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Trick or Treat in the Wireless Age

Trick or Treat in the Wireless Age

| 10/31/2012 7:00:24 AM

Happy Halloween. “Tis the season for ghosts, goblins, freaks and geeks, and although I’m not sure where I stand in that continuum, I do know a thing or two about the proper way to celebrate the holiday. For example, if you’re planning to hand out KitKats or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you are a fine human being and a good neighbor. But if you’re planning to dispense anything that is even remotely healthy, like little bags of raisins or sunflower seeds, you might want to reconsider the matter. Kids only get to Trick or Treat once per year. If you can’t force yourself to get into the spirit of the thing and hand out some serious junk food, no one will object if you just turn off your lights and pretend that you’re not at home.
 
So far, Trick or Treating has always been handled in the traditional manner, by traveling from house to house and taking your chances one doorbell at a time. Sometimes you score a full-sized Snickers bar. Sometimes you get stale candy corn or a hideous marshmallow “Circus Peanut.” Worst of all, sometimes you encounter the diet cops with their raisins and their sunflower seeds. But this old model can’t last much longer. Today’s kids are pretty tech-savvy, and I predict that someone will soon provide them with an app that tells them which addresses are going to be a waste of their precious Trick or Treating time.
 
Another model that won’t last much longer is traditional machine-to-machine networking. Server devices poll clients for continuous updates while the client devices blindly spew data. Network engineers pursue – and pay for -- “five-nines” uptime and reliability in situations where an occasional connection could do the job. We’re schlepping terabytes of data around in the hopes of extracting mere kilobytes worth of meaningful information. It’s inefficient, like Trick or Treating at every door to collect sunflower seeds and Circus Peanuts when what you’re really after is a bagful of chocolate.
 
If you caught my recent presentations at the ISA and the Remote Monitoring conferences you already know how I feel about it. If you didn’t, here’s the short version: This is not how networks are going to work in the future.
 
By coincidence, we’ve rolled out our new SPECTRE 3G just in time for Halloween. SPECTRE 3G gets its name from the fact that it conjures robust network access out of thin air (with the cooperation of your cellular network provider). This is frightfully cool stuff. 

And while we’re talking about frightfully cool products with spooky names, what about the B&B Electronics Ghostbridge? In situations that don’t require the continent-wide coverage of the cellular data networks you can just unbox a pair of Ghostbridges and point them at each other. They’ll establish an ultra high speed wireless Ethernet link at distances and bandwidths that make traditional wireless modems and bridges roll over in their graves. Check out my little Ghostbridge video to see how easy it is.
 
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a special night in which it was believed that the barriers between our world and the other dimensions became very thin. If you weren’t careful you could find yourself in one of the realms on the other side, and the denizens of those worlds could also cross over to yours. It was a scary time indeed.
 
You don’t need magic or a special night to cross communications barriers with tools like SPECTRE 3G and Ghostbridge. You can do it any time you like, and it isn’t scary at all.

Happy Connections,
Mike Fahrion

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