MSPs – The ultimate guide to the 802.11ax wireless standard

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MSPs – The ultimate guide to the 802.11ax wireless standard

Get ready for the new 802.11ax wireless standard!

In today’s ‘always connected’ world, MSPs have the responsibility of keeping all their wireless networks up and running 24/7. The way users consume data and the ever-growing number of connected devices in a network, only reassures that user behavior continues to be the main driver for changing the portfolio of services offered by MSPs.

As users still outline the guidelines for action with their evolving needs for a more connected world, MSPs need to stay one step ahead of the trend and stay informed to guide their clients through the rapid shifts of the wireless market.

The evolution of the WiFi standard, the so-called 802.11ax or WiFi6, is coming down our way this year. This standard will lift some pressure on wireless networks deployed in dense environments with multiple client devices connected at once. 802.11ax promises improved speed levels, increased efficiency, and reduced congestion in heavy-bandwidth usage scenarios.

MSPs need to manage and guide their customers during this transition from the standard 802.11ac to 802.11ax. At this point, SMBs might be wondering about new access points, the standard itself, and compatibility with their current devices. Also, another concern for SMBs is whether it is necessary to upgrade all the infrastructure promptly to comply with the WiFi standard or do nothing. Right now is the time for MSPs to step in and take the lead. Understanding the latest 802.11ax wireless standard is essential to prepare your customers for embracing the new wireless technology.

This is a series of articles about the 802.11ax wireless standard. In this article, we’ll cover the general concepts, benefits, and the technology behind 802.11ax in plain English.

What is 802.11ax or WiFi6?

Every new WiFi standard brings significant improvements in performance, speed, and capabilities for the wireless connection. The IEEE 802.11 family of wireless standards is giving a spin to the current 802.11ac to boost and improve the performance. Hereafter, the family of standards has a new member: the high-efficient wireless 802.11ax.

The 802.11ax standard, also known as WiFi6 or high-efficient wireless, is an evolution of the standard wireless 802.11ac. The 802.11ax, unlike its predecessors, focuses on better efficiency, performance, and capacity.

These achievements are possible thanks to multiple variations in the current standard. For example, the new 802.11ax has more OFDMA sub-channels, MU-MIMO user multiplexed, higher order 1024-QAM and beamforming. Furthermore, uplinks are now scheduled instead of based on contention. Also, the channel interference gets drastically reduced through BSS color coding, thanks to better power-control methods to avoid interference with neighboring networks.

Moreover, the 802.11ax supports the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This means that the new 802.11ax standard stays backward compatible with 802.11ac and even with 802.11n devices.

To sum up, the IEEE 802.11ax wireless standard promises to solve some of the problems left behind by its predecessors. Furthermore, it will ease congestion in high-density environments like airports, stadiums, shopping malls, conference centres, universities/schools and offices/co-working spaces.

The amendment of 802.11ax will be ratified in the first quarter of 2020. As of now, the WiFi Alliance has begun its 802.11ax certification program name as WiFi6 – naming convention that will prevail for the general consumer. As with previous standards, vendors have already released some chipsets compatible with 802.11ax, even before the certification is official.

What are the benefits of 802.11ax for dense environments?

The 802.11ax wireless standard will allow MSPs to support the latest applications on the same wireless deployments, while delivering a higher service to legacy applications. Correspondingly, it will enable new business models and push towards WiFi adoption even more.

High-density environments will enjoy the benefits of 802.11ax, as compatible access points will support more client devices connected simultaneously. Further, traditional wireless networks will have a much better experience. Likewise, applications like 4K or 8K video, IoT, VR, and AI devices will get more predictable performance.

How does 802.11ax work?

The IEEE 802.11ax standard brings together well-performing wireless techniques and blends them in such a way that accomplishes significant achievements over the forerunner 802.11ac standard. Remarkable, it keeps backward compatibility with the old standards as it supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Let’s deep dive into the technology that will make possible 802.11ax:

Speed

In terms of speed, the current 802.11ac offers a maximum rate of 1.3Gbps. Instead, the 802.11ax standard promises a 30% faster top speed, with a maximum transfer speed of 10Gbps. This is true even for high density (outdoors and indoors) environments. However, the speed rate is not the main driver of 802.11ax. The main key selling point for 802.11ax is to solve some of the most enduring problems that WiFi networks face nowadays, including latency and client density.

Radio

At the heart of the new 802.11ax standard, there is the “how” to handle radio frequencies.  The 802.11ax standard operates in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with allocations of 20MHz channels. The channels can be put together in blocks up to the 160MHz channel. Moreover, the 20MHz channels are divided into 256 smaller sub-channels. It is roughly more than 64 sub-channels compared to the previous standard. Consequently, it improves the resolution with which a link can cope with interference, frequency-dependent fading, and so on.

MU-MIMO

MU-MIMO stands for Multi-user Multiple Input/Multiple Output. MU-MIMO, a technology introduced previously in the 802.11ac Wave 2, is another way to handle traffic from multiple devices. Multiple users access the same access point at once without any noticeable decrease in bandwidth quality – until a certain point.

The 802.11ac 4×4 MU-MIMO Wave 2 devices can only handle four users at a time for downloads. Instead, the 802.11ax 8×8 MU-MIMO supports up to eight users downloading and also uploading data at the same time. Each user has a dedicated channel to transmit data.

The enhanced 8×8 MU-MIMO increases overall capacity. Thus, large packets of data are handled more efficiently and transmitted simultaneously, allowing for multiple connections to happen at once. As a result, this feature enables access points to manage traffic from a variety of 802.11ax devices more effectively.

So, it doesn’t matter if people are making use of video calls or streaming HD video, downloading, or playing games. Thanks to 8 MU-MIMO streams, there’s more than enough bandwidth for everybody.

OFDM, OFDA, and OFDMA

OFDM stands for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. OFDA for orthogonal frequency division access and OFDMA for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access. All of them refer to methods of frequency-division multiplexing.

Thanks to OFDM, OFDA, and OFDMA, each channel is split into many smaller sub-channels. Each of them with a slightly different frequency. For instance, the standards 802.11a/g/n/ac currently use OFDM for single-user transmissions on 802.11 frequency. Here, the allocation of users is on the time domain. However, the new 802.11ax wireless standard utilizes OFDMA, which is a multi-user version of the OFDM digital-modulation technology, in which users allocation is by time and frequency.

For example, with the OFDM technology, users would occupy all subcarriers for a specific period, even if there’s not much data to send. Instead, with OFDMA, many users can be multiplexed at once, and each of them can use different sets of subcarriers. In consequence, OFDMA is well-suited for low-bandwidth apps, while at the same time, users experience less latency. By around 75% less than with OFDM.

OFDMA, introduced for the first time in wireless networking, is the most crucial multi-user feature available for 802.11ax. It allows multiple client devices with different bandwidth needs to be served at the same time. Instead, the existing devices compete with one another to send data. Consequently, with 802.11ax, there will be no “waiting time” as each device will be simultaneously scheduled to transmit data in parallel.

In a nutshell…

OFDMA does not increase overall capacity. However, it makes use of the capacity more efficiently by allocating subcarriers to users based on their bandwidth needs. If we think again in a high-density environment like airports, stadiums, and shopping malls, for instance, client devices making use of applications that are latency-sensitive like IoT devices and voice traffic will experience a better performance thanks to the way OFDM handles short data packets. The transmission of these data packets is simultaneous, enabling multiple connections to happen at once. Lastly, it allows access points to handle traffic from a variety of 802.11ax devices more effectively.

BSS Color

Another issue affecting WiFi speed in dense environments is mutual interference between access points in the same channel or overlapping groups of channels. BSS stands for Base Service Station, is a feature that reduces WiFi conflicts with neighboring wireless networks through color coding.

WiFi copes with this co-channel interference by CSMA/CA (Carrier Sense with Multiple Access Collision Avoidance), which means that a radio that wants to transmit data first needs to listen to its frequency. If it hears another transmission in the process, then it needs to wait sometime before trying to communicate again.

Therefore, the BSS color, which is a numerical identification between 0 and 7, comes in handy to highlight frames in neighboring wireless networks. AP’s that are too closed on the same channel get a configuration that forces them to use different colors. So, when an AP or client device wants to transmit data, it picks up on a signal within its channel. Then, it checks the color code associated, and if it’s different and the signal intensity is sufficiently low to demonstrate there’s a “low-to-non chance” of interference, then the transmission goes ahead.

The 802.11a wireless standard had the BSS technology to assign a different color to each BSS. Now, it will also be part of the 802.11ax wireless standard.

Target Wake Time

Now, users can reduce the power consumption on devices with target wake time (TWT). The TWT is a mutual negotiation between an access point and a client device about ‘when’ and ‘how often’ the AP will query the client device to send or receive data. This technology allows client devices to go in a low-power mode in-between ‘awakenings.’ At the same time, it significantly enhances the battery life of devices. Lastly, it lets the access points create efficient use patterns to maximize the number of client devices it can handle over time.

Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM)

QAM is a highly developed modulation scheme extensively used in the modern telecom industry to transmit data over radio frequencies. Currently, the 802.11ac only offers a 256-QAM capacity, which is only reliable for low-dense environments. Hence, the challenge is to ensure fast and reliable WiFi coverage in dense locations, where streaming 4K video or virtual reality content is the average consumption for users.

To overcome the challenge, the new 802.11ax will offer a 4X increased capacity over the forerunner standard. In short, the higher the QAM levels, the more the throughput capabilities in wireless devices. Besides, it comes with 10 bits per symbol vs. 8 bits available in the 256-QAM. “More bits, more data”, and data delivery becomes more efficient.

Consequently, the 802.11ax will have a 1024-QAM capacity that will allow only compatible access points and supported devices, within a network in dense environments to enjoy a +25% speed burst. Put simply, an increase in throughput capabilities for wireless devices.

With millions of connected devices expected by 2021, the throughput capacity of 1024-QAM is essential to ensure the quality of service (QoS) in dense environments.

The next article will discuss devices already available in the market that support the 802.11ax wireless standard, pros and cons, speed tests, and our perspective whether its best to upgrade all WiFi devices -or not, to comply with the new standard.

TanazaOS and OpenWRT: differences and similarities

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TanazaOS and OpenWRT: differences and similarities

A guide to OpenWRT and TanazaOS. A comparison of the features of these two operating systems for embedded devices.

What is OpenWRT?

OpenWRT is a well-known open-source (GPL license) Linux distribution for embedded systems like routers, wireless access points, and CPEs.

It has been widely used for multiple applications in wireless networking, thanks to the wide range of extensions available.

What is TanazaOS?

TanazaOS is a proprietary operating system by Tanaza.

First released in 2019, it is a Linux-based operating system for Wi-Fi access points. At the contrary of firmware versions 1.x and 2.x released by Tanaza until 2019, it is not based on OpenWRT.

The LuCi Web Interface and Tanaza’s cloud-based interface

Both OpenWRT devices and TanazaOS devices are managed through a web interface. However, LuCi (the OpenWRT web interface) is not as intuitive as Tanaza’s.

Open-WRT allows managing single networking devices through commands. Instead, Tanaza includes a cloud-based intuitive interface to manage multiple Wi-Fi networks in a centralized way.

Supported wireless access points

The lists of compatible hardware for OpenWRT and TanazaOS differ significantly: OpenWRT supports a broader variety of devices, including CPEs and routers.

Similarly, they both make releases for old devices, therefore prolonging the life of the hardware with the software.

TanazaOS and OpenWRT features

Both operating systems allow adding new functionalities to the access points.

While in Tanaza these features are available within the platform without any need for coding, Open-WRT requires coding extension packages. Examples of application extensions include a captive portal, bandwidth control, VLANs, reducing latency/lag, securing internet access.

Tanaza also allows integrating the platform with a large variety of external systems. Both TanazaOS and Open-WRT free their users from the application selection provided by the hardware manufacturer.

TanazaOS and OpenWRT security and quality assurance

Both TanazaOS and Open-WRT are resistant to common vulnerabilities, are stable, and operate reliably for long periods. Thanks to the frequent software updates also for older devices, there are no hidden backdoors left by hardware vendors.

Tanaza is a for-profit company partnering with leading vendors. It is pro-actively acting to keep its firmware 100% bug-free and safe. Tanaza’s Quality Assurance team performs hundreds of tests to ensure the full functionality of the firmware and the platform. Tanaza is a production-ready, proven enterprise-grade product with over 12 releases/year.

Instead, the Open WRT project relies on its releases (around one/year) on the work of the OpenWRT community. Consequently, it does not go through a precise quality assurance process. Releases sometimes lead to breakages in some system’s elements or previously available functionalities.

Operational efficiency with Tanaza and OpenWRT

The fundamental difference between Open-WRT and Tanaza is that the last is much easier to use and intuitive.

OpenWRT is a valuable open-source project. However, it does not allow cloud managing and monitoring Wi-Fi networks in a fast and efficient way.

The real cost of wireless networks – Calculating TCO

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The real cost of wireless networks – Calculating TCO

The real cost of wireless networks is often underestimated, with negative consequences on the bottom line. Calculating the TCO of WiFi is essential to make informed decisions, ensure ROI, and choose the most suitable technology stack.

The cost of wireless networks over time: why is it important to calculate TCO?

Gartner, the world’s leading IT research and advisory company, defines the total cost of ownership, acronym TCO, as “a comprehensive assessment of information technology (IT) or other costs across enterprise boundaries over time.” 

The keyword here is “over time”. A decision that seems smart today might be wrong in the long run. Let’s take as an example the many users that chose to deploy their networks with Cisco because “nobody ever got fired for buying Cisco.” They likely underestimated OpEx. Later, in times of tight budgets and limited resources, some CIOs and MSPs suffered from being stuck into Cisco’s licensing system, so they decided to switch their networking gear to other brands (like Ubiquiti, often managed with Tanaza).

The hidden cost of wireless networks

The cost of WiFi networks goes far beyond their purchasing price (also called “total cost of acquisition”), which is the amount paid for hardware and software at installation. According to Gartner, 80% of total IT costs occur after the initial purchase. TCO in WiFi networking takes into consideration the purchase costs but also other costs that arise over the lifespan of the units – even the intangible ones. 

However, the choice of technology should not be based only on TCO. It is good to consider the reliability of the system and also, its flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing business needs.

For example, is the system keeping up with the pace of technology advancement? Is it scalable? In other words: does it respond to the growth of WiFi consumption? Is it possible to upgrade the system remotely to get new features? Are new features and innovations introduced frequently?

Which elements to consider when calculating the cost of wireless networks

When calculating TCO, costs divide into capital expenditures (Capex) and operational expenditures (Opex). 

Capex includes:

  • Acquisition costs for hardware: the amount paid to get the wireless access points, cables, switches, hardware controllers, and other networking equipment
  • Acquisition costs for software: the amount paid to get the software licenses, if needed
  • Installation and provisioning costs
  • Initial system customizations

Opex includes:

  • Staff, usually the highest cost item. To calculate this, look at the employees’ salaries and productivity rates. How much time do they spend on troubleshooting the network? Is the technology stack helping them use time efficiently, or is it preventing them from being productive? Is training taking a lot of the staff’s time?
  • Recurring costs: for example, subscriptions for software
  • Server costs, for example, costs of hosting the UniFi Controller on AWS 
  • Service and support, including fees to change the system configurations, expenses for troubleshooting, on-site visits to fix issues and costs for system monitoring
  • Charges for security, upgrades, back-up, and maintenance of the system
  • Costs of downtime and productivity losses
  • Depreciation of fixed assets: depreciation, for example, of your wireless access points and hardware controllers, if you have any (if you are asking yourself what depreciation is and how to calculate it, read this article by ProfitBooks)
  • Electricity, storage, floor space, internet subscription
  • Customization, feature updates
  • Replacement services and warranty 
  • Costs for decommissioning the system and switching to another technology stack

What are the best strategies to reduce the cost of wireless networks?

We’ll mention three best practices to reduce the total cost of ownership of WiFi networks:

 

  1. Cloud managed wireless access points. Cloud management reduces installation costs thanks to zero-touch provisioning; dramatically decreases the time spent by the staff on configurations, monitoring, and troubleshooting; cancels the need for on-site visits. Also, without a hardware controller, there are savings on electricity, floor space; with less hardware comes less complexity and lower replacement costs, as well. The trend towards cloud and the vast advantages of bringing applications to the cloud are widely-recognized (Forbes, 2016). 
  2. Standardize to reduce inefficiencies. Make so that all the wireless equipment is manageable through a single platform because that minimizes the wastefulness of using a multitude of different systems (which relates to training costs, loss of productivity, staff costs, service, and support costs). It makes it easier to analyze data across all the networks. 
  3. Outsource when possible and avoid customizations. Outsourcing some of the operational expenditures (such as maintenance, servers, security, back-up costs) reduces TCO. It’s better to choose a ready-to-use product available on a subscription basis instead of customized solutions. That allows spending time on something more valuable for the business. In the long term, using a SaaS brings a TCO reduction (here is an interesting article by Information Week about the topic).

How does Tanaza reduce the cost of wireless networks, specifically?

Tanaza is absolutely the pioneer of introducing these strategies for TCO optimization in the wireless access points market, allowing up to 60% in savings in 5 years

By using Tanaza’s operating system TanazaOS, wireless access points management happens through a single centralized platform, whatever is their manufacturing brand. Standardization reduces operational expenses, and the freedom to buy multiple brands’ access points reduces CapEx considerably.

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Cloud management provided by Tanaza reduces OpEx throughout the whole life cycle of access points, from installation to configuration and maintenance. Also, it cancels the need for physical hardware controllers installed on-premise (CapEx).

Finally, Tanaza takes care of many operations, including server maintenance, back-up, security patches, and fixes, and ensures high availability (99,99%) of the system for minimum downtime and productivity losses. 

 

Discover more about Tanaza’s cloud management platform for wireless networks

 

What is vendor lock-in? Why should it be avoided?

The vendor lock-in is the ability of vendors of software or hardware to make their customers dependable to them, due to the high switching costs of transitioning to another vendor.

It’s a typical situation in the enterprise wireless market when choosing a vendor typically means being stuck with them for the whole access points’ life, because switching the entire infrastructure to another vendor would be too expensive.

Choosing between being loyal to a hardware vendor or going multi-vendor has substantial consequences on TCO calculation.

On one hand, users might think that going with an established enterprise brand would imply having lower Opex, thanks to the reliability of products and the quality of services offered. On the other side, going for an established brand and being “locked-in” to that vendor usually implies getting stuck in their expensive license system. Also, it makes it hard to innovate or apply changes outside of the vendor’s product and services portfolio: finally, that would result in extremely high (and often unbudgeted) operational expenses.

Finally, without vendor lock-in, the pace of innovation accelerates. In case users want to go for another brand of wireless access points, with Tanaza, that doesn’t imply changing the whole software and hardware infrastructure – just the hardware. Also, Tanaza allows its users to keep up with the pace of innovation, thanks to the continuous release of new features.

 

Discover more about the next features for Tanaza’s software

Tanaza joins Facebook Connectivity’s Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner Program

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Tanaza joins Facebook Connectivity’s Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner Program

Tanaza has joined Facebook Connectivity’s Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner Program, which enables network equipment manufacturers to build network hardware and software that is compatible with Express Wi-Fi.  

The 2019 EIU Inclusive Internet Index, commissioned by Facebook, found that 3.8 billion people don’t have access to fast, reliable internet. Wi-Fi networks have traditionally been hard to set up and expensive to deploy, especially when the intent is to reach an entire unconnected town or village. The Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner Program provides a unique solution by developing new technologies in partnership with equipment manufacturers and operators to build cost-effective Express Wi-Fi compatible hardware and software, enabling more people in more places to get connected.

What is Facebook Connectivity’s Express Wi-Fi?

Express Wi-Fi is part of Facebook Connectivity, a collection of programs, technologies and partnerships designed to increase the availability, affordability and awareness of high-quality internet access.

Connectivity is at the heart of Facebook’s mission.

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Critical to this mission is high-quality internet access, which gives people a voice and creates opportunities to share knowledge that can strengthen local communities and global economies. Facebook Connectivity works closely with partners including mobile network operators, equipment manufacturers and more to develop programs and technologies—including Express WiFi, Magma, and Terragraph—that increase the availability, affordability and awareness of high-quality internet access, bringing more people online to a faster internet.

“More than 3.5 billion people still don’t have internet access, fueling the digital divide,” said James Beldock, Facebook Connectivity’s product manager for Express Wi-Fi. “Alongside our partners, Facebook Connectivity breaks down barriers to connectivity with new technologies, business models and programs, such as Express Wi-Fi, which service providers use to deliver fast and affordable Wi-Fi. Critical to the program’s success are our Express Wi-Fi technology partners, who have committed to building Express Wi-Fi compatible software and hardware. We welcome Tanaza to the program and look forward to partnering with them to expand connectivity globally.”

Tanaza aims to provide high-quality network services to underserved areas that have not had access due to lack of infrastructure and high costs,” said Sebastiano Bertani, CEO, and Founder of Tanaza.  “Joining the Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner Program will allow us to give our users fast, affordable and reliable Wi-Fi easily and aligns with our mission to make Wi-Fi more accessible.” 

“By integrating the Express Wi-Fi platform into its feature set, Tanaza will be able to work with mobile network operators in areas of the world that are suffering most from the digital divide and expand its presence in some Asian and African countries,” said Valeria Magoni, Head of Marketing at Tanaza. “Operators will have the opportunity to monetize their networks and cloud manage them through an enterprise-grade system at a fraction of the cost due to Express Wi-Fi.”

Members of the Technology Partner Program are currently collaborating to connect underserved communities around the world and to bring more people online to faster internet. Further updates about this feature’s release are expected in the next few months.

Create your free Tanaza account today

Start managing, controlling, and monitoring your access points with the Tanaza WiFi Cloud management platform for multi vendor access points.

Create your Tanaza account today!
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Discover the Open WiFi System for Communication Service Providers

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Discover the Open Wi-Fi System for Communication Service Providers developed by Tanaza, Plume®, and ConnectUs Technologies

Tanazain collaboration with Plume® and ConnectUs Technologies, started the Open WiFi System project in 2019, through the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)

The project was officially announced at TIP Summit ’19 in Amsterdam.

Launched in February 2016, TIP is a collaborative telecom community that is evolving the infrastructure that underpins global connectivity. TIP’s mission is to accelerate the pace of innovation in next generation telecom networks, through the design, build, test and deployment of standards-based, open and disaggregated network solutions. Over the past four years TIP has driven substantial innovation across all elements of the network including Access, Transport, Core & Services, while spanning urban through to rural market use cases.

Tanaza joined TIP’s Wi-Fi Project Group in early 2019, and has contributed with technology and experience in hardware and software disaggregation.

The Open Wi-Fi System project aims at contributing to hardware and software disaggregation.

Tanaza believes that hardware and software disaggregation and, ultimately, White-Box Wi-Fi access points is the way to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) in Wi-Fi deployments and hence involve and connect more and more people.  To this end, Tanaza, Plume, and ConnectUs have demonstrated the compatibility of their respective cloud-based Wi-Fi controller platform with TIP’s open-AP software stack including the open-source framework OpenSync™. Thanks to this project, any TIP Open Access Point, supporting an OpenSync interface, could be associated with the Tanaza or the Plume or the ConnectUs Technologies cloud platform, or any other cloud stacks available.

What is OpenSync?

OpenSync is the world’s fastest-growing cloud-agnostic, open-source software to enable the curation, delivery and support of services and management of devices for the smart home. Today OpenSync carries more than 62 Petabytes of data over its platform every day connecting over half a billion devices, spanning some 1000 device brands and over 7000 unique device types, and these numbers are exponentially growing. Compatible with other initiatives such as RDK and OpenWRT, and broadly deployed by leading global ISPs and device makers, the software is critical to residential and enterprise Wi-Fi and IP delivered services. Chipset suppliers, device makers, system integrators, internet service providers and operators find many benefits with OpenSync’s open, interoperable, multi-vendor interfaces and simple and efficient scaling on a proven platform.

“Nowadays, the technology stacks used by operators to deploy Wi-Fi do not communicate with each other. As a consequence, executing mass configurations, maintaining and troubleshooting the networks, and the deployment of new applications demand an extremely high effort. Disaggregation solves this problem by allowing the cloud software to speak with White-Box Wi-Fi access points, that increases operational efficiency. In addition, disaggregation allows reducing the total cost of ownership for operators by bringing down both the cost of Wi-Fi hardware (CAPEX) and the costs of maintenance (OPEX)”, states Sebastiano Bertani, CEO, and Founder of Tanaza.

Tanaza joined forces with the other members of the TIP Project Group, to validate how hardware and software components work together and to ensure those components are interoperable. The access point firmware will be open-sourced within TIP, in addition to some parts of the controller software. As a result, this will significantly lower the barrier to entry for new vendors participating in the ecosystem.

A first demo test of Open Wi-Fi system is now a reality.

“It’s something huge working together with such players to fully support them in this path, and partner with them to reach more service providers that want to take advantage of the opportunities that open WiFi systems can offer. We’re working hard to make this happen by using our knowledge and technologies. A first demo test case featuring the interoperability of White-Box Wi-Fi hardware with both the Plume and Tanaza cloud stacks is ready. We are thrilled!” says Cristian Piacente, CTO at Tanaza.

Tanaza is dedicated to make hardware and software disaggregation in Wi-Fi a reality.

Create your free Tanaza account today

Start managing, controlling, and monitoring your access points with the Tanaza WiFi Cloud management platform for multi vendor access points.

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FOSDEM 2020 – What did our Developers Learn?

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FOSDEM 2020 – What did our Developers Learn?

FOSDEM stands for Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting. It is one of the most significant events for Open Source communities in Europe.

Every year, thousands of software developers meet in Brussels to share ideas and collaborate at the event. The aim of it is to promote the public use of free and open-source software.

The European gathering of open source enthusiasts took place in Brussels two weekends ago. For the fourth time, our team had the chance to take part in the FOSDEM 2020 event, which featured 841 speakers, 873 events, and 71 tracks. From all lectures and conversations with fellow developers from around the world about freedom, sharing, and open collaboration. Here’s what they learned at the FOSDEM 2020 event.

The most exceptional talks at FOSDEM 2020

Talk: Pushing the limits of the web with WebAssembly

Jon Lopez Garcia delivered a brilliant talk about pushing the limits of the web with WebAssembly. He journeyed back in time to highlight how Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge have worked tirelessly to push the boundaries and performance of apps. Thanks to their hard work in implementing the new binary standard, WebAssembly came on the scene to allow the execution in the browser of software at almost native speed.

In his session, Jon explained how current browsers are striving to optimize the performance of JavaScript code. The leading browsers implemented a lot of smart tricks to avoid the recompilation of JavaScript pieces of code to increase overall performance. However, this is a limitation to current solutions because JavaScript is not strongly typed by design.

Among the benefits Jon highlighted, the most memorable one was about delivering a pre-compiled part of the code. For fellow developers, this helps to enhance their applications’ performances significantly, while providing an astonishing UX to their customers. We might be able to implement it and increase the performance of the CPU’s most intensive activities on the Tanaza’s platform.

Talk: IoT Updates with IPv6 Multicast

Brett Sheffield addressed IoT Updates with IPv6 Multicast in his presentation. He questioned the fact if we could update a billion IoT nodes from just one tiny virtual server. In reality, it is possible!

With IPv6 Multicast, we can send our updates to potentially billions of devices using just a single stream of information. It’s like yelling instead of knocking door by door if we compare it to the traditional approach of updating the nodes one by one. Resources can be considerably cut, that’s for sure.

However, there are some drawbacks. We cannot rely anymore on the inherent properties of traditional unicast approaches like transmission reliability, in-order delivery, and flow control. Nonetheless, Brett showed some tricks on how to achieve the same features also with the IPv6 multicast approach. He also demonstrated how efficient and handy multicast can be when updating IoT nodes, all packed in a (still experimental) open-source library.

Talk: Falco Internals 101: Syscalls processing for security analysis

Robin Marx discussed how browsers try to guess in which order the web page resources should be loaded, comparing the heuristics of the main current browsers. Also, how servers use that information to often (accidentally) make your website slower instead.

He showed how HTTP/2 stacks implement prioritization, comparing it to the new HTTP/3 and QUIC approach. He also emphasized on the remaining challenges, even with the new approach.

With QUIC, the main TCP layer problem “head of line blocking” is solved, as QUIC can identify different streams in the transport layer. So, in a round-robin approach to resource delivery, QUIC is much more efficient.

Still, it is also true that practical tests showed that sequential resource delivery usually performs much better. Hence, QUIC would behave as TCP and thus have the same performance.

Yet, some challenges remain, for instance, the separation of priority between browser, server, and transport layer. This causes difficulties for web developers to make a web-app load precisely as it would be expected on every browser. The fact that new protocols and approaches will have a way of specifying the priority, might allow them to deliver more performing web resources at the same time.

For web developers, it is a game-changer to understand how prioritization works. It helps them to leverage some existing options to impact the browser’s heuristics and server behavior. At the same time, it helps to empower the user experience.

Talk: How Yocto extra tools help industrial project

Pierre Ficheux delivered a talk about Yocto, the most famous building system for embedded Linux. Yocto is an open-source project to create custom Linux-based systems regardless of the hardware architecture. Currently, 22 organizations are collaborating with the Linux Foundation, including OpenEmbedded.

In the eyes of Pierre, Yocto, a system written in python (BitBake), is extremely powerful. However, it needs some training, mostly text mode, as it has poor GUI.

During his conference, Pierre explained how to use some Yocto features to help the development of a free industrial project. As simple as it sounds, Yocto works perfectly for creating a custom Linux distribution for embedded devices.

Pierre also discussed how valuable are the eSDK (extended cross-toolchain), Ptest, and Testimage (CI), Devtool, and Devshell (recipe modification) to speed up the development process. With these tools, programmers can quickly develop and test the distribution instead of doing it manually. In this way, it is also possible to automate CI workflows to increase product quality.

#Conclusion

Our developers say. On many aspects, FOSDEM is, above all, a social event. After attending FOSDEM for many years, we think the whole point of this event is for people to share their free, open-source projects with other like minded people.

Lots of communities take the opportunity to organize influential sessions and meetings to choose the right path for their next project. For our team, it was also the occasion to get acquainted with fellow developers, to explain our projects and initiatives to others, and get back home with a sack of new knowledge.

Tanaza is always keeping the R&D team up to date with the latest trends in technology to improve their day-to-day job. The R&D team keeps growing in number to develop the coolest features, test and debug our platform. All of these, to always offer a competitive product for our customers.

Now is the best time to join our company and be part of our project. If you would like to know more about opportunities to develop and grow in your career, see the job openings at Tanaza.