My first MFD Experience – Part 1

My first MFD Experience – Part 1

If you work in the tech, I am certain you are familiar with the Tech Field Day events. There are many technical events that happen around the globe; some are vendor specific and some are vendor neutral. Tech Field Day events are unique in that besides vendor presentations, there are delegates present who can interact with the presenting vendors during the live stream and ask questions; there are also round table discussions among the delegates on different technology topics and sometimes with the vendors.

As Tom (@NetworkingNerd) would say, “it’s all my fault”; who is the event lead for the Tech Field Day events along with Stephen (@SFoskett). I met Tom at the WLPC 2020 for the first time when he did a presentation on Building a Community. Cisco Live, also Toms’ fault, is where it all started. Learning about the history behind it and what started as a small, “Toms Corner” turn into an amazing industry/global event is fascinating. NOTE: If you are looking to and/or have any interest in build a community, I encourage to watch this video. I would like to give a thumb up to all the Tech Field Day event staff members who are involved in putting all these events together. Melanie (@SparbWired), thanks so much for all your help with the travel, food and making sure everything is in order and answering all my questions.

I have been watching different Tech Field Day events/videos for quite some time. Being a Network and Wireless guy, I have been following “Networking Field Day” and “Mobility Field Day” events. Watching vendors present live and allowing not only the delegates but people watching the events globally ask questions with the hashtags is excellent. I have always been to learn so much about the vendors, technology topics they are covering and road maps from the hashtags and delegates asking real world questions based on their experience.

To my surprise, when I saw an email invite for the Mobility Field Day 8 (MFD8) event back in August, I was ecstatic. Being invited to an event like this as a delegate was really exciting.

MFD8 Day 1:

My flight landed at SJC around 11AM PST. Melanie (@SparbWired) picked me up from the airport and drove me to the hotel; my room was not ready yet, so she pointed me in the direction where Tom was sitting down and doing some work. I casually walked over there, we shook hands and chatted about the event, public speaking, presenting, pod cast, food, etc.

MFD8 – On my way to the hotel

In the mean time Mae (@Mae149) also joined us. We all decided to check In the meantime, Mae (@Mae149) also joined us. We all checked out a nearby Sushi place, Amakai Japanese Cuisine, for lunch. Soon Eddie (@HeyEddie) joined us as well. After lunch, we all went back to the hotel. I finally got to meet Mark (@marko_with_a_k). I’ve been talking to Mark about CBRS private LTE/5G for quite some time and was looking forward to finally meeting him. Mark has a fantastic blog where he talks about CBRS. All of us could check in and get some rest. Hotel is next to 49ers stadium, and I could see it from my room.

MFD8 – 49ers Stadium – View from my room

Evening plans were to go out for a delegate dinner and also do a “yankee swap“. Tech Field Day rented a party van, which was a fun way to travel and go around (sorry, no pics, I was busy talking).

Dinner and Yankee Gift swap were fun; normally I take pictures of my food, but I was just enjoying having multiple conversations way too much. Day 1 of MFD8 ended after a great time we all had. It was time to rest and get ready for Day 2.

MFD8 – My Yankee Gift
MFD8 – Delegate Dinner

MFD8 Day 2:

First presentation was from Wyebot. Landon (@AceHighWifi) generously donated some of this energy drink (Yes, “DONATED”).

MFD8 – Compliments of Landon Foster

Next event was the delegate roundtable discussion, “Future of Wireless 2022”. We discussed a few issues revolving around the Wi-Fi deployments, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E adoption. There are multiple factors that can contribute to bad Wi-Fi. Unanimously, all fingers point to the clients right away.

Peter (@MackenzieWiFi) discussed the importance and a viable way to ease some of the client related issues by creating a test environment and use a scoring system for the clients. I believe this can help with the Wi-Fi deployments if we can test the clients; then purchase clients with the best score. There area few factors I would like to discuss a few things that we will need to pay attention to. We will need to make sure we have the budget, time and resources for the test environment. Create a checklist based on our intention and adhere to it. Testing performed in an extremely controlled environment vs non controlled environment will have different results and clients may behave differently. Try to get as close as possible to an actual environment where we are intending to place these clients.

It is a well-known fact that Wi-Fi clients don’t follow standards, which further complicates Wi-Fi design and performance. I look at a standard as a bulleted list, defining/discussing how something should be for it to work optimally. But does that mean I have to follow it? No, I do not have to follow any or part of that list; and there will be no repercussions. Eddie (@HeyEddie) brought up an excellent point (Standards vs Laws). Laws are enforced and must be followed, otherwise there will be repercussions. Someone will hold someone accountable. For example, if FCC says that in CBRS spectrum if the military is using a specific frequency, PAL and GAA licensed users must give up and stop transmitting on that frequency. This is not a standard, this is the law and must be followed. As Eddie (@HeyEddie) mentioned, because standards are not the law, they do not have to be followed.

Lee (@wirednot) made an interesting point/observation that, “vendors actually do like the disarray because it helps them sell more product”. I can see how this can be a chain reaction; not only it allows vendors to sell more products, but it can also create opportunities for other vendors to troubleshoot and possibly offer tools to ease issues related to these products and now it is an entire ecosystem of products and tools.

We all have at some point had to either troubleshoot and design or design to begin with for bad clients. Tom brought up a good point and wrote an interesting blog post on this matter, “Why do we accept bad wireless clients”.

End of Day 2:

Last order of business for the day was the dinner. All the delegates, vendors attended the dinner at Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale, with some good food and conversations. I am fascinated by the fall leaves and colors. I am happy to share this beautiful fallen leaf I found outside the restaurant. Luckily the weather was amazing during our stay.

End of Day 2:

Last order of business for the day was the dinner. All the delegates, vendors attended the dinner at Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale, with some good food and conversations. I am fascinated by the fall leaves and colors. I am happy to share this beautiful fallen leaf I found outside the restaurant. Luckily, the weather was amazing during our stay.

MFD8 – Fall is beautiful

We even invited some special guests; I wonder if they were interested in discussing ML/AI or WPA3 and Wi-Fi 6E with Tom and Landon.

MFD8 – Special Guests

I ended my night eating stuff I should not be eating, but it was amazing.

MFD8 – Bread Pudding

MFD8 – Day 3:

MFD8 Day 3 started early, with Arista presenting, followed by Ventev. My flight was not until 10:30PM, so I hung out with Eddie in the lobby. I’ve never had Ethiopian food, so after hearing so many good things about it from everyone, I gave it a go. It was absolutely amazing (minus those onions, of course). I was not expecting it to be this good. Thank you, everyone who recommended it.

Eddie, it was a pleasure hanging out with you and discussing food, travel and tech. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Thank you for all the encouraging words and guidance.

At the end I would like to thank all the MFD8 presenters, Wyebot, Arista, Ventev, all the Tech Field Day staff members and all the delegates for a wonderful experience.

MFD8 – SJC Sunset

My first MFD Experience – Part 2

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