Devinator as a trend, Wi-Fi as a lifestyle

Now with Wi-Fi Direct hitting the market, having Wi-Fi “your way” may get easier in the home while simultaneously creating security and connectivity nightmares for corporate administrators. Hey, think of all of those lovely problems as long-term job security. Welcome to a whole new Wi-Fi game. We’re suddenly living in an ad hoc–ish world, and it’s going to get tricky. I bet the WIPS guys, like AirMagnet and AirTight are going to have a field day with Wi-Fi Direct. Let the games begin!

I’m sure you’ve heard numerous times how in the Wi-Fi market, the home drives the enterprise. It’s absolutely true. If you have it at home, you think you have to have it at work. You get used to Wi-Fi “just working” and expect your corporate Wi-Fi to be just as good or better than your home Wi-Fi – even though it’s handling all kinds of crap that your home network isn’t (RRM, high client density, Directory Service integration, several different kinds of authentication, heavy QoS, firewalling, etc.).

What’s funny to me is that home users are now straining the limits of what SOHO Wi-Fi gear can do, and they’re scouring eBay looking for mid-market and enterprise class gear in order to find something that will hold up under the strain of voice, video, and data at high speed for their home.

When I talk to folks about how the home market is now in need of enterprise-class Wi-Fi products and that it will soon be commonplace to build networks like my BatCave, I’m often told, “We hear you Devin, but you’re not a trend.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the same thing as saying that there’s nobody like me. I beg to differ. How many folks:

1. Use an enterprise class AP (or two) in their home (rather than feature-less, undependable SOHO gear), but lament that nobody makes a just-feature-rich-enough AP (that doesn’t need a controller, but can do everything a controller can do) at about the same price as high-end SOHO units. This is what I would call a Gamer’s AP. Fast, semi-feature-rich, controller-less, great range, low cost, cloud-managed, decent-looking, low power consumption (optional), PoE, and meshable.

2. Have to configure/maintain/upgrade half a dozen or more Wi-Fi connected devices in their home. It’s about a dozen for me by the way. This includes phones, tablets, laptops, and the like, with a wide variety of operating systems and apps. How about complete visibility, control, and ease-of-use while having very high throughput and the flexibility to deploy Wi-Fi any way you choose across your home/office? What about connecting Ethernet-only TVs and Blueray players and extending the range of your main AP with mesh (due to not being able to cable in some places)?

3. Want to compute in every square inch of their home, in their yard while chipping golf balls into tires, while checking the mailbox for coupons, in their car as they pull into or out of the driveway, and in the bathroom while…uh, well, never mind that…you know where I was going.

Am I the only one who’s like this? Of course not…many people are worse than me! Where my expectations of a home network are today, yours will be tomorrow (“tomorrow” being in 6 months or less), and so yes, I think I’m a trend, and I think that Wi-Fi connectivity has become an essential part of our lifestyle – at home, at work, and pretty much everywhere else.

Devin Akin is Chief Wi-Fi Architect at Aerohive. Devin has over 10 years in the wireless LAN market and over 15 years in information technology. Devin's background includes working as a network design engineer for EarthLink, AT&T/BellSouth, Foundry Networks, and Sentinel Technologies as well as working as an RF engineer in the US Army. He has authored and edited several books with Wiley-Sybex and McGraw-Hill and holds some of the industry's most esteemed certifications, including CWNE, MCNE, MCSE, CCNP, CCDP, CCSP, and INFOSEC. He is considered an authority on Wi-Fi.