Wi-Fi For Beginners Podcast Newsletter - February 2016.
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Why You Need To Understand The Clients On Your WLAN 

Hello and welcome to the February 2016 edition of the Wi-Fi For Beginners Podcast newsletter. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve dedicated a total of 5 episodes of the podcast to looking at wireless LAN clients; more episodes than any other topic to date. This is because I think this is one of the most important and least understood topics in WLAN networking. Many people focus on the WLAN infrastructure together with the speed and throughput it can potentially provide.  But, they give little consideration to the client devices that will use the WLAN. Without understanding their capabilities and requirements, you cannot assess their impact on your WLAN or the end-user experience you will be able to deliver. 

In this newsletter the first couple of items spend even more time shining a light on this most important (and, I think, fascinating) of WLAN topics.  I've also included some additional resources that can help you with your WLAN studies, including a FREE book that has excellent information about wireless networking that you must take a look at.

I've had a couple of requests for some type of community/forum facility to accompany the podcast for audience members to ask questions and discuss the podcast content. My experience of these types of public forums in the past has not been great, so I'm wary of going down this route. However, I'm open to suggestions around a platform that is very low maintenance and can remain spam-free - any suggestions?

As ever, thank you for your ongoing support of the podcast. I hope you continue to find its content useful in supporting you on your journey to master WLAN technology. If you have any feedback about the podcast, please drop me a note via the feedback page on my web site. (

How Fast Are My Wi-Fi Clients? 

Following on from my recent extended coverage of Wi-Fi clients in the podcast, I thought it might be useful to put together a blog post to outline how you can find out more about the capabilities of wireless clients on your WLAN. If you want to be able to accommodate the requirements of a wireless client on your WLAN, you must understand its capabilities and requirements. Finding this information can require a bit of detective work to uncover.

In my blog post: "How Fast Are My Wi-Fi Clients?", I take you step-by-step through a number of approaches to enable you to find out more about the features and capabilities of wireless clients on your network. You will be able to find information including client RF band support and 802.11 amendment capabilities. Although the article focuses on the maximum speed that a client is capable of achieving, there are plenty of other useful nuggets of information you will discover along the way.

Please get along to my blog site and take a look at the article:

Mobile Device Characteristics (Video & Slides)

Last year, CWNP held the "Wi-F iTrek" conference for wireless LAN professionals from around the globe, in San Francisco. The conference presented a series of fascinating lectures about a wide range of Wi-Fi related  topics.

One particular presentation by Jerome Henry provided fascinating insights about Wi-Fi clients, taking a look "under the hood" of wireless LAN client devices. The content is particularity pertinent in relation to our current coverage of WLAN clients in the podcast.

I recently discussed the impact of the small form factor of many mobile devices on their potential RF performance. In the conference presentation, Jerome provides some examples of the effects of creating clients at such small scale together with the engineering that goes in to creating them (including some amazing pictures of the tiny antennas that are somehow packed in to smartphones!)

Please, check out the slide deck from the session and review the session video. The video is not professional quality, as it was recorded by a (very kind) attendee with a smartphone. But, the content is still of sufficient clarity (in association with the slide deck) to make it well worth reviewing.
Video :

FREE Wireless Networking Book

I came across this little gem recently whilst researching eLearning resources: Wireless Networking In The Developing World. It's an excellent book that provides a wealth of information enabling the reader to understand and deploy wireless networks using low-cost equipment. It's obviously aimed at people deploying networks in developing countries, but has a wealth of useful information for anyone who is interested in wireless networking.

Written by a team of wireless experts from across the communications industry and academic community, it covers most aspects of wireless networking including networking theory, RF theory, wireless standards, antennas, security, mesh networking, network monitoring and even off-grid power!

Whilst some of the 802.11 theory may be a couple of years out of date, the content of the book is excellent. Basic principles of RF and networking never go out of date, so anyone learning about Wi-Fi network would benefit from reviewing this book. If you know anyone who may be on a tight budget but would like to learn the basics of wireless LAN networking, then you should certainly point them in the direction of this book.

The book is available as a free download in PDF format from the following site:

You can also buy a print version of the book from Amazon: I got hold of a paperback copy and have found it fascinating.

Common Wi-Fi Problems (CWNP Webinar Video Recording)

Each month, I like to recommend a webinar for you to review to ensure you have something interesting to help you along in your Wi-Fi learning journey. This month I'm pleased to recommend you review an excellent webinar recording from CWNP: "Common Wi-Fi Problems - Part 1" (available as a video on YouTube).

In the recording, Tom Carpenter talks about a selection of wireless LAN issues including interference sources and how to mitigate them. There is also an interesting discussion about the cause and effects of co-channel interference. He also discusses the (negative) effects of low data rates on airtime efficiency. Finally, he covers a number of other wired network issues that may cause apparent "wireless network" issues - there's a lot more to a wireless network than just the wireless!

Please check out the webinar video recording at the web address below.
802.11ac Wave 2 - Check Out This Podcast

Cisco recently announced the launch of their new flag-ship Enterprise-level 802.11ac Wave 2 access points. To accompany the launch, they took part in a podcast collaboration with my friends over the at the No Strings Attached wireless LAN podcast. You might like to check it  out as it includes information about 802.11ac Wave 2, as well as Cisco's innovative new AP platform.:
CCNA Wireless Training Videos

I mentioned (and applauded) the recent shift in focus of the Cisco CCNA Wireless program to encompass a wider range of wireless LAN theory topics in their certification syllabus. They appear to have departed from the traditional path of vendor certifications that were light on theory and heavy on product information.

If you are interested in taking a look at the CCNA wireless certification, in addition to the study guide (book), there is also a range of (paid-for) e-learning videos from Ciscopress. The series is presented by Jerome Henry, so the quality you can expect from the series is undoubtedly going to be very high. Jerome knows the material better than just about anyone else in the industry and is an expert presenter. If you're looking for an e-learning series for CCNA Wireless, you should check it out as a learning option.

CCNA Wireless online training course videos:

Spectrum Graphic
Finally, I thought I'd end with an interesting graphic of the Radio Frequency Spectrum. We spoke at some length about RF theory in the podcast, including the RF Spectrum. Hopefully you'll recognise some of the terminology included in the graphic below. Can you spot the areas where WLAN devices operate? No!? Could be time to review some of the early podcast episodes...! :)

Request For Podcast Feedback
I'm very interested to hear your feedback on the podcast episodes I've posted so far. If there are any aspects that you feel could be improved, then please let me know.
I have episodes planned for the next few months to cover the basics of Wi-Fi networking, but am interested to hear if there are any specific topics you would like to learn more about. Please let me hear your ideas via the feedback page I've created on the Wi-Fi For Beginners web site.
If you feel that a friend or colleague may be interested in this newsletter or may benefit from listening to the Wi-Fi For Beginners Podcast, please feel free to forward this newsletter on to them. To sign-up for this newsletter, please visit my web site :
Copyright © 2016 Bowden Networks Ltd, All rights reserved.

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