One of the EMP Tech Group’s core competencies is wireless networking. It is a product line that we have invested heavily in, both with equipment and training. Despite that investment however, we never seem to fully exercise our capabilities with that product line.
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 radio’s which are the basis of the 802.11 standard. When Symbol Technologies was purchased by Motorola in 2007, their foothold in wireless networking strengthened when coupled with Motorola’s wireless expertise. The WiNG architecture that was developed by Motorola eventually made expensive and bandwidth clogging controllers obsolete. Then in 2014, the Motorola Solutions Enterprise business that included most of the Symbol Technologies assets were purchased by Zebra Technologies. All was well for a few years, although no big developments were made by Zebra 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 and 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 to be deep seated within Zebra as one of the foundation pieces for mobile computing. But Extreme has gone on to not only incorporate the Zebra products into their product offering, but to 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 that we sell and to not try 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. Many times, a customer has engaged EMP to help with wireless network issues and we find that the wireless network is not set up properly for mobile computing. Over saturation of access points is a common issue. If the mobile computer can see too many AP’s 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 the 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 how to best set your network up for mobile computing. We have developed a mounting system that lets you easily find and identify the access points located in the very high ceilings of a warehouse or production facility. If you are planning to install or upgrade a wireless network in your warehouse or production facility, we are the right source for you. Our expertise in this field makes the EMP Tech Group the right choice for industrial wireless networking.