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NERCOMP NETMAN/Wireles-LAN Constituency Group Meeting
Yesterday was the NERCOMP (Northeast Regional) meeting of the NETMAN and Wireless-LAN Constituency Groups (NERCOMP holds are constituency group meetings at the same time, so we combined NETMAN and Wireless-LAN. I’m going to send this message to the Wireless-LAN list too). Considering NERCOMP is more focused on Layer 7, we had a good turnout. And as is often the case, the timeslot was too short and several parallel conversations spilled out into the hallway after the session. But I’d like to summarize the meeting.
I looked over both lists’ discussions from the last month or so and picked out topics to seed the meeting. It’s interesting to me how the same topics are perpetually hot on everyone’s plates.
Eduroam continues to be of interest. We (SSU) plan on joining in the next few months as do other institutions represented in yesterday’s meeting. It appears we put the task on our whiteboards and it continually gets bumped down the priority list.
Hard-wiring dorms – split results here. The traditional “port per pillow” philosophy is still there, but people still wonder if it’s needed moving forward. Game consoles seem to be the biggest user, but video pushes users to a wired connection too. We ran a report that showed 75% of our ports in the res halls get used at least once during the term (it could be the same xbox being passed around though ;) ). Other schools said their numbers are closer to 15%.
DHCP HA – a few products/processes were thrown out for comment (ISC failover, Active Directory, Infoblox)
Multi-vendor Internet – Good discussion here. It seems BGP is the protocol everyone loves to hate. A good quote from one attendee was “point, prod and pray”. Hardware port-balancing was discussed (A10, Barracuda, <another I didn’t get the name, sorry>).
Use of wireless point-to-point was discussed. One attendee’s college is geographically challenged when it comes to getting physical wiring to his campus, so wireless looks like his best option. And, if you’ve ever wondered, the John Hancock Tower in Boston originally had a sway of almost 3’, but now it’s more on the order of 3-6” since post-construction stiffening and counterbalances were added. I digress.. . A few months ago there was some discussion on the list about Ubiquity’s Airfiber (24GHz). I’m waiting to see Lee Badman’s thoughts once theirs goes through a Syracuse Winter! There was also some discussion about Lee’s Wireless satisfaction survey. Wireless networking (consistency in user “experience”) continues to be an issue.
The discussion took on the other meaning of “Wireless survey” with a discussion about how we are all moving from “coverage” models to “capacity”. We discussed how people decide placement of radios for new installations. The old model of placing a temporary access point/array and then walking around with a laptop (lather, rinse, repeat) doesn’t seem to work as well now that we are worrying more about capacity. Many of us are using blueprints for a predictive analysis and then tuning after full installation. This model seems to work for new buildings, but not as well for old construction where “what’s in the walls” is less known.
There was a short discussion on Cisco’s acquisition of Meraki. Those who were familiar with Meraki were not impressed. Those with opinions on Cisco felt it wouldn’t be good for the industry.
The old philosophy of being a single-vendor network shop was discussed. General consensus was “best of breed”.
If people see anything in here they want to comment further on, fire up a thread and let’s get the conversation going (again).
Brian Helman, M.Ed | Director, ITS/Networking Services | (: 978.542.7272
Salem State University, 352 Lafayette St., Salem Massachusetts 01970
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