Mesh Without Wires

April 9, 2011

Day 2 ISC West Impressions #ISCW11

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 10:54 am
Tags: ,

Muni Surveillance Panel: Wireless Infrastructure

ISC West 2011

ISC West 2011

In the morning, I presented at and moderated the panel Muni Surveillance Panel: Wireless Infrastructure. During the Q&A portion, we again discussed how to get video off transit busses and police cruisers. The options vary: cellular broadband; wi-fi hotspots; mesh infrastructure mobility (placing mesh nodes in cars/vehicles); and wireless offload at depots and police stations for non-real-time video.

Below is my presentation from the session:

Or view the presentation directly on SlideShare: ISC West 2011 Muni Surveillance Panel: Wireless Infrastructure

Women in Security Panel

I was not able to attend this session; so if anyone blogged about it, please let me know! (You can link to any relevant posts in the comments).

IMS Research Market Update Panel

Key takeaways on the video surveillance side (I did not capture as much information on the access control or PSIM trends). The presentations focused on the Americas physical security market; so the comments below reference the trends in the Americas rather than worldwide.

  • IMS expects M&A activity to continue in video surveillance space
  • Per IMS, Axis Communications continues to lead in network video
  • Commercial thermal cameras trend: Pelco, Bosch and Axis all have lower cost solutions. Lower costs enable new applications; these cameras are effective for perimeter protection
  • The market is all about HD/megapixel; standard definition cameras will begin to (edit 4/18; see note below on timing) be phased out in 2-3 years, per IMS. Phase out of standard definition cameras in the Americas driven by production costs; HD vs standard definition production cost differential negligible. (So manufacturers are really driving this trend, vs the end-users. Big implications for both wireless networking and storage).
  • 3D video surveillance (1st time hearing of it) won’t be commercially available for a long while, per IMS
  • Per IMS, HDCCTV will have 4-6 percent market share by 2014 (rather small)

[Added 4/18] On the phase-out of standard definition cameras, IMS’s Gary Wong adds: “The phaseout will begin in next 2-3 years, however the vast majority of new network cameras released to the market now will be of HD or higher resolution. IMS Research believes that this trend is common to all manufacturers.”

Networking and More Networking

Thursday was networking overload! By the end of the day, I tried to get out of the company dinner, but the CEO said “absolutely not!” so I did not get to my room until 10 pm. A separate post on the networking opportunities, and how I did against my tentative plan (Tweetups, Networking, and More Things to Do While at #ISCW11) is coming up. As a side note, it’s much nicer to stay at a non-casino hotel – once you leave Venetian, you are done with this place and the whole casino scene.

Note on Wireless

Firetide booth at ISC West 2011

Firetide booth at ISC West 2011

Wireless connectivity was bad! Both at the Sands (3G) and Wi-Fi in my hotel; Venetian suite Wi-Fi wasn’t much better. That is why this post is being published Saturday: I just could not upload the presentation, especially in the evening when I assume more people were on Wi-Fi. Tweeting pictures from the show floor was also a challenge – I could not upload a single one while at the Sands. This picture of the booth was tweeted when the show closed already.

This experience echoed the comment from the co-panelist on the Muni Surveillance panel: if you try to do mission critical communications (and especially video) over a shared network, that network would be the first to let you down in case of a big event. So, dedicated mesh all the way!

(Just to illustrate my point: I was finishing up this post at the airport, and almost commented that their Wi-Fi was the best that I saw in Vegas. But just as I was about to hit publish, McCarran Wi-Fi kicked me off the network, and I had re-login. On the other hand, I’m adding this comment while on the plane using portable hotspot feature on my Nexus S. So wireless FTW, but be careful with mission critical traffic, and have something more solid than cellular or public Wi-Fi).

For more ISC West  2011 posts, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 7, 2011

Day 1 ISC West Impressions #ISCW11

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 8:41 am
Tags: ,

ISC West is in full swing! Here’s the recap of day 1 of the show.

Follow ISC West virtually through Twitter hashtag #ISCW11

Follow ISC West virtually through Twitter hashtag #ISCW11

Executive Club breakfast

We started the day with the breakfast with the Executive Club members (Firetide and TESSCO are jointly sponsoring the lounge, so our team was invited). One of the ‘perks’ of being an Executive Club member (besides the very nice lounge) is the access to the show floor at 9 am on Thursday. We’ll see today how many people actually show up!

Security specifiers become mediators

Continuing on the theme of security specifiers, I had a change to sit down with a security consultant who specified a couple of large municipal projects that ended up including Firetide as the wireless infrastructure. He shared with me that in the last year a so he’d been involved more in project mediation and expert witnessing on the projects that he’s not specified anything new (shame!). His new role (and more profitable as it seems) is to mediate between the end-user, A&E consultant, general contractor and the integrator, to avoid going to litigation. Echoing what was said on the yesterday’s panel, one of the issues is the 3-year old, cut-and-paste spec: “in security industry, it’s dog years – the project is 21 year behind the curve even before it gets started.”

Mobile video mesh demo

Another highlight of the day was the mobile mesh demo on Axis Communications booth (check it out on booth 18051). There was a lot of interest in the demo, including the mesh connectivity portion of it.

Mobile video mesh demo at ISC West 11 - 'Firetide-inside'

Mobile video mesh demo at ISC West 11 - 'Firetide-inside'

The mobile mesh node is placed in the trunk of the car, while a fixed mesh node is located on the booth. This setup is what we call “infrastructure mobility” – the police cruiser is now essentially a mobile command center, connected to the mesh infrastructure and able to control the cameras on the fixed network. (For more information on infrastructure mobility, please see Technology Behind Wireless Infrastructure Mobility).

Social media for dealers and integrators

On Wednesday, I presented on the panel Social media and web marketing for dealers and integrators.” Here’s my presentation – gives you food for thought on why it’s important that you get started with social media now.

Or view the presentation directly on SlideShare: ISC West 2011 Social Media for Dealers & Integrators

See you at the show!

The show opens today at 10 am. I hope to see you in my session Muni Surveillance: Wireless Infrastructure (10:15 am to 11:15 am Thursday April 7, Room 204), and on Firetide booth 24083!

Follow @firetide and @kseniacoffman on Twitter for updates from the show. For the ISC West Twitter stream, follow hashtag #ISCW11.

For more ISC West  2011 posts, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 6, 2011

Day 0 ISC West Impressions #ISCW11

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 7:00 am
Tags: , ,

The ISC West 2011 show has not started yet, but I’ve already been in Vegas for almost a day and a half, so a daily recap is in order.

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

The booth setup went smoothly, apart from a monitor damaged in transit, a video camera that finally gave out, and a shipment that did not arrive (aka the usual). But, the wireless is up and running, so it’s all that matters!

Working with Security Specifiers

On Tuesday, I was able to join one of the ISC West Education sessions: Working with Security Specifiers. The panelist presented a good mix of perspectives: integrators, consultants and end-users. Here are a few take-aways (adopted from my tweets from the session):

  • Practitioner perspective: relationship with vendor and support they are able to provide are more important than intricate differentiators between vendors
  • Consultant perspective: Include manufacturer into the process, in addition to integrators, consultants, end users [KC: music to our ears!]
  • Integrator’s perspective: Goal of an integrator: Mitigate risk; provide compliance; deliver ROI for the project, and most importantly: build a long-term relationship with both the consultant and the end-user for ongoing project success
  • How can RFP response stand out? One example: send CEO to the pre-bid meeting!  (And provide your home number so that the end-customer can reach you) – That approach really stood out for one of the panelists.
  • How can you compete with a “low-bid integrator” in your RFP response? Define the price in terms of long-term value and project life cycle, vs “bill of materials.” Also, show domain expertise in a particular vertical; without a track record for this particular type of install, the integrator will be learning on the job at the user’s expense.
  • Validate claims of your bidders – e.g. visit offices of your prospective integrators (consultants may play this role)
  • One of the speakers (an end-user) cautioned against using a consultant who may be a one-man shop. He advised: Don’t be afraid to approach larger consultant firms with a smaller project; they may use junior associates who would work under a senior member’s oversight
  • New construction vs retrofit: in former case, harder to get to end user and communicate value. Consultants can be the conduit.
  • RFP needs to be written based on an assessment, not cut and paste from industry spec – This was a common concern regarding MEP firms (mechanical, engineering, plumbing).
  • When the panel was asked  “how do you handle a situation where a spec is clearly cut and paste?” – the integrator on the panel had an interesting perspective: Don’t just assign blame; use cut-and-paste or old spec as an opportunity to develop a relationship and educate the consultant for *next* project.

Overall, it was an interesting session: it was educational to see the emphasis on relationships and track record (although it’s hardly surprising).

Women’s Security Council

Another highlight of the day was the Women’s Security Council kick-off reception at the V Bar in the Venetian. I got there pretty late (7:30 pm) and was surprised to see the great turnout – most of the bar was dedicated to the event with a good crowd mingling. (Compare that to the conference session above, where I was the only woman among the 80-90 attendees).  I ran into the women I knew before, some who I only exchanged emails with, and met some new people. Thanks to Rhianna Daniels and the entire Council for organizing! Find out more about Women’s Security Council at the organization’s web site:

The show officially opens today at 10 am. I hope to see you in my session Social Media for Dealers and Integrators (4 to 5 pm Wednesday April 6, Room 202), and on Firetide booth 24083!

Follow @firetide and @kseniacoffman on Twitter for updates from the show. For the ISC West Twitter stream, follow hashtag #ISCW11.

For more ISC West  2011 posts, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 4, 2011

Tweetups, Networking, and More Things to Do While at #ISCW11

Filed under: Technology — kseniacoffman @ 2:16 pm
Tags: ,
Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Trade shows and conferences are not just about business meetings and panels. Here are some social and networking opportunities that I have on my radar:

Monday 7:30 pm

Informal ISC West kick-off tweetup at the V Bar at the Venetian.

Tuesday 6 to 8 pm

Women’s Security Council kick off reception at the V Bar at the Venetian (this event probably excludes 80 percent of ISC West attendees, but oh well). RSVP at

Thursday 7:30 am to 8:30 am

Security 5K race – good for your body, good for your mind! I’m not a runner, but have aspirations to walk it (maybe). Register at

Thursday 4 to 7 pm

ONVIF interoperability demonstration and reception at the Venetian in Galileo Meeting Rooms 1002 & 1003. Probably who’s who of IP video will be there, so it’s a good networking opportunity. Free registration.

Thursday 9:30 pm

Tweetup with SSN and SDN at the Treasure Island Bar. This is getting late in the day and late in the week, but if you have the energy, should be a fun time.

Dining off the beaten path

If hotel dining and the whole casino scene do not appeal to you, here are a couple of places you might want to check out:

Indian: Origin India

4480 Paradise Road #1200 Las Vegas, NV Phone: 702.73.INDIA

I discovered this place while staying at the Hard Rock. The restaurant is tucked in a shopping center next to CVS pharmacy, but inside it is a whole different experience: nice dining room and an elegant wine bar; a pleasant respite from non-stop rock music of the hotel. The food is artfully presented, and tastes great.

Sushi: Osaka Japanese Bistro

4205 West Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89102 Phone: (702) 876-4988

Excellent place, and comes highly recommended from several physical security colleagues as well. I’ve only been to the Sahara location, so cannot vouch for the other one. If you want sushi in landlocked Nevada, this is the place to go.

For the “official” Firetide ISC West program, see my post: Attending ISC West? Here’s Where to Find Firetide Team at #ISCW11

March 26, 2011

Making the Most of Conferences and Expos: #B2BChat Offers Advice and How-to’s

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter,Social Media — kseniacoffman @ 10:08 am

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I am one of the moderators of #B2Bchat – a weekly conversation for B2B marketers. If you are not familiar with Twitter chats, please see my post: Primer on Twitter Chats.

Follow #B2Bchat on Twitter

Follow #B2Bchat on Twitter

With the spring season of conferences and trade shows in full swing, the last #B2Bchat tackled the best practices on how to manage them (and survive). Panels, business meetings, speaking sessions, trade show floor, dinners, parties (those I skip, I swear) – how do you balance them all? Below are the tips and how-to’s that #B2Bchat participants shared.

Starting with the basics – Q1. On the trade show floor – How can you be most effective, whether or not you have a booth?

  • tracibrowne: Show up with quantifiable objectives so you can measure success (or failure)
  • skylineexhibits: If you have a booth, promote ur presence aggressively to get right people into it. Have talented staffers who want to be there.
  • donseamons: Engage, focus your message, qualify quickly, then move on.
  • kseniacoffman: Pre-schedule meetings; don’t show up w/ out an agenda
  • NickBianchi: It’s good to set up contacts in advance, but don’t overplan. Many valuable things can be spur of the moment.
  • Brandspiration: Try to get a list of exhibitors before attending – research who you want to network with in advance & then approach.
  • MaureenB2B: Staffers should have great consultative sales questions around likely pain versus info about “stuff”
  • b2bento: Pre-event networking is the key! RT @vasanthgan: A1: Pre-schedule meetings, spread your key messages
  • DWesterberg: So many things to accomplish at a conference.  Think: press, alliance partners, buzz @ conference, leads

There was a side conversation on ‘disinterested staffers.’ I honestly have not seen this on our booth ever, but here are a few pointers:

  • tracibrowne: How do you know a staffer doesn’t want to be there? They usually make it pretty obvious…rolling eyes first clue ;-)
  • skylineexhibits: They either tell you, you ask them, or their performance is so bad at a previous show.
  • donseamons: I was just at HIMSS11, a large health B2B show. Many examples of disinterested staffers:

Q1 summary: objectives, preparation, key messages & questions, + enthusiastic staffers = success!

Q2. If you have a speaking gig, how to best leverage it ? Pre-, post- and during the panel


  • tracibrowne: If the event has an online community be active in it
  • ASegar: On event community, let it be known you’ll be around pre & post your session to chat & answer questions
  • skylineexhibits: Speak early in the show, then have a booth on the show floor. Attendees will talk business in your booth. Can’t mandate, but you can ask. Networking with the other speakers is awesome, too: go to the speaker room, attend speaker dinner (if there’s one)
  • ASegar: Offer organizers short pieces, written or video, about your session
  • donseamons: Lots of pre-show pub in mailers, emails, social media, etc. Schedule time for the speaker to be in the booth, and promote that, too.

During the panel:

  • b2bento: Present agnostic, useful and good content. Don’t try to oversell. Network (online) pre and post events – answer questions
  • skylineexhibits: Don’t sell your product, sell your expertise through credibility by doing a great, informative presentation. Offer to email something of value (such as a white paper) for attendees that they can get by giving you a business card.
  • kseniacoffman: It’s appropriate to invite ppl to your booth after the panel (soft sell)
  • vasanthgan: During the panel, focus on the future trends/solutions and not on what the audience already know about.
  • itsjustjana: Post session Q&A is sooo important. Huge pet peeve when I book a speaker who talks and runs.
  • DWesterberg: At events I like to have the most giveaways for largest audience – Not at $200 item/drawing but a $10 item for 20.

After your panel:

  • ralaw33: Post show we’ve gotten the best response by using social media platforms to distribute slides and video. Extends use.
  • phylliskhare: I like that idea of creating a short video response right after the panel — that’s something to do right away!
  • ASegar: Try to get your session recorded; can use for post-conf PR

Q2 summary: Try to speak early; promote the session & booth presence; be active in online community pre-show; share your presentation socially.

Q3. If you blog or tweet from an event, what do you focus on?

Tweeting, live blogging, daily blog recaps and post-even long-form blogs are all useful, but immediacy is definitely with tweeting and live blogging:

  • cuferg: Focus on content: sessions of interest to your targets/audience, key messages coming out of the sessions, show floor happenings.
  • vasanthgan: Key Numbers (stats) of the business/market that is shared in events.
  • kseniacoffman: Think like a reporter – but put a company PoV on it (i.e. what you wish the press woud write about you) :-)
  • cuferg: I’ve noticed marketing presentations are providing easily “tweetable” content, key points in 140 or less lately. Any others doing this?
  • shotgunconcepts: @cuferg Just the new reality of an old axiom. You always need to leave audience with a few memorable points. They’re now 140 characters.
  • tricomb2b: Capturing the meaning behind the event and using information gained to educate and help others!
  • MarchellGillis: Interesting trends and sites from the event, I may reference folks that I meet
  • shotgunconcepts: Offer value in your event tweets & blog posts, don’t just be a self promoter
  • B2Bento: Good example of live blogging – @asuthosh did a great job of live blogging from SMWF –
  • asuthosh: Include relevant comments from the audience and reactions to those – that tends to be left out in conference material
  • skylineexhibits: I’ve shown a speaker after the event the Tweets I sent – they are grateful

Involving the on-line, virtual audience came up as a theme:

  • ralaw33: I focus on sessions so customers not attending can be part of discussion. I tweet before to find sessions they are interested in. I love soliciting questions from followers and asking during Q&A. Presenters like it since it means audience participation
  • itsjustjana: Key take aways from the conversation or sharing a problem identified and asking for more feedback or the agree/disagree
  • kseniacoffman: I had good feedback on live-tweeting tours – especially if a few go on simultaneously, or not all can attend. Take lots of photos – great for people following virtually

Daily recaps will be popular, both with virtual and live attendees:

  • kseniacoffman: Daily recaps are very popular – I get a lot of traffic to these; takes effort though
  • tricomb2b: Agreed! @itsjustjana Yes, when i can’t attend a daily recap is event gold!
  • CASUDI: I really like to see daily recaps ~ from others at a show ~ with good info clipped from all the noise

There were a few contrarians who do not do much live tweeting from the event:

  • tracibrowne: I have to sit this question out – I can’t tweet and pay attention to the event.  I take notes and blog later
  • ASegar: Frankly, the better the event (for me, that means the more I participate) the less I tweet. But If I’m at a presentation I’ll tweet more if there’s a backchannel conversation going on

Don’t forget your manners:

  • tracibrowne: If all you are tweeting is criticism you are going to look like a [not a very nice person]

And most importantly:

  • b2bento: Tweet with event hashtag – immediately creates a community around the event.

Q3 summary: Blog & tweet with key takeaways, buzz or audience reactions; Lots of photos; Solicit questions from followers; Don’t forget the virtual audience.

Q4. How do you ensure effective follow up?

  • MaureenB2B: Key is to define, before the event, what your follow-up goals are. Do we want names or warm leads or other?
  • cuferg: Based on pre-show goals, segment booth visitors, cold/warm/hot and have plan in place to address each group.
  • fearlesscomp: Agree on lead definition. Gently nurture. Score for handoff. And provide sale with content too.
  • skylineexhibits: Improved follow-up starts at the show: Write down what attendees said so sales know & are motivated to follow up. Plan in advance the fulfillment, the team, and who is responsible. Blog post on this:
  • itsjustjana: Document your conversations. Who, where, what, when, why. All of it. Remind me why I was engaged and then sell me
  • kseniacoffman: Note on the back of biz cards what you talked about, what follow up is needed
  • ralaw33: Never thought of using phone to scan. Awesome! @itsjustjana: With business cards i either scan with my phone or text the info
  • tricomb2b: Have a desired outcome in mind and steer the conversation towards the goal
  • tracibrowne: Ask the visitor how they prefer to be contacted…then honor that
  • shotgunconcepts: Event hashtag is not just for the time of the conference. Continuing using in the days afterward to follow up without clutter

Q4 summary: Document everything – follow-up needed, when & where you met, photo/scan card with your phone!

Q5. Tips for staying sane and avoiding burn-out?

  • shotgunconcepts: Two conference essentials that most people don’t get enough of: water and sleep
  • tricomb2b: Know your limits and what you need to recuperate before getting back into the heat of things!
  • tracibrowne: Stock protein bars in the booth for your staff for a quick pick-me-up
  • ASegar: Yoga too! RT @KseniaCoffman: If you can, find time to exercise!
  • kpainc: Hydrate well before show; limit parties; eat right; plan meetings & specific booths to see; don’t walk exhibit floor to explore
  • Brandspiration: Schedule breaks, know where to find coffee & water, keep a positive attitude & have fun meeting ppl.

But all this “healthy living” and “balance” discussion was countered by the “work hard, play hard” camp:

  • AitchesonS: Boring! :) RT @phylliskhare: No parties. Go back to room, drink good water, eat something healthy, blog, and sleep.
  • skylineexhibits: Tough to avoid all the parties when that’s when some of the best networking happens
  • Edgemon72: I would say get 7 hours sleep and keep attentive! Great data available at parties if your not drunk or tired.

I will leave you with these words of wisdom as a summary:

tracibrowne: I tell people the day starts when coffee shop opens and ends when the last attendee leaves the bar. There’s plenty of time for rest and sleep when you get home. Squeeze every second you can out of the three or four days.

Does #b2bchat sound interesting? Join us for a lively discussion on B2B topics every Thursday at 8pm Eastern. Follow @B2B_chat for updates.

For other posts on social media topics, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

March 22, 2011

Attending ISC West? Here’s Where to Find Firetide Team at #ISCW11

Attending ISC West? Be sure to connect with the Firetide team. Here’s where to find us:

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

On the Show Floor

Visit our booth #24083 to learn why Firetide wireless infrastructure is faster to deploy, costs less, and offers greater flexibility – and delivers HD/megapixel video equal in quality to wired. Explore the latest trends in wireless infrastructure and see Firetide products in action.

We will be demoing:

Drop by our booth #24083 or schedule a meeting with the Firetide team by emailing us at partners(at)

For a Free Exhibits Pass, click on the ISC West logo above or visit

At the Conference

I will be part of these ISC West conference sessions:

At Vendor Solutions Session

Firetide is presenting in Anixter’s Integrated Physical Security Seminar taking place as part of ISC West’s free Vendor Solutions sessions on April 6. We will discuss prerequisites for a wireless-enabled campus in this case study of a university transitioning to IP-based security.

  • Integrated Physical Security Seminar – April 6, 12:45 pm – 2:45pm, Room 704
    Learn about IP-based applications through a real-world scenario of a university’s transition to an open-architecture IP access control and video surveillance solution. Learn how an IP security system is built from the ground up!

The session is free for all ISC West attendees, but you must reserve your seat during the registration process. (This session is a condensed version of Anixter’s full-day Integrated Physical Security Seminar which I covered on this blog; see: Notes from Anixter Integrated Physical Security Seminar)


Follow @firetide and @kseniacoffman on Twitter for updates from the show. For the ISC West Twitter stream, follow hashtag #ISCW11.

Look forward to seeing you at ISC West 2011!

For my coverage of ISC West 2010, please see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

March 15, 2011

Firetide Wireless Ethernet Bridge Spotted in the Wild

Filed under: Physical Security,Point-to-point — kseniacoffman @ 11:00 am
Firetide Wireless Ethernet Bridge

Firetide Wireless Ethernet Bridge Deployed for Access Control

… in Australia, of all places. The bridge projects tend to be on a smaller scale than our mesh deployments, so we don’t make announcements on them, but it’s nice to see one in operation. This is a project deployed by our integrator Independent Locksmiths & Security for an access control application.

The link pictured employs our FWB-102 wireless Ethernet bridge with integrated 2.4 GHz antennas.

Read the full post on the Independent Locksmiths’ blog: Firetide Enables Reliable Connectivity to Remote Access Control Gate.

For more posts on point-to-point products, please see:

/Image via Independent Locksmiths blog

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

March 7, 2011

Attending IWCE in Vegas? Here’s Where Firetide Team Will Be at #IWCE11

IWCE 2010 logoIf you are attending IWCE in Last Vegas, be sure to connect with the Firetide team. Here’s where to find us:

Panel: Wireless Surveillance Ecosystem – Tuesday March 7, 8 am

I will be part of the Wireless Surveillance Ecosystem panel starting at 8 am on March 7. The panel is moderated by Geoff Kohl and Steve Lasky of and will cover the following topics:

  • The Realities of Video Surveillance
  • Wireless Technologies Panel Discussion
  • Video Surveillance Technologies Panel Discussion
  • The End-User’s Checklist for a Wireless Video Project

The session takes place from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm in Room S228.

Workshop: Designing and Specifying High-Performance Wireless Infrastructure – March 8, 1 pm

Later that day, Jeff Butler, Firetide systems engineer, and I will present a workshop on designing and specifying high-performance wireless infrastructure. The workshop will cover:

  • Design Considerations for High-performance Wireless Networks
  • RF Basics for Wireless Systems Design
  • Wireless Applications In Fixed and Mobile Networks
  • Specification & Design: Approaches, Tools, Best Practices

The session takes place from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Link to March 8 conference programming (all March 8 sessions).

During the Show: See Firetide on Hutton’s booth 4027 – March 9-11

The Firetide team will be on Hutton’s booth throughout the show – please stop by and check out our wireless mesh, point-to-point and WLAN equipment.

For for a free Exhibit Hall Pass, courtesy of Hutton: go to and use customer code V8 to register.

See you at the conference!

For my coverage of IWCE 2010, please see these posts:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

March 2, 2011

Is Redundancy Important in Wireless Network Design?

We sometimes hear that mesh is an “overkill” and “why do you need redundancy in the first place?” If the network is designed properly (the skeptics continue), you don’t need redundant links anyway.

Aside from special situations when moving machinery can block your line of sight (such as in ports, mines, industrial facilities, warehouses, or construction sites), is there a case for redundant links in installations that don’t experience variations in line-of-sight conditions?

Absolutely! Just look at the pictures below:

Downed pole over a commuter train line

Downed pole over a commuter train line

Light pole downed due to a car accident

Electric pole damaged in a car accident

Light pole down at a stadium, apparently due to age

Light pole down at a stadium, apparently due to age

So while today’s wireless equipment is extremely reliable, the infrastructure it goes on – not so much. Weather, age, defects in construction, drunk (or distracted) drivers – these are the ‘hazards’ that often call for redundancy in wireless design.

Redundancy of course comes at a cost – in equipment and installation labor. But you should definitely consider it for your critical links – the ones that aggregate traffic from multiple cameras, for example, on the way to the command center.

I should also note that Firetide “pays you back” some of the investment in a redundant architecture by allowing you to load balance your traffic across multiple links. During the normal operation of your network, your redundant link is not just idling, waiting for a failure to occur, but can actively participate in increasing overall capacity of your network.

For more topics on wireless network design, see:

/Images sourced via “pole down” web search

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

February 24, 2011

Wi-Fi in Train Tunnels? There’s Mesh For That!

Filed under: Wireless backhaul,Wireless LAN,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 9:06 am

Wi-Fi needs mesh, too

I covered infrastructure mobility as a unique mesh differentiator several times (see links below the post). Here’s another example of an infrastructure mobility project – to eliminate Wi-Fi blind spots and add bandwidth for Amtrak passengers traveling to and from New York City.

Contracted by Amtrak, Firetide’s integration partner OCLMedia deployed a dedicated wireless network that delivered a high-speed signal to trains traveling through the New York tunnels and when stopped at the New York Penn Station platforms. Previously, when an Acela Express train arrived in the tunnels under the East River and Hudson River, Wi-Fi coverage was interrupted due to a lack of cellular broadband signal.

No fiber? No problem!

OCLMedia installed Firetide mesh nodes in the 12 miles of tunnels and on the trains. Firetide’s infrastructure mobility architecture allows for uninterrupted connection between the fixed and mobile nodes, delivering seamless Wi-Fi for the passengers.

In contrast with previous infrastructure mobility projects we announced (Seoul Subway, Mumbai Metro), there was no fiber in the tunnels (or at least none that was available for the project). The fixed mesh nodes provided an alternative to installing fiber in the tunnels, which would have taken 2-3 years to deploy and the costs would have been five times as much as the wireless mesh solution. OCLMedia’s timeframe was 2-3 months for this project.

How does the network look like?

The mesh nodes (7000 series) are placed both in the tunnels, and in Penn Station itself. The spacing in the tunnels varies, because of of the varying ‘curvature’ of the tunnels. Mobility Controller (on the back end) manages high-speed mobility and roaming between meshes. The access points on the trains are not Firetide’s; they were already in place before the mesh project started. But for a greenfield installations, the access points are likely to be Firetide’s.

Amtrak network diagram: fixed and mobile mesh

Amtrak network diagram: fixed and mobile mesh (click to enlarge)

More to come?

The installation is part of the network that supports AmtrakConnect®, the free Wi-Fi service now installed on Amtrak Acela Express trains and coming later this year to Northeast Regional and other Amtrak trains.

This project shows that mesh technology provides a cost-effective alternative to fiber while infrastructure mobility adds unique capabilities, not possible with any other wireless or wired approach. Wireless mesh essentially extends wire-like connectivity all the way to the train.

See the announcement: Wireless Mesh Provides Wi-Fi Coverage For Passengers Through New York Penn Station

For more posts on infrastructure mobility, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

/Amtrak Wi-Fi logo image via Amtrak

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