WLPC 2022

I love being with people. It’s the most incredible thing in the world. That world may change and evolve but the one thing that will never change – we’re all part of one big family.

–Stan Lee

Well it’s been a minute hasn’t it? WLPC 2022 was a few months ago. (I wrote this shortly after WLPC but forgot to hit the “publish” button.) Boy was great to be back with most of the family once again. It was also, I have to admit, a bit stressful. I had more in-person interaction in those 7 days than I had in the last few years. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was usually glad to

I was really looking forward to the event. Firstly, my last 2020 had been rather stressful. While I don’t exactly regret it teaching a Deep Dive at this amazing event is a HUGE effort and much respect to those who pull it off better than I did. I was glad to just be an attendee this year. Also, this was my first WLPC since becoming CWNE #414 and I was really looking forward to hanging out with the folks from that community. (Maybe flex a little bit…just a little bit.)

WLPC has a bit of everything (if you want to partake of it). There are bootcamps the weekend before – some of the best training you can find anywhere. There’s the actual conference itself where you hear presentations from your peers about current events in our industry. And last and certainly not least there are the social aspects. There are parties to attend and friends to hang out with. All good fun.

My week started off with the Python bootcamp with Jake Snyder. Automation is a big focus at work and I keep hearing how Python is supposed to be super hot and whatnot. I was fortunate to not be coming in completely ignorant about writing code – I actually did graduate with a CS degree once upon a time. Python just didn’t exist back then. (We managed our own memory allocation and we LIKED IT! Wait, no we hated that.)

I’m not going to pretend that in 3 days I came out of it a Python master but because the class is geared towards Wi-Fi engineers I did come out with a good chunk of healthy examples that show how to do things that can help me in my day to day job. Like: Pull a list of Mist APs from a switch using LLDP information in order to properly configure their ports. (I did that by hand earlier this year for a 500+ AP building and that was, you know, not fun.) And then use that info to pull even more details from the Mist API about those APs. I had been slowly working my way through a Python bootcamp on Udemy but that sort of individual thing lacked the focus and interaction that a real in-person class provides.

Moving on to the main conference I was surprised about the amount of “Wi-Fi 7” talks there were. Let’s keep in mind that 802.11be initial draft is going to be over a year late and that 6E hardware is barely shipping. I think the vendors need to slow their roll a bit. I know, there’s a lot of cool nerd stuff in there but let’s call it 802.11be for now. By invoking the “Wi-Fi 7” moniker it makes folks thinks that products are on the way. And I also wouldn’t be shocked if leadership is going “Why buy Wi-Fi 6E if Wi-Fi 7 will be out soon?” (Here’s a hint, it won’t.)

One of my favorite talks was the first one – Peter Mackenzie’s “It is Impossible to Calculate Wi-Fi Capacity” was a great talk. He spoke the truth about something we all know – and it’s something that I’ve bookmarked to send to management the next time they ask. He also said out loud how Wi-Fi design is both art and science. At times it feels like it gets treated as a commodity…which is how folks end up with bad designs.

The other big surprise was the WLAN Pi Pro. It’s amazing how this tool has evolved over time and I have to stay that this most recent iteration is an amazing tool. If you find a way to pick it up I can highly recommend it. It’s a Swiss Army Knife for Wi-Fi and at the moment it’s the only Wi-Fi 6E client I have.

It was another great WLPC. If you’ve found yourself looking for a conference that gives a great bang for the buck I can’t recommend WLPC highly enough. If you missed Phoenix then WLPC EU in Prague will be in October. If you have a chance you should totally check it out.

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