ExtremeAI: The End of Do-It-Yourself Wi-Fi

Craig Mathias Published 26 Jun 2018

Much to my surprise, I’ve been working on and with wireless LANs and every generation of Wi-Fi for almost 30 years. Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, and sometimes even when you’re not. Let me explain, and also tell you why your nights and weekends are about to free up – a lot.

I dearly love working on wireless networks. Dearly. I truly enjoy the challenges of understanding both the problem and the solution, and especially designing, installing, configuring, tuning, and operating the resulting WLANs over their useful life – and, of course, then doing it all again.

For us techies, this is fun. Real fun. Coverage or capacity not what they should be? We’ll get to the optimal answer. Strange and even intermittent problems with throughput? Gimme analytics and a management console, and it’s solved. I don’t care what the issue is – it’s a blast to figure out what’s wrong and fix it.

Except for one little detail.

While I’m having all that fun, the productivity of end-users – the reason that network exists in the first place – is being degraded. People aren’t getting their work done, at least not optimally. And like all professionals, my services come at a cost – and given my need for occasional nights and weekends off, my limited productivity after 12 hours of debugging, and the fact that any problem gets old after a few hours, well, there has to be a better way.

Suppose it were possible for me to hire another expert to help out – one who could work 24/7, ripping through perhaps hundreds of variables and settings, and getting smarter in the process – even smarter than me? That would be just fine with me, as there are lots of other interesting things to do with my time. But where might I find that magic entity, that can solve problems even faster and more accurately than someone with, again, almost 30 years of experience, and who learns with the steel-trap mind of a computer?

One word: ExtremeAI.

It’s new, and I’ve not spent enough time with it to be certain of newly-free nights and weekends. But ExtremeAI is an application of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) that I believe will be so important that it will appear – and very quickly – in network-operations shops everywhere. Let’s face it, managing a Wi-Fi installation today has become the kind of more-variables-than-equations problem that demands AI and ML. This is a development on par with ExtremeAnalytics, a smack-yourself-in-the-forehead innovation that you’ll want to try, and soon. And it’s so important that we’ve written a new Farpoint Group White Paper on just this subject.

My do-it-yourself days of sheer tech joy are thus coming to an end – and I couldn’t be happier. I hope you are, too.

Learn why AI/ML as applied to RF really is The Next Big Thing in the Farpoint Group’s white paper Optimizing Wireless LANs: A New Role for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

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