One of the EMP Tech Group’s core competencies is wireless networking. We have invested heavily in a product line, both with equipment and training. Despite that investment, however, we rarely exercise our capabilities with that product line fully.
Some history here, Symbol Technologies was one of the first companies to use wireless technologies in mobile data collection devices. Symbol was also one of the first companies to use spread spectrum radios which are the basis of the 802.11 standard. When Motorola purchased Symbol Technologies in 2007, its foothold in wireless networking strengthened when coupled with Motorola’s wireless expertise. The WiNG architecture that Motorola developed eventually made expensive and bandwidth-clogging controllers obsolete. Then in 2014, the Motorola Solutions Enterprise business that included most of the Symbol Technologies assets was purchased by Zebra Technologies. All was well for a few years, although Zebra made no significant developments with the WLAN product portfolio. Then in September of 2016, Zebra sold the wireless LAN business to Extreme Networks.
A relationship had been developed between Extreme and Zebra during the development and deployment of the NFL’s on-field player tracking system. Extreme was the official provider to the NFL of the wireless LAN infrastructure, so the two companies worked closely together on the NFL project. Extreme acquiring that portion of Zebra was a shock to us at EMP; the wireless networking seemed deep-seated within Zebra as one of the foundations for mobile computing. But Extreme has gone on to incorporate the Zebra products into their product offering and use the WiNG architecture in their new products going forward.
So where is EMP in all of this? We don’t quite fit the mold of an Extreme Partner. We do not go into the network infrastructure past the POE switches that power the access points. So, from Extreme’s point of view, we only sell part of their product portfolio. But we have learned important lessons over the years about continuing to specialize in the technologies we sell and not trying to do everything, which would render us not very good at anything.
We are a powerful resource for our customers in industrial wireless networking. Our expertise is in mobile computing, and not every wireless networking product out there easily supports wireless clients that move around, sometimes at a high rate of speed. Often, a customer has engaged EMP to help with wireless network issues, and we find that the wireless network is not set up correctly for mobile computing. Over saturation of access points is a common issue. If the mobile computer can see too many APs while traveling through the facility on a forklift, it has trouble attaching to any of them. Or, the wireless network hardware has no preemptive roaming capabilities making it difficult to hand off the signal from a rapidly moving mobile computer.
The bottom line is that EMP continues to sell and integrate Extreme Networks wireless products. We are also a Cisco Partner and sell those products as well. We have invested in the latest wireless site survey tools and have a team of resources trained to provide these services, along with recommendations for best setting your network up for mobile computing. We have developed a mounting system that lets you quickly find and identify the access points located in the very high ceilings of a warehouse or production facility. We are the right source for you if you plan to install or upgrade a wireless network in your warehouse or manufacturing facility. Our expertise in this field makes us the right choice for industrial wireless networking. Contact us today!