Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Art of the Conference Call…

I have had many conversations in the past week about how email and conference calls have become a *huge* part of the work environment.   Personally, I am looking to become more effective & efficient at handling these tasks.  If you have a good strategy, please share!

Since it is Friday, I thought I would share a humorous video on the topic:

Thanks to my colleague, Henry Chou, for bringing this video to my attention.

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It’s a Wireless World…

A little levity regarding the ever-expanding nature of wireless…  Happy Friday!

I <3 A Jedi

This picture was sent into me by one of my Twitter followers, @gem69gem — apparently she ran across one of my blog readers on the road…

Enough said.  Happy Friday!

What’s Your Favoirte Wireless Blog or News Source?

I recently read an article entitled “Why employees don’t want to blog“.  The article stated that less than 1% of Internet users have an active blog.

Personally, I have a rather hard time finding blogs about Enterprise Wi-Fi networking & security. That being said, there’s a real need for this type of information.

As Nigel Fenwick points out in the video interview below, there is a much bigger value to this online content than one might think due to the high number of people that are engaged as critics, conversationalists, or spectators.

One such person is Andrew VonNagy, who participated in one of my contests offering a “Free Copy of Wireless Hacking Exposed” in exchange for the best wireless pen testing tip.

The funny thing is, by entering the contest, I stumbled onto Andrew’s blog — Revolution Wi-Fi — and realized that Andrew is a wonderful content creator.   For example, over the last several days, Andrew published a great series of posts about Wireless Quality of Service.

This “discovery” motivated me to start another contest. Tell me about a new wireless blog (or news source).  Some of my favorites are already listed along the bottom, left-hand side of WiFiJedi.com Whoever submits the most compelling content will win a free copy of the Certified Wireless Technology Specialist Official Study Guide.

I’ll choose the winner on the next #WirelessWednesday (Aug. 11th)

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Super Tuesday Poll: Top Wireless Stories of 2009

For those of you unfamiliar with some of the regular features of WiFiJedi.com, I publish poll questions on Tuesdays.  Normally, these are multiple choice poll questions where the answers are shown in percentages.

However, this week I would like to ask the poll question in a slightly different manner. This time, I would like to ask an open ended question and for you to answer within the comments section.

Without further fanfare, this week’s question is “What do you think is the Top Wireless Story of 2009?”

I am going to compile and publish a list of such stories and I would like YOUR help to ensure I didn’t miss any of the best stories.  🙂

Wireless Gift Guide (Cont.)

There are only a few more shopping days before Christmas.  If you have procrastinated until this point, perhaps you should view the “wireless gift guide” I recently published on my Computerworld blog.

I have one addition to the list:

  • BlueAnt Supertooth Light – I can’t believe I excluded this one from the list because I actually *received* one of these as a Christmas gift this year.  It’s a Bluetooth speakerphone/microphone that hangs on a car sun visor.    And as Sheldon from the TV show, Big Bang Theory says, “Everything is better with Bluetooth”.   I actually had a similar device from a different manufacturer and didn’t like it –mostly because it wasn’t loud enough.  The call quality on both ends is excellent with the BlueAnt device.

I also wanted to expand on two of the original suggestions:

  • PlayStation3 – The Wi-Fi on this does a lot more than I originally anticipated. Not only does it allow for free online game play, but it facilitates game updates.  Once such example of this is in sports games where updated team rosters can be downloaded from online servers.  You can also stream movies directly to the PS3 from NetFlix.

Last Minute Holiday Gifts?

Wondering what to get friends and family members for a last-minute holiday gift?   Then check out my latest Computerworld blog post for gift suggestions.  I won’t spoil all the fun, but I made four suggestions that deal with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless technologies.

If you are still puzzled about what to purchase, check out the Super Tuesday Poll that I ran here at WiFiJedi.com to see what wireless-related gifts others are buying for their loved ones.

Happy shopping!

802.11 Heaven

I recently wrote on my Computerworld Blog about wireless resources on Twitter.  The goal of the post was to share ways for those passionate about wireless networking and security could find one another.   One of the comments to that post was from Jamey Kistner (@jameyk1stner).  Jamey recommended another such community, this time on Ning.

The Ning community is called “802.11 Heaven” and is accessible at http://80211heaven.ning.com/ The website’s subtitle is “The place to chat, argue, debate and understand all things 802.11”.  The site was founded by Tom Carpenter (@carpentertom), who is a CWNA and CWSP author.

To be honest, the 802.11 Heaven community is extremely small at this point, but it definitely has some of the best minds in Wi-Fi including Joel Barrett (@joelbarrett) and Keith Parsons (@keithparsons).  Let’s get the word out as the value of the community is strengthened with each new member!

My thanks goes out to Jamey for highlighting this resource.  Speaking of resources, you might also want to check out Jamey’s blog “Wireless Journeys”, which is available here: http://wirelessaficionado.wordpress.com/

Wireless LANs as a “System”

What makes up a wireless LAN (WLAN)?  Is it just the Access Point(s) and any associated WLAN controller(s)?  Does it include anything else?  Personally, I think of wireless LANs as a system.   In my mind, there are three main parts to this system:

  1. The infrastructure
  2. The clients
  3. The environment

The Infrastructure

This includes not only the access point(s) and the WLAN controller(s), but any of the routing & switching gear used for uplinks.  Also included in the infrastructure would be any of the network infrastructure / services leveraged by the wireless LAN (examples include RADIUS, Network Time Protocol, Syslog, etc.) 

The Clients

The IEEE 802.11 specification refers to these as “stations”.   Clients/stations could be computers such as laptops or tablet PCs.  Other examples of wireless stations include dual-mode phones, handheld scanners, etc.  When thinking about the clients, realize this includes not only the hardware, but the software (such as a client driver or management supplicant). 

The Environment

This most commonly refers to the Radio Frequency environment.  The RF environment can be evaluated with a spectrum analyzer, which can show you the signal level of your APs, the noise floor, and any interference in the area.  Interference can come from other Wi-Fi devices, or non Wi-Fi devices (such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, and Bluetooth).  I also think of the Physical environment, which is the type of construction materials used, the amount of vegitation in the area, the terrain/line-of-sight, etc. 

I often get called out in troubleshooting situations.  In many of these cases, the infrastructure has been evaluated as a potential source for issues (for example, are the authentication/encryption settings correct), but the clients and the environment have been neglected

Conclusion

In these troubleshooting scenarios, it is imperative to take a thorough look at all three components.  Not only should you take a look at the configuration file of the infrastructure, but ensure that wireless clients have the most up-to-date drivers.  Look to see that clients power-save and roaming agressiveness settings are appropriate for the application.  Double-check to see there is no interference from Wi-Fi or non Wi-Fi sources, etc.  In short, evaluate your WLAN as a system.