802.11 East Conference: Day 1 Notes

I’m at 802.11 East today and tomorrow. I’m logged into the conferences wi-fi network and felt that I needed to make the obligatory “from the conference” post. The conference started with some industry upates. Now we’re on to security, a big theme and concern for Wi-Fi. Some highlights from the opening keynotes:

Dennis Eaton, WECA Chairman

  • Estimates 12,500 access points world wide by 2005
  • The Sirius Satellite spectrum complaint is weak. They are trying to make up for their own engineering oversight. The future of Wi-Fi is safe.
  • Wi-Fi5 (5ghz, 54 mbs) will help grow over all market and extend capabilities to supoprt multimedia. Products will migtrate to dual-band support. Consumer choice will be driven by price/performance.
  • Wi-Fi5 not a global std but getting there.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi intereference is hype. Risk is highest in devices that have both. IEEE taskforce dedicated to working out potential coexistance issues.

Marketing Wi-Fi security to your customers – Panel

  • Security is a lot of FUD
  • Companies still not using security measure that are already in place
  • People simply not managing access points
  • Using WEP is still more secure than not using WEP
  • WEP in conjunction with VPNs etc can help
  • Need to have a complete security solution that bridges LANs and WLANs
  • No security measure will be bullet proof, just reduce risk
  • A lot of the marketing work is educating AP managerson how to implement the right amount of security. The tools are there.

I’m sitting next to Robb Sequin, editor of WirelessRelated.com. He’d moderating the New Applications session later today. Check out his Wireless & Mobile Visionaries Newsletter.

Mid-morning and afternoon session notes.

Panel - How to Build Genuinely Secure Networks Most important improvement in WLAN security today and why?

  • Industry working together to make security a non-issue
  • Acceptance and deployment of IPSec, security should be in network layer
  • Awareness of multiple approaches to security
  • Focus on end-to-end security solution rather than piecemeal solutions
What's the advantage of layered protocols and using multiple protocols
  • Gives you choice to match sec solution to the data you are trying to protect and the location you are trying to secure.
Security plan should address two issues:
  • User management - Authenticating users and giving appropriate access
  • Privacy - keeping data secure via VPN or WEP
How to build multi-party WLAN networks (ie seperate hotel guest traffic from hotel admin traffic)?
  • overlapping SSIDs for different users
  • role based authentication
Case Study - WLAN/2.5/3G Hybrid Networks
  • Wi-Fi compliments 2.5/3G
  • Mobile Operators want to offer hybird services to their existing customer base, have much great chance to build sustainable user base than individual WISPs
  • Seeing converged devices on the horizon(link to a google cache, could get through to the site)
  • 3 areas of integration required, billing, authentication and network handoffs
  • No standard yets, and until we get standards we'll see proprietary solutions that are for early adoptors
  • Bridge the power gap:chips vs. new architecture
    • Wi-Fi market enabled by laptop market, but real growth will come from embedded applications where power consumption is key factor
    • Easy solution is to be smarter about shutting of components that are idle
    • Data rates are being driven up in the emerging standards. But is that really required? Should we concentrate on less fast but more powere coservative stds.
    • Analysts see high rate multimedia as killer app for home electronics
    • Location awareness in WLAN can help adjust power and data levels on the fly
    • 11b chipsets prices are dropping from $35 to $20 very quickly
    • Consumers won't be willing to pay for higher data rates till they have a use for them
    • 11b will do well because the price is dropping rapidly. 11a might be a flop, superceded by either 11abg combo cards or just 11g
    Presentation - Exploit the Latest VoIP Applications


    • Wi-Fi Telephony market drivers: consumer wireless created wireless expectation, enterprise stds, convergining networks, dynamic workplace
    • Enterprise VoIP is has picked up steam from 1999 to 2000
    • No std for Wi-Fi VoIP
    • Softphone on devices with Wi-Fi cards evolving, but poor ergonomics
    • New Brunswick School District has all VoIP phone system with wired and wireless handsets. One network for Wi-Fi, voice and wireless voice.
    • University Medical Center: blend of PBX and VoIP with wireless.
    • Wireless VoIP requires strong focus on minimizing latency and jitter, end-to-end QoS, 802.11e coming along as an industry std for wireless QoS for Wi-Fi
    • Security concern is using Wi-Fi to break into data account, less concern about eaves dropping
    • Consultants, analysts, exec want one voice that roams cellular and 802.11. Limted to a small set of highly mobile users. But looking into it.
    • Key to success: interoperability and partnerships, right device for the right application
    • Advantages of VoIP: one cable, can move phone without reprogramming servers
    • SIP gaining fast momentum, but haven't see demand on the wireless Wi-Fi side
    • No single winning std for wireless VoIp, yet
    • Converged voice/data infrastructrure lowers maint costs
    • Mobility and availability
    • Converged apps
    • Potential mgmt over ld costs
    • Two key 802.11 handset players, Symbol and SpectraLink
    • WEP will be replaced by TKIP
    Presentations - New Applications
  • what's hot and what's not
    • PowerDsine - power over ethernet so that access points don't need a power outlet. Saves on deployment of access points. University says without power over ethernet it would have taken 6 months to get a power outlet to the access point. Also enables SNMP remote control of AP. See opps for more terminals such as cameras, sensors, etc.
    • Internet Home Alliance - Forum to drive consumer adoption of connected home/lifestyle products. Consumers want things that help them stay in touch with family and friend and make like easier, for example connected family calendar system to keep track of everyone's schedules. Doing pilot to test concepts.
    • Newbury Networks - Working on location enabled networks (LEN) over WLAN, 3-5 meter range. WLAN is the 1st time we don't know where computers are, hard to secure, provision, and manage. Use LEN to focus WLAN acess and avoid out of building access and more granular authentication by location. Turn on/off applications by locations. Turn off internet surfing when in the classroom. Add location info to enterprise IM apps. Many vertical apps. Coolest company today.

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