WLPC Conference 2018: Phoenix, AZ February 20-22

 

The Wireless LAN Professional Conference (WLPC) gathers a crowd of WiFi Engineers every year in Phoenix; I attended for the first time in 2017, and found such value in the event that I will be back again this year! 

What makes WLPC different from other conferences is both the format and participants attending the conference. The majority of WiFi conferences that I have attended have a very strong vendor presence with hundreds of booths and heavy advertisement. That’s not necessarily bad, but not having to listen to dozens of vendor pitches at booths and cover miles and miles on the trade show floor takes some stress out of the event and makes it far more enjoyable. And I am saying this from first-hand experience, having been both a vendor and attendee at big trade shows.

WLPC is oriented around fostering conversations between peers to learn new concepts and get your hands dirty with technology.

WLPC’s two-day boot camps (set up like classes) pack a ton of material and learning in, in a short time. This year the schedule suggests that they will be covering topics that dive deep into WiFi technology and can provide valuable knowledge (e.g. CWNP/CWDP training by Devin Akin). But there are also topics that will help expand your view and skill set in the WiFi space (e.g. Python by Jake Snyder and Ryan Adzima, and 3D printing by Robert Boardman). I, unfortunately, will not be attending any of the boot camp classes this year, but I will definitely consider them for 2019.

The main conference lasts for two and a half days and consists of a series of ‘Ten Talks’, deep dive talks, and hands-on sessions. ‘Ten Talks’ are ten-minute presentations in which the presenter has a short amount of time to talk about a very specific topic. It’s a format that I have not seen at any other conference, but that I very much enjoy because it forces the presenter to be concise and cover the most important takeaways.

Also, the pace of the Ten Talks do a great job of keeping attendees’ attention and if one talk is not of interest, most likely, the next one (in ten minutes) will be.

My Ten Talk for this year (Wednesday 2/21 10:20-10:30am) will be on how to prove that “It’s Not the Network.” I will be talking about open source and free tools that you can use to test your WiFi performance in a quick and dirty way.

This comes in handy when you’re troubleshooting and the WiFi is immediately blamed as the culprit. More often than not, the WiFi is innocent; as soon as you take that out of the troubleshooting equation you can move on to blaming the application 🙂 I will also give a quick overview of how we NetBeez approaches this problem. Here’s a clip from last year’s talk!

I am looking forward to seeing some friends, familiar faces and some new WiFi peeps in Phoenix next week! Safe travels and hope to see you there.