Industry Insiders: Interviews with Wi-Fi's Leading Minds

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

September 18, 2009

Wi-Fi Planet's contributors have unique opportunities to speak with some of the Wi-Fi industry's leading thinkers. From time to time, we publish excerpts from our interviews with some of these Wi-Fi wizards in our Industry Insiders series.

Wi-Fi Planet's contributors have unique opportunities to speak with some of the Wi-Fi industry's leading thinkers. From time to time, we publish excerpts from our interviews with some of these Wi-Fi wizards in our Industry Insiders series. Read excerpts below, or click through to read the entire article.

Industry Insiders: Eran Karoly, VeriWave

by Jeff Goldman
Originally published September 18, 2009

In anticipation of the final ratification of 802.11n on September 11th, VeriWave last month released the latest version of its wireless testing solution, WaveAgent 2.0. We spoke with Eran Karoly, VeriWave’s vice president of marketing, to discuss the ratification of 802.11n and its impact on the wireless market in general, and on VeriWave in particular.

On the reasons for the delay in ratification:

“With 802.11n, for the first time, the technical community was starting to talk about wireless technology that will offer speeds in excess of 100 Mbps, and therefore will compete with and will have the same capabilities as an Ethernet network—so the effect on the enterprise user could be significant. That led to many, many vendors jumping into the standardization process—and everybody had their own agenda, because I think it was clear to all of them, and I’m starting from the chip vendors here, that we’re talking about a significant business opportunity… and so of course everybody wanted to push their own version of the standard—which is perfectly legit. That just caused the standardization to take a lot longer than anybody expected at the time.”

Read the full story here.

Industry Insiders: Sanjit Biswas, Meraki CEO

by Jeff Goldman
Originally published June 23, 2009

Sanjit Biswas is the CEO and co-founder of Meraki, the California-based Wi-Fi networking startup which has experienced explosive growth since its founding in 2006. “Our mission is to bring down the cost of access, to change the economics of access, and to bring access to people who haven't had it before," Biswas said at the time—and while the company itself has grown enormously, those basic principles remain.

We spoke with Biswas earlier this month, not long after his company announced its expansion into the enterprise market. What follows are highlights from that conversation.

On ease of use:

“We try to keep the customer experience really simple—and I think we’re going to see more of that, where things like automatic RF planning, continuous system optimization, these sort of features, become more important as the complexity of these systems grows. It needs to be managed, because you have only a finite number of IT professionals heading this stuff up…the really smart systems that are out there will end up having really simple interfaces, just so people can set it up and not worry about it.”

Click here for the full story.

Industry Insiders: Peter Curnow-Ford, WiMAX Expert 

by Gerry Blackwell,
Originally published, May 11, 2009

Peter Curnow-Ford may never be a household name in the wireless industry, but it’s guys like Curnow-Ford—backroom boys, movers and shakers—who help push the industry forward.

A player in the IT-telecoms space for over 30 years, on both sides of the Atlantic, but mainly in the UK, Curnow-Ford has worked for big guns, such as Nortel Networks, Fujitsu, and Logica (consulting). He launched and ran his own enterprise messaging business. For five years, he worked with 3G-focused dot-coms in the U.S.

Now he gets his kicks helping “early stage” wireless companies. Curnow-Ford is deeply involved—as investor, director, executive, or all three—with four firms, and consults to others.

He’s executive chairman of Bluenowhere, a UK-based wholesale WiMAX operator set to launch commercially in 4Q09. He’s a non-executive director at Plasma Antennas, a maker of beam-forming antennas, originally for the military, but now also for the Wi-Fi/WiMAX industry.

He’s non-executive chairman of Eisar, a company looking to develop technology that will bring the multi-profile, multi-threading functionality of netbooks to the handheld form factor.

And he is a non-executive director at SafetyPay, a U.S.-based company developing solutions that will let mobile workers and merchants accept and securely authenticate credit/debit card payments anywhere.

We talked to Curnow-Ford recently about the companies he’s working with, the role WiMAX will play in an evolving wireless world and the very different approach to municipal and publicly-funded wireless in the UK.

Click here for the full article.

Industry Insiders: Bob O'Hara

by Lisa Phifer, July 14, 2008

When 802.11 pioneer Bob O'Hara retired from Cisco this February [2008], he planned to kick back and enjoy some well-deserved time off. After 16 years in the WLAN industry, O'Hara looked forward to surfing the Web from the comfort of his couch and dabbling in charitable activities. But a phone call from a former Airespace colleague changed that. Last month [June 2008], Bob O'Hara joined the Advisory Board at start-up Aerohive Networks, where he hopes to continue making history.

O'Hara literally helped to write the original 802.11 standard back in the 90's. He co-founded Airespace in 2001 to create the industry's top-selling WLAN controller product line. In 2005, Airespace was acquired by Cisco for $450 million, widely seen as a move that re-wrote the entire enterprise WLAN landscape.

For the full article, published in July of 2008, click here.

Industry Insiders: Cisco's Chris Kozup

by Naomi Graychase, March 6, 2008

We talk with Cisco's Senior Manager of Mobility Solutions about Cisco's market dominance, the future of 802.11n, WiMAX, greening technology, and other emerging trends in the enterprise.

For the full article, published in February of 2008, click here.

Industry Insiders: Ron Sege

by Naomi Graychase

Ron Sege, Tropos Networks’ CEO, is optimistic. Not just because Boston College, where two of his children are enrolled, is having a miraculous football season; and not just because, when we spoke in late October, the Red Sox were well on their way to winning their second World Series in 90 years. Ron Sege is optimistic because outdoor Wi-Fi is doing well—and his company is leading the way. With more than 500 deployments in the U.S. alone, and bragging rights for both durability (Tropos’s solution famously survived Hurricane Katrina) and performance (Novarum’s on-the-ground testing ranks Tropos at the top of the pack), his optimism is well-placed.

Sege (pronounced, “Seggy”), whose company—despite his Boston sports fan leanings—is based in Sunnyvale, California, is one of a handful of industry leaders with a uniquely valuable vantage point on the wireless market. On October 25th[2007], we spoke about where the industry has been, where it is, and where it’s going.

For the full article, published in December of 2007, click here.

Industry Insiders: Devicescape CEO David Fraser

by Gerry Blackwell

David Fraser thinks he knows the shape of things to come in the Wi-Fi industry, and he’s excited about it.

Fraser, a Scotsman transplanted to sunny California, has a unique perspective. He’s the CEO of Devicescape, which makes embedded Wi-Fi software that simplifies and automates connecting to a Wi-Fi network—any Wi-Fi network.

Devicescape’s technology appears in products from six of nine major cellular handset manufacturers, including in all the N and E series smartphones from Nokia, products from Hewlett-Packard, HTC Corp.—a dominant player in the Windows Mobile smartphone market—and many others.

The company is also now selling a user-installable version of its software for the iPhone through Apple’s AppStore—which led us into a fascinating conversation about where the industry is going, and the role Fraser hopes his company will play. 

For the full article, published in December of 2008, click here.

Industry Insiders: Ruckus Wireless CEO, Selina Lo

by Gerry Blackwell

Meet Selina Lo, Wi-Fi billionaire.

Okay, we don’t actually know where Lo ranks on the list of the world’s richest people, but her bio at the Ruckus Wireless Website—Lo is the company’s president and CEO—says she sold the first entrepreneurial venture she was involved in, Alteon WebSystems, for $7.8 billion, to Nortel.

Now Lo is at the helm of a Wi-Fi company with an impressive, if short, history, and by all indications a very bright future. Founded in June 2004 by Bill Kish, its CTO, and Victor Shtrom, Ruckus is backed, to the tune of $40 million, by heavyweight investors, such as Sequoia Capital and Motorola Ventures. It’s here for the duration.

The company sells its Smart Wi-Fi products around the world—over a million units to date. They feature a high-gain directional antenna system that uses patented software-based beamforming (BeamFlex) and quality of service (QoS) technologies to extend range. Ruckus claims it can deliver two to three times the coverage of competing products at very low cost. 

Lo, a marketing visionary, is also known as a straight shooter who doesn’t duck controversy. That’s the way she comes across on the phone: smart, articulate, opinionated. Our conversation ranged from the economy to Wi-Fi’s role in an increasingly crowded wireless landscape to the future of that much maligned phenomenon: muni-Wi-Fi. 

For the full article, published in March of 2009, click here.

Originally published on .

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