opinion the process every network engineer should be following, irrespective of the change management processes in place in the organisation where the change is being made."

"Working for larger companies, and adding expertise and skills seem to be the two most effective ways of boosting salary. Location also matters."

"Businesses are better off deploying multivendor networks, no matter what Cisco and other large network vendors may tell you, according to a recent report from Gartner."

I have seen dramatic expense reduction first-hand within a large enterprise by introducing a second competitor into the network infrastructure. Gartner's findings seem to be spot-on in my estimation.

Comic for the Week!
Upside-Down-Ternet (with reference to XKCD)

Cheers (and happy reading),