Chris O’Donnell discusses the success and challenges he and his team experience in setting up Cisco Live.
Chris went from an attendee years ago wondering how these events were put on to being part of the team that makes it all happen. Listen in as he takes us behind the scenes of CiscoLive to find out what this high pressure, high expectation event really takes to pull off
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Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast Episode 202.
Yeah, you definitely have to be a person that can take pressure and likes to work under pressure. Not everyone loves to work under pressure. There’s people that will clearly tell you and I’ve had people that have worked as part of this team, either for me or other Cisco Lives and said, this isn’t for me.
Wireless LAN professionals is a place to educate, inform, encourage and entertain those involved in wireless lands. This wireless LAN professionals podcast is an audio manifestation of these goals. Our host is a wireless land veteran consultant, designer and teacher Keith Parsons. And now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Well, Chris, thanks for coming on the show.
How are you, sir? Good, Matthew. How are you, sir? I am doing well. That’s good to hear. So you shared at WLPC 20-20 Phenix about event Wi-Fi. So for those who don’t know, you kind of introduced yourself what you do in the world of Wi-Fi and why this particular topic is of interest and expertise to you, I guess.
Thank you for. First and foremost, thank you for having me on the show. So my name is Chris O’Donnell. I am been doing Wi-Fi since ITOCHU eleven. So pretty much to ninety nine. Two thousand. That’s when I really started doing my five. I currently work for Cisco six organizations and customer experience organization is formally known as the Advanced Services. So we’re the ones that kind of work a lot with the customers we employ in our products. And currently I’m working with a team that focuses mainly on new products. And part of the challenge me, I will not challenge challenges, but one of the gifts I’ve had been able to do since I’ve been at Cisco was actually participate as part of their events, not team. Okay. And since I’m wireless, I kind of do the wireless and help out with the wireless for Cisco.
Like, how big is that team for Cisco live?
Well, the team in Hall is roughly probably around the whole team is 40 members. OK, that’s everybody for wireless. We normally only have like five to six tops for everybody on the wireless team, which is the biggest team out of the NOC squad, only because of the fact of being so large, tightly truncated timetables. And we have to divide and conquer. So.
So if people wanted to follow you or learn more, are, you know, read blogs whatever, how would they get in touch with you?
I’m on Twitter @VoFi_CWNE. I’m trying to be a little bit more active on Twitter, but I’m definitely one of those guys that I don’t chat up as much as I probably should. And I’m also on LinkedIn Chris O’Donnell, don’t get me confused with the actor. Just left for Chris and Cisco.
Well, you shared trials and tribulations of event Wi-Fi. I figured be kind of fun just to introduce that topic and kind of share what you shared at WLPC for the podcast audience. Is that sound OK?
Sounds perfect. Let’s do it. Yeah. The trials and tribulations of Wi-Fi. So I would say I couldn’t come up with a better title, but it pretty much that’s what it is. And so the true title, though, right? It is a true title.
You know, a lot of what we what goes on behind the scenes, I know for me, I was an attendee to Cisco Networkers for many years and Cisco live when it transferred in Cisco Live. And I was the person that always was that technique. And I always had a real interest of how did they put these shows on? I mean, did they hear like for two months getting a single and there’s a lot that they do to put on wheels for us. So when I joined Cisco, I personally just want to attend sessions. I asked my manager, I said, hey, can I attend sessions? And he said, well, better yet. Do you want to work on the NOC team, actually help support the wireless deployment? I said absolutely. If I can do that, I will love to do that. He said, well, you know, if you do that, it’s more, you know, keeping the show up and running. You know, you might be able to go to some sessions here and there, but your focus is working the show. So I said no worries. That’s I think I’ll probably get even more experienced by doing that. And then that’s that’s been the case. So I did that upon joining Cisco in 2015, San Diego was my first show working for Cisco and working for the NOC team. And I kind of fell in love with it, even though it was a pretty grueling schedule.
Yeah, it’s normally about 80 hours a week of solid work. So working into the night and depending on what challenges you have, deployments and deliveries and things of that nature.
Now, you jumped in there, had this opportunity. If someone’s interested in event Wi-Fi, is there any recommendation you would give to them? I mean, obviously, there’s some takeaways from your story there. Just, you know, look for an opportunity and jump in, you know, what kind of experiences and certs or even maybe personal skills. If someone said Mannah, they had the same thing that you said, like, this is so intriguing. How do I get involved?
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I know there is definitely. The other companies out there that focus on invent Wi-Fi. I know at Cisco, the knock team is mainly made up from Cisco employees. So far as Cisco and please go if you are a Cisco employee. It was this podcast. If you have an expertize in something we normally always looking for help expression more on the Wi-Fi side. So we have a lot of our we have a six centers organization, which is organization of the lack of a better term. They’re more junior engineers, but they’re really good engineers as well. And they just come for the experience and they want to come and learn. You know, I’ve had the gift, if you want to call it, to leave these teams up. So we are utilizing my experience and Wi-Fi. And I’ve been doing, you know, been around Cisco Networks for quite some time as you’re signing up. It’s, you know, reaching out to your manager and asking to volunteer, even had customers, Matthew, that have kind of taken a sneak peek behind it. OK. We’ll see how they do things. You know, there’s other big, let’s just say, department change chains out there for, like, not calling out certain people that have wanted to say, hey, we do our own events, but we want to see how Cisco does their events.
So, yeah, it’s just a little game, you know, on the off skill side. Obviously, this is a high, quote unquote stress environment when you’re actually in the middle of it set up and deployment. What are some of those skills that you need? I mean, because you’re constantly being asked questions. You know, I’m assuming a lot of times things are always your fault, quote, unquote. Yeah. What skill level do you need in your pocket? Just from a human standpoint to be able to jump into this type of environment?
Yeah. It doesn’t have to be a person that can take pressure and likes to work under pressure. Not everyone loves to work under pressure. There’s people that will clearly tell you and I’ve had people that have worked as part of this team, either for me or, you know, other sister lives and said, this isn’t for me. Yeah, it’s just too much because, yes, you are under, you know, a lot of pressure. There’s normally truncated timelines where we’d only know better. In a perfect world, we have a week to get ready for the show. But there’s been instances where we’ve had certain years where we’ve had to do it a couple of days because guess what?
On the presentation and Phenix, you’re talking about like your keynote stuff came like days past when it was supposed to be there.
Yes. Yeah. They came the day before the cleanup was supposed to go. So that’s Sunday night, Sunday afternoon to Sunday night. They came in and Tina was at 10 a.m. the next morning, so. Yeah. So you definitely have to be there to work on the pressure. A lot of times you directing other members of the team. So we do work with a lot of great contractors. So we’re not always running and doing our own polls and AP installs again. We only have six guys to put up a hundred. And I wanted a piece and a couple of days. So we’re leveraging people. So we got to work with those. We know we’re working with lack of sleep. We’re working with other people that have lack of sleep. So it’s, you know, trying to be professional. Keeping it very much to planning is key. So documenting and planning these things are very key. But, yeah, you’re going to be a certain individual that’s able to work under that pressure, work with very little sleep and low lying around. Yeah, I would love to go in and go back to the hotel right now and take a snooze. But guess what? We have to be on and it’s now it’s showtime. So there’s this time. Exactly. We have phases that we always call it the bed phases that we go through. And your role has to change in between.
Walk us to the what are the event Wi-Fi phases. Yeah.
So I kind of break it down in six phases. So we have, you know, the first phase as our planning stages and design phase. So this is something that’s done prior to the show that we normally start thinking about the next show, the year and the year ahead. So we finished off last year. We were thinking about what we’re gonna do for this year so far as we go. So SCIEX helps the advance staff, our technology services team inside Cisco. So they contract us to do that work. But we don’t they don’t get plugged in until we are maybe two, three months prior to where they say, hey, we’re starting to be in discussions. We’re and start talking about stuff like that.
How much is templated and how much is like brand new clean slate each year. Like, what kind of stuff is transferable, repeatable as in your planning staging development.
Yes, that’s a great question. So a lot of people think this is very much static and we try to take lessons learned. We try to implement best practices. We try to document everything but settings from last year. We take backups and everything. We do have design criteria, but normally every year we try to do something new where we’re implementing new technology. So whether it be new APIs, new controllers, like this year, there was talk wrong. You know, we’ve always been deploying an erroneous controller. We want to migrate to our Iowa sexy platform, so that’s something that probably obviously we’re not doing it this year with the whole Covid. But maybe next year we might be implementing that 9800 platform. So that’s you know, we’re going back to the drawing board because the 80 group are of profile principles, much different. It’s now tag based solution. And depending on whether we’re taking over an infrastructure or if we’re putting up a new one, that also highly depends on, you know, how much we can leverage from past, like if it’s a home house install. I’m Jim. We go to Las Vegas. We take over their network. So we kind of know their network. We know what needs to be implemented. Obviously, we’re not replacing every piece that we made, putting a little different control. We might putting in a different OS, completely aware it’s a different implementation methodology.
So and I guess there’s a certain amount of, you know, if this is the Cisco show shock, seeing what’s new in your lineup, if everyone showing up and then your stuff isn’t on the bleeding edge, I think there’s probably a balance there on how much new stuff you implement versus what’s tried and true.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, as much as we love to implement every brand new product that just came out last week, you know, a lot of new product launches happened just before Cisco alive. We also know that, you know, the show network is a critical piece of the show itself. So the network, you know, we are Cisco. We have to make sure that the network is up and running and doing everything it needs to do and satisfying the customer need. Obviously, we have vendors in the world of solutions that rely on the show network. There’s a lot of things that I learned coming into this. It’s not just free Wi-Fi for the attendees. Everything pretty much runs on the show. Network, Cisco, TV, everything is kind of backhaul through our network. So if our network doesn’t go up, Cisco TV goes down, it’s not a good thing. And then obviously I was kind of figured this is the ultimate seaport park as a customer proof of concept. Normally we do these things at Cisco campus. We have big labs. We can do a C park-in for customers to kind of prove out our technology. Cisco Live is probably doing that. I mean, we are trying to you know, we’re definitely implementing new stuff. We’re taking risks, educated risks.
But, yeah, there’s there’s always gonna be those times where you. We, you know, like 2018, our distribution switch had to be rebooted because of a TCN exhaustion, IPV six. And that’s something that, you know, right after Keano, right during lunchtime, the whole network goes down, all the wireless, everything. So that’s a good example of, well, we found something out. And guess what? We have a customer and customers. Actually, we all are very, you know, thinking that would be a bad thing, like we get bad press. And those are people that are on Twitter that are like, oh, Cisco’s network is down, you know? But, you know, we got a lot of good feedback from our customer to say, this is great, Cisco, because you guys know what I go through every day as a network engineer, network architect. It’s not perfect. And it’s good to see that you guys are pushing the technology here and finding these limitations or finding, you know, software defects or something like that that we can fix before we put it into a critical infrastructure, even more critical, like a energy company or, you know, like we’re seeing health care and things of that nature. We doesn’t we don’t want failures to happen, as our customers say.
Yeah. With the time pressure of the event coming, whether you are ready or not, you can only do so much testing and staging beforehand before you just have to say this is good enough. What’s that balance for you as as a key person, a key player, a key leader in the knock team?
Yeah. So I guess that we definitely stage as much as we can stage knowing that we’re not going to have time and things happen. Deliveries come late. Every show I’ve done, there’s always been some challenge. Something leaking, deliveries being late, you know. 2018, and when we were in Orlando, I think we hit the trifecta of everything. That was a tough one. But yeah, we definitely tried to stage as much as we can in the lab so that when we get onsite, you know, the controllers mostly got to configuration. I’ve laid in a lot of baseline configuration from an Irish standpoint, our profiling and channel set ups. And I can again, we take lessons learned from previous shows. We know the venues now. I know I’ve made my whole trip around from Vegas to Orlando, back to San Diego. So I’ve kind of been through all of them knowing that, okay, I know this facility, you know what’s going to change, how we’re going to implement new technology. And then when we get and say, you know, you’re absolutely right, there’s going to be things, I’d say that you have to tackle the tuning, the validation, migration, set up and testing migration, phase two and phase three after phase one, we’re on site. That’s making sure that, hey, the roots come from California. We’ve put them in wherever they’re going and they fire up and everything’s good. Everything fires out. There’s no issues, we validation check everything to make sure your interfaces are out.
We test tests, we test than we test. And then from a migration standpoint, now we’re starting to take this network and migrating into a house network, because no matter what, even if we have all these polls, if you’ve ever been Cisco live, that’s been all polls. There are still House APIs that are being used. There’s all this infrastructure that we’re tying into. Sometimes. Most times. So it’s definitely not a complete greenfield segmented network where we are interfacing and migrating. It varies. And depending what venue we go to and every venue, we’re trying to get that house up to power so that we don’t have to bring all these polls for people to see and trip over potentially. We’re trying to move away from that in the future. That’s yeah, that’s a part of the stuff that we have to do on site. And it does take some testing validation. I in time to do all of those type of things. And, you know, like I talked about in my presentation in Phenix, we can validate all of the square feet. You know, when we go to Vegas, we’re taking on the Bellagio. So we’re taking over the Cosmopolitan, we’re taking over MGM Convention Center and Mandalay Bay Conference. Convention Center. That’s a lot of real estate. Yeah. You know, we can’t sight survey how that whole area. It’s just not possible.
And you’re setting up into environments that aren’t your own, obviously. And so you kind of like this temporary world. What’s that like when you’re kind of setting stuff on top of stuff and trying to tie in? I mean, I imagine cabling and all of that stuff when it’s not your own personal real estate. How do you deal with that kind of mess or chaos and trying to tie in and keep everything nice still?
Yeah. There’s definitely some of the photos I show at Phoenix. And for anyone that’s on this podcast, definitely go check out the session, WLAN Pros. I got some big pictures and some of the fibers set up. All of us behind the scenes, our customers don’t see that. But for the most part, yeah. They were definitely working with fiber issues, dirty fiber. Some of the cabling is pretty old. I’ve kind of seen it all. And it’s funny that, you know, we even do back to back or in Vegas. We do our Cisco live show and then, you know, only a month or two later we are doing our large sales. Not a convention, but sales meeting. Sales conference. Yeah. For global. For Cisco. So, you know, fiber that we just used a month and a half ago is now bad before we go there. Two months later, it’s like, how does this happen? You know, it just challenges of, you know, people plugging in, plugging things, unplugging things, working in a temporary environment. Cables get you know, they get their work out. AP is going to work out.
I’ve had a couple of APs during my tenure working here. Where are they? You know, the actual Ethernet interface on the AP pins get worn out.
POE’s not really working or we’re not able to get cap laptop because of that. It’s weird things and it’s just because of, you know, the way they’re packed, just unplugging, unplugging, plugging, plugging, unplugging, you know, it’s constant, you know, wear and tear where normally at a customer site you plug it in. You leave it for three to five years and you replace it. So not now with us, What is the life cycle of an AP for you guys? Oh, that’s a great question. Honestly, don’t even really know. We don’t have to really deal with that. The events tell you that. But there’s always a tell tale sign of, hey, you know, this antenna is not behaving the way it should behave.
You know, we’re very old again, as our six engineers are very well skilled RF guys. They work around these type of equipment all the time so they can suspect, hey, this is you know, I think it’s seen its life. You know, I think that connectors and maybe or that it just got banged around too many times during transit. Yeah. But, yeah, it’s definitely more aggressive, Matthew, than a regular enterprise for sure, because just because of the nature of all of this equipment is not just used for Cisco Lab, it’s used for every show. Yeah, Cisco does. So there’s multiple shows. There’s like six to eight, ten shows throughout the year that we do. This equipment gets transferred all over to the show. So it’s not just a once a year. This is Cisco Live’s equipment and we were even donating some of our equipment for our temporary hospitals. So as you’re seeing from the Covid response. We had customers saying, hey, can you guys get all this stuff for Cisco Live? And obviously you’re not using it because you got to do virtual this area. Are we able to use that? We’ve been able to say, yeah, we can lend some of this stuff out. So but, yes, there’s definitely more turnover, probably every, you know, year or two years, tops. We’re looking at. And, of course, we’re implementing new product again, that works for us. When we say, hey, we’re going to switch out, you know, love AC wave to APD for eleven X like five six Apitz. So it’s kind of a natural thing to be on.
So you get in, migrated in. You mentioned in the present day. And that you are a data guy. You don’t just like the wet finger in the air. So tuning validation face for what does that look like for you? What are some of the surprises, some of the things that you learned that maybe you didn’t expect? You know, through these different experiences.
Yeah. So when we really get down to tuning, we’re after everything is online and we have time for all of the. We have our inventory. We definitely know this is where we divide and conquer. So we have senior members of the team. There’s a couple of normally two or three more senior guys on the wireless team. Everyone’s got a role. So either someone’s working at a hotel. You know, I know my segment. There’s a senior engineer that’s taking care of Bellagio. There’s my ticket for MGM. The one thing mental. I give you an example for Vegas. That’s what will be next year. Hopefully some people are dedicated to that location than the other engineers that we have. Like I told you about, some of our six centers, engineers are great engineers, hard workers. These guys are out there sampling data. So they’re taking sample points of areas like hallways, large ballrooms, medium ballrooms, small areas, the world of solutions. It’s got a dedicated focus. Its own based and keynote. Keynote is big. So I, I normally have been taking on keynote again because I’m kind of overseeing everything as the lead engineer. Yeah, I’m trying to keep all the balls in the air. And also I’m the guy who’s interfacing with a lot of the business people, the project management inside of this team. So I’m the ones giving updates and stuff like that. So a lot of my engineers, my senior engineers are kind of taking on their roles to make sure their areas are up to par as well. And I just because I’m a geek, I’m a Wi-Fi guy. I loved playing cenotes. Tino is one of those areas that gets a lot of visibility. So there’s a lot of focus. I normally take, you know, a good day just to spend time in there after things are installed. Obviously, a lot of it’s set up and planned and designed and keynotes always change every year.
It seems like there’s never to keynote since I’ve been doing this is never to take notes that are almost the same outside of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center because of the static nature of we’re using the House APIs there. But next year, that might change. Yeah. So the keynote area is definitely something that we take a lot of focus on all area as far as training go. We do. I would say do some site survey and we can do a whole area, but we’re getting samples and make sure our RF settings are correct. So transfer power sector back. Our data rates are not too aggressive. There’s always a balance of being aggressive, trying to eke out as much performance as possible and not going overboard. But we’re starting to affect client connectivity. So to go along with that, we’re definitely checking different. We’re doing a lot more tests for edges. We’re doing some protocol testing. I’m a big proponent of, you know, graphing out protocol and seeing how frames are transmitted between the AP and the client and making sure that roaming and if I move from this section to this sections, if I come into the entrance way, moved to Section two or five, I should be associating it to a fancy AP. Right. These are things I test to make sure that when people start in dressing into Keano and we always kind of see like there’s two areas, one side of the arena gets the influx of everybody. So those APIs always get a hard, hard hit because everyone kind associates their first and then they distribute out.
So how you add made an interesting point in the presentation about that being, you know, maybe something that might have been overlooked, but that’s where everyone is congregating and it fires up big time at that bottleneck there.
Yeah. Yeah. Everyone’s waiting outside and then all of a sudden they all come into the arena. And then, you know, when people are coming into the arena, they’re Facebook living. They’re streaming. They’ve got all those going on. Yes. Yeah. Because it’s a show. Right? Every time we do Akino, there’s a show that kind of goes along with it. So we have this you know, I look at it from a data standpoint. I show some of this. I will slides, but you see this influx and then this huge peak of probe requests for wireless folks. If we just get probed to death of everyone coming in trying to find the network, I mean, it’s just the nature of it until 11:00. So until then, I call it the turbulence phase. When I first did my kino, I was looking over the shoulder of the engineer I was learning from. I said, wow, that’s not good. And he’s like, it is what it is. It’s like this in stadiums when everyone’s coming in. It’s there’s going to be some turbulence. The differences, as you know, when you come to a stadium, you’re normally looking for your beer stand. Right. You’re looking to grab your beer and get your seat. Now you’re in a tech uber conference. Everyone wants to show off and a lot of people are testing the Wi-Fi, quote unquote. So you’d be surprised, Matthew, that there’s a lot of wireless geeks out there that along with that. So imagine having this protest arm of, you know, twenty thousand devices coming into an area and then everyone wants to. Speed test on that. So it’s like adding insult to injury.
What do you think the percentages of people that are of that group at any of these live events that are just trying to disrupt as much as possible?
I would say not intentionally disrupt. But I’ll quote unquote, test. Yeah, there’s definitely maybe a 10 percent of hard core people that are really looking at the performance of the network. Believe it or not, contrary to what I thought, I thought would be a lot higher. I don’t see a lot of people trying to do harm. So, like, actually trying to jam the spectrum or things like we’re always looking for that. Right. You know, we do stuff we keep an eye on. Well, for the most part, it’s just wireless geeks being wireless geeks. I just want to know, like, oh, my God, they could only envision being a wireless engineer. What’s going on right now? Right. I would love to be behind the helm of whoever is running the show and seeing what’s going on. And that’s what we have, this tool, this matrix tool that allows us to graph out our kepi eyes and we can stack up, you know, annualization vs. the noise floor versus the pro Brait versus client connectivity, et cetera. Like, we can stack all these kepi eyes. And it’s just interesting to see I call the ski slope that happens where everyone’s climbing up. When we get declining, counts up and then things settle down. And believe it or not, you know, we have engineers that are among the crowd. We have people that are like our moles that are communicating to us. And they’re telling us that. Yeah. I mean, speed test is not awesome right now. And that’s just the nature of the beast. You know, I try to explain to people we have these knock panel sessions, which this is kind of derived from people, these knockout sessions. You should go to WLPC and talk more about this, because I love to hear more detail about all this stuff you guys experience, because no one may only get like seven minutes to ten to talk. So.
Yeah, and nothing back from your your KPI tools. Obviously, people are talking and I don’t know if you’re watching, like, Twitter feed or got someone like sign just to that. And then you all so much you’re doing sensors as well.
Yes. That brings us right to phase five is monitoring is. Yeah. We’re monitoring everything. We have this custom tool. We have sensors out there doing synthetic testing. So I know in Keano last year we had about three, four sensors deployed, different parts of Akino, and it did synthetic testing make sure that DNS was working DCP So it was responding. We were doing a little bit of speed test just to make sure there’s no anomalies happening. But yeah, we’re proactively testing the show before big events happen. So, you know, keynotes and large audience Akino area also gets reused for other type of big gatherings, for different executives at Cisco who talk to our customers and partners and things of that nature. So, yeah, we were constantly making sure that the critical areas, we can’t put a sensor everywhere in the deployment. In the last year, we had probably thirty eight total sensors throughout all of San Diego’s deployment. We’re pretty much focused on where executives are meeting our whisper suites is where a lot of meetings are happening with executives and customers making sure those strategic areas are not being impacted and that things are working well. And then on top of that, you know, utilizing Cisco Prime Infrastructure and Cisco DNA Center, which has been a huge, huge thing, as you mentioned, Twitter, you know, up until 2018. And in Orlando, we’ve really, you know, been scouring Twitter and Twitter was kind of our client test as our clients happy because Twitter people on Twitter say all the Wi-Fi is is awesome or the Wi-Fi is not doing so well over in this area. And we actually use some of that to say, hey, let’s go check out Warlow Solutions near CDW and see what’s going on.
See if there is valid problems going on, having connectivity issues since you had mentioned to just, you know, it’s its own beast. Yeah. And you talked about policing as part of this. What does that look like for you guys to actually go out and say, hey, you know, you’re blasting too much? Or what does that look like for you guys?
Yeah. So, yeah, that world of solutions, I call it the Wild Wild West was definitely an area where every I just don’t work for Cisco’s events team. I actually work with some other customers, events, teams as well. This is a problem across any area, any type of big conference where you have vendors coming into a space. Everyone wants to bring their own network. They have proof of concept demos. They want to do so. And just the nature of Wi-Fi being a shared medium, it’s a challenge always the only place that we really have been able to crack down on this.
You mentioned the way you crack down on this.
Yeah. So all the solutions, we definitely have to police it just because of the nature, you know, everything that’s going on. You know, I think I mentioned the World Mobile Congress is one area where they’ve actually got, you know, we call it the Wi-Fi police, where they actually wear vests. They go around and. Signing the agreement, and they really, really crack down on that. I know we’re not there yet. It’s just a. But we do a really good job. And believe it or not, a lot of the vendors will work with us. They will change channels. They want their stuff to work as well. We want their stuff to work. So it’s just, you know, dedicating time again. I have the staff, if I’m lucky, of six guys. I have to dedicate some of this time. As you can see, there’s a lot going on. But then you have to say we have to go through wars and make sure that, you know, are people using any megahertz channels refrained from that? It’s not allowed. You have to use 20 megahertz channels. I normally carve out channels in my D.C.
channel plan to say you can use these because I’m not using them. You guys can use them and use them among yourselves. And we help customer. We help our vendors to say, hey, you guys, you know, you’ve got Google next door to you and AT&T is here. And guess what? You guys both trying to use Channel 40. Let’s not do that. Let’s you know, once you go to 48 and you go to 40 and help coordinate some of that, because maybe they don’t have a wireless guy that has a Wi-Fi explorer. And that’s got air check. They go and we all look at these channels and say, here, what’s the best channel for me from what I have to choose from that, you know, the events teams given me. So, yeah. Then two four gigahertz is we kind of went away from it as of last year. We’re not even turning on to for societies. It was just because of, you know, it was one six eleven in that environment with all of the vendors. It just doesn’t work.
So monitoring phase five, it brings you to the glorious phase six.
Yes. On Phase six is Teradyne. So, again, everyone, you know, the setup is a lot more to get this up and running. It’s easy to tear down. It’s literally just term equipment and unplugging interfaces. And a lot of it, you know, God bless the team that has to go out physically and pick up equipment. I know we have polls and we have you know, these little C.G. switches are compact switches that are being deployed out in the areas of the venue. They have to go pick all that up, Danto, go manage all the cable things of that nature. So when we do our house, we call our house events or we’re taking a warehouse infrastructure. That’s a lot better just because we have to worry about our core racks and things of that nature that we can avoid having to deal with touching all the pieces. And we just have to just recently migrate baby back over their controllers and they verify that everything is good on their side, the way it goes. We try to do that, even mainstream migration. We’re taking into consideration all of these things so we know you’re borrowing. You have to give back. And we try to be a good goodbar over equipment. And I know the worst cases. You know, if I take a hundred of your APIs and put them into my own AP groups and things of that nature, they send them back to you.
They’re going to go on your default AP group, and you’re not going to like me because now you know potential. You have to remap all of your APIs, Jaypee Group. So one of the things I do in that, you know, phase one to phase three is making sure that I’m taking their AP groups, I’m getting config snippets from them, and I’m duplicating their AP groups. And I’m just using my our profiles, which are not specific to the AP itself on the more to the AP group. And then that’s how we kind of transition back and forth.
Well, I thought it’d be interesting to kind of wrap up the conversation with what do you think is transferable from what you’ve learned? Because this is obviously a unique situation. And in the world of Wi-Fi events, not everyone’s doing this type of scale. What have you learned from this as a Wi-Fi engineer that you think is transferable to other, you know, more typical or just different w LAN applications?
Yeah, that’s great. I think, you know, I call this extreme high density. I just like making up new terms. You know, we have very high density. We have high density, ultra high density. What do you mean as extreme? High density? The only reason why it’s extreme is because it’s done under in a pressure cooker. It’s done in a short period of time. I don’t have a lot of time to plan out the network. I don’t have a lot of time to figure things out. I can’t you know, as much as I love to nitty gritty, fine tune everything. So it’s helped me as an engineer to be more efficient. Definitely, you know, scripting things out. I have a great guy on my team, Tim Barnes. We can’t pass on Tim. I’m continuing to try to learn Python. But, you know, Tim’s been our guy for helping us with getting some python code and getting scripting. Scripting is benki. I know we’re looking to do more stuff with automation. I know last year we used Cisco DNA Center for Automation. And personally, from a certification standpoint, you know, going into my S.S. IEEE, I had a CWNP. I got that back in 2008. But as I moved to Cisco and pursued my SCCA Wireless going into that after doing these events, I did not feel the same. I personally think I didn’t feel the same amount of pressure that most people do going into it, because, again, I c IEEE lab is kind of like being involved in a lock.
So if you’re a person that is training for your CCE IEEE being part the NOC team, I always try to find guys. Hey, are you going for your CSU lab soon? Second attempt potentially. This is. To be because you’re going to have to do things and you’re going have to be very efficient, you’re going out to do things under pressure and you’re going to deal with challenges. You can have your own problems and you have to try to mitigate those problems fast. And that’s pretty much what the CSU labs all about, is testing the best to make sure you can do things in an uncomfortable fashion, because a lot of times savings are being deployed out to customers that their networks are going down. It’s affecting large geographical areas and things of that nature. So, Laura, whole stadium or hospital? I’ve worked a lot of hospitals and having that pressure of, you know, it’s life or death if the Wi-Fi goes down. It’s not like, oh, darn, I lost my free Wi-Fi. It’s no patients potentially could die. So let me know. Associate healthcare. Wi-Fi is definitely I give my hats off to anybody that works inside healthcare and does, you know, what they have to do for I.T., especially these days, to keep that up and running?
Well, Chris, I really appreciate your time and I’m sure the audience does as well. It’s fascinating. And just a lot of fun, a fun discussion. Thank you for spending the time with us.
Yes. Thank you, Matthew. I appreciate it.
Absolutely. Any final thoughts or anything to add?
No, I think I’m looking forward to the future. I mean, obviously, you know, the new six gigahertz band is very, very much appealing to me. And something like this application with the Wi-Fi, you know, Wi-Fi sticks in general. I’m looking forward to deploying more Wi-Fi six because I feel like a lot of the features and functionality of some of this new technology is just going to help us in high density type of configuration. So I’m very much looking forward to the future. I’m actually really bummed out that a lot of our shows are canceled this year physically, and we’re our technology that, you know, Wi-Fi is physical. So you had to be on site to do Wi-Fi. And there was actually a little joke inside internal in Cisco, they said, hey, you guys can actually go to some of the people’s houses and stuff and set up their Wi-Fi so they can attend Cisco live virtual. And I’m like, I’d be kind of an undertaking. But nonetheless, we’re looking forward to getting back into it. I know. I miss it. I love doing it. I love the team I work with. And I look forward to seeing everyone and feel free to come up to the knock knock tours that we do every day. There was one hour tours and feel free to come up and say hello.
Wonderful. Thank you, Chris, so much. Appreciate it.
Thank you for joining us for another episode of the wireless LAN professionals podcast. The podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @wirelesslanpros for all the latest news and updates and also connect directly with Keith on Twitter @KeithRParsons.
Head over to www.wlanpros.com For this episode shown ups as well as the latest in all things Wi-Fi.
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