Wireless Mobility Field Day

Now with more polar bear

Thanks to Jennifer Huber for this pic

We are now on the verge of Wireless Field Day 3, which in a follow-up to my last post, I am going to rename Mobility Field Day. Now bear with me a bit here while I outline my reasoning. As I look at the IT industry and in particular wireless technologies there are a couple of things that jump right out at me. First there is a very large movement to the cloud, virtual technologies in the data center and for users, to being extremely mobile. In effect, users want the ability to stay connected wherever they are and get their jobs done from any one of multiple devices they might have access to. These are huge trends and are affecting multiple different areas of IT. Fortunately for me and my colleagues who are wireless engineers we are in a position at the epicenter of these trends.

The companies that we are visiting as part of Wireless Field Day 3, also recognize that a huge part of what they do is to facilitate users to be mobile. Most of them are intimately involved in adding to their core portfolios of products ways to help companies manage the influx of mobile devices that are driving these trends. Indeed out of the list of companies presenting to the WFD3 delegates, only two (Metageek & WildPackets) are not wireless infrastructure companies and their products are tools to enhance the ability of businesses to make their wireless infrastructure work better for mobile devices.

I see that there is a list of core capabilities that customers of these companies are looking for in solving their business problems surrounding having very mobile users. First is the basic requirement of a solid and well performing wireless network. Note that to cope with the fact that many users of the WLAN now have an average of 3-5 devices each being able to have a comprehensive insight into performance metrics is a must. Next, businesses need a way to identify who the users are and authenticate them appropriately. This I classify as Mobile Device Access Control (MDAC). This is not limited to simple authentication, that is not enough in todays mobile environment. It is also necessary to have contextually aware mobile authentication which takes into account not only who the user is, but also what the device is the user is accessing the network from and to a lesser degree location of the device. Now that the user is properly identified, next up is the difficult problem of what data the user is accessing. My opinion of the whole Mobile Device Management (MDM) space is that what they are managing, individual devices, is not enough and that instead MDM should stand for Mobile Data Management as this is the central problem that businesses are trying to solve.

I am glad to see that Aerohive, Aruba, Cisco, Juniper, Meraki and Ruckus are on the list of companies we are visiting as I am excited and anxious to hear what they are doing to enhance their products for mobility solutions. In my mind each one of these companies are leaders in enhancing the WLAN to cope with the new demands of very mobile users and devices and are offering comprehensive solutions for their customers. Follow the link to the WFD3 page and you will find a full list of delegates and companies that will be attending WFD3. I hope you will follow along the live stream and blogs that come out of this event!

The full schedule is below:

Wed, Sep 12 15:00-17:00 WildPackets Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Wed, Sep 12 16:30-17:00 Dinner with Aerohive at Wireless Field Day 3
Thu, Sep 13 08:00-10:00 MetaGeek Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Thu, Sep 13 10:30-12:30 Ruckus Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Thu, Sep 13 13:30-14:30 Tanaza Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Thu, Sep 13 16:00-18:00 Meraki Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Fri, Sep 14 08:00-12:00 Aruba Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Fri, Sep 14 13:30-15:30 Cisco Presents at Wireless Field Day 3
Fri, Sep 14 16:00-18:00 Juniper Presents at Wireless Field Day 3

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