In the new year, expect SDN and SD-WAN to come back down to earth. Meanwhile, multi-cloud, edge computing and intent-based networking will ramp up. Plus, data centers are not dead.
As SDN matures and evolves from its original definition, it’s getting harder for small businesses to ignore the benefits of SDN, like better visibility, security and efficiency.
Enterprises want their applications to be portable and able to shift easily among multiple cloud providers. To do that, putting together a good cloud migration plan is a must.
Everyone is talking about hybrid cloud strategies, implying this framework is how all IT resources will be deployed in the future. It sounds great — on paper. Proponents tout hybrid cloud’s ability to tap into both public and private resources to build scalable applications that can be managed and secured as if they were being delivered privately — a way to have your cake and eat it, too.
I was pretty excited about the switch to Orbi: performance doubled and coverage was great. While it had an app, it also had a full web-based GUI for management and included a depth of configuration options. The fact that the web console was a bit clunky and hard to work with was fine because I could once again control my network from a laptop.
The the updates started.
With every firmware update two things were obvious: they did not do enough testing/QA and the solution to fixing their problems was always “do a full factory reset.” I muddled through the first update and it took me about an hour to get all of the devices back on the network. Satellites were not clearly responding despite being hardwired with an Ethernet backhaul. Eventually everything was back up to speed and I went back to living a normal life.
Then one day the office satellite stopped showing up. In trying to get it back online I realized that there was a new firmware update available. In a move of stupidity I thought “I’ll just apply the update to this one satellite and leave the rest of the system updates for later because I have some important work to do now.” BIG mistake. I manually updated just that one satellite and instead, the system updated everything, both satellites and the router. Now I had zero connectivity and work to get done. After an hour of trying to troubleshoot this situation and get it stable I gave up and put the Amplifi back online so I could get my work done.
Later that evening I put the Orbi back online and tried to figure out what was going on. What I realized was that they had a bug that would not allow 2 satellites to be online together. As soon as I brought the second one online the router stopped working. It turns out that this is a known bug of the firmware. How could you possibly allow an update to a 3-unit system when you know that only 2 units will be operational?
Eventually, through lots of work, I was able to get all 3 units online but the stability was lacking. I was looking at the list of connected clients. There are ~34 clients on my network (depending on whether something is in sleep mode at the time.) I looked at Orbi’s list of connected clients: 32 devices. OK. Then 17 devices. Then 19 devices. Then 26 devices. Then 31 devices. Then 14 devices. This was all in the course of less than a minute.
Something was going on and it was frustrating. When I inquired on the Netgear forums, the standard response was “well, as long as all of the devices are working, don’t worry about what is showing up.” But in my mind when something simple appears broken that is a sign that there is even more under the hood that might not be working.
With all of that data I decided that Netgear is not going to stay in the house. Too sketchy for my needs, when it was performing it was great, but getting it stable (and keeping it stable) was more work than I cared for. I can only imagine the difficulty that the typical consumer would have with this product.
I have been working with mesh systems for quite a while now and have some new observations. I had begun the journey with Google WiFi, a product that checked all of my boxes and had incredible performance, right out of the box. However, what I quickly realized with Google was that their business model and lack of flexibility really became the real issue and that led me down the path of unplugging it and replacing it with Amplifi.
I have been working with Amplifi tech support to diagnose some dropout issues for some time now. One of the things I was concerned about was a wireless HDMI repeater a few feet away. (Spoiler alert: the repeater had no impact, powering it completely off had no change on the issue.)
First, let me say that I have been using Google Wi-Fi for over two months now and it has virtually eliminated all of the Wi-Fi handoff problems and all of the dead zones in the house. Let’s get this out of the way early: it’s powerful, it is designed for easy setup and management. Compared to the other folks in the market, it is the price:performance leader by far. But it has some warts too. Big warts. I will continue to use it (for now), but I am not 100% bought in on the long-term strategy. Continue reading
I get asked on a regular basis to pass on resumes to my connections via LinkedIn or my customers. Sometimes it is very directed (i.e. can you give this to Bob at XYZ company) and sometimes it is very broad (i.e. get this to everyone).
Before you give your resume to someone to distribute, please take a look at these simple rules. I have hired a few hundred people in my life. In order to hire 1 person, you have to interview 4-5. To interview 4-5 you have to phone screen 20. To phone screen 20, you have to read 200 resumes. I don’t claim to be an expert, but if you do the math, I think you can see where I am coming from. These are tips that have been collected over the years but they are as true today as they were back then and I will continue to add to this list. Continue reading