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Wi-Fi network management techniques in flux after FCC fine

SN blogs: This week, one analyst discusses over-the-air Wi-Fi management in the wake of the FCC's fine against Marriott, while another touts a new breed of network management tools.

Stay away from over-the-air Wi-Fi management for now

Current Analysis analyst Mike Fratto says until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decides on acceptable techniques when it comes to over-the-air Wi-Fi management, stay on the safe side and don't use it. After the recent FCC ruling against Marriott International, in which the chain was fined $600,000 for jamming a conference goer's hotspot connection at a Nashville, Tenn., property in 2013, Fratto says it's hard to say whether over-the-air management is acceptable or even legal. On the one hand, conference exhibitors and attendees are charged as much as $250 to $1,000 per device for Wi-Fi, so it's understandable that people would like to find their own alternatives and not have their private connections messed with. Marriott's response, that it was trying to protect guests from "degraded service, insidious cyberattacks and identity theft," is a "specious argument," Fratto writes. Marriott should not be making claims of cyberattacks or identity theft without proof that these threats actually exist.

Read more of Fratto's take on over-the-air Wi-Fi management and what organizations should do.

Creator of World Wide Web supports net neutrality

Mark Scott from The New York Times says that Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, is a supporter of net neutrality and believes that privacy is still important. According to Scott, Lee says that better use of data, faster computers and enhanced collaboration are all possible, but only if people have equal access to the Internet. The FCC is currently evaluating net neutrality, with a decision expected soon. On one side are service providers that want to charge content creation companies, such as Netflix, a premium to access their networks, arguing that organizations that consume the most bandwidth should pay more. On the other side are content providers that believe the idea of offering a premium service layer goes against the idea of "open access for all." Berners-Lee told Scott that he focuses on the individual user. "Net neutrality is really, really important," he told The Times. "Never before have you had something in the system that could throttle your app." Not only should access be equal, but Berners-Lee also said that people should have control over how their personal data is used by outside sources. "The idea that privacy is dead is hopelessly sad," Lee said.

Read more of Scott's article on the creator of the World Wide Web and his opinion on net neutrality.

IT still needs to have a network management focus

Enterprise Management Associates analyst Jim Frey says that network management is still important despite all of the hype about software-defined networking, DevOps and the cloud. The most important thing to remember, says Frey, is that the network can't function if all of the pieces that compose the network are not coordinated. Frey suggests network administrators investigate Enterprise Network Availability Monitoring Systems, or ENAMS. Among their other management and monitoring capabilities, these products include automated discovery so network managers don't have to manually investigate how different elements of a network function together. They also have alert and alarm management capabilities and isolation and troubleshooting functions.

Read more about why Frey says changing network structures don't eliminate the need to manage the network.

Time to focus on self-healing infrastructure

VirtualizedGeek founder Keith Townsend wonders when IT infrastructure will become the "invisible plumbing of the Internet." After the recent reboot that happened with Amazon and Rackspace Xen hypervisor, Townsend says that IT should be at the point where applications aren't affected by the problems with underlying infrastructure. Since people don't worry about infrastructure complexity until they are affected by a problem, it's the job of infrastructure engineers and architects to make incidents "disappear." Townsend suggests two technologies that can help make operating system level patching a bit easier: Docker and Core OS.

Read more about the disappearing infrastructure layer of IT, according to Townsend.

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