There are plenty of places online to bounce ideas off of other network and IT pros, but Kevin Franzen felt there was a need for at least one more, and he calls it the WirelessGeek.net forums.
"I am trying to provide an open forum for engineer types to discuss wireless networks," says Franzen, a certifiably smart wireless network guy (CWNE #136 and CCNP-Wireless) who works in Austin as principal network engineer for a large telco that is not affiliated with the forums. "Currently folks try to use Twitter for this but it is not effective. The other wireless forums are related to vendors or a training company."
The relatively bare-bones forums so far have attracted 85 users -- a number that will naturally explode once people start reading this post -- and feature topics ranging from basics to troubleshooting to security to 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi. Sample threads include the down-and-dirty "Do you disable 1, 2, 5.5, and 11 Mbps?" and the broader "The future of hotspots."
The forums have a place to discuss specific vendors such as Cisco, Aruba and Ruckus, as well as spaces for chatting about certifications and conferences. Tools is one of the more popular topics, having spawned more than 20 threads, with users swapping advice about tools to use or avoid.
Users can also exchange private messages if they don't want to reveal certain thoughts to all forum users.
A man who on his Twitter profile -- @WiFivomFranMan -- says that he likes fast WiFi and fast cars (he owns a 2013 5.0 Mustang and a 2004 Big Turbo SRT4), Franzen seems comfortable weighing in on any number of topics. After all, he has been in IT for 15 years at large companies, and he's part of a team now that manages 35,000-plus Wi-Fi hotspots with over 140,00 access points.
His hot button topic these days is helping his company monetize wireless.
"Everyone wants a good wireless network and most do not like the price tag," Franzen says. "Figuring out how to provide value in a network is a challenge."
Franzen is also big into IPv6, and there's even a section of WirelessGeek.net devoted to the protocol designed to handle the Internet's explosive growth and newfound mobility. In fact, the forums themselves are fully IPv6 accessible, says Franzen, who describes himself as being on a "personal mission to help kill off IPv4."
A veteran of 15-plus years of website and forum operations, Frazen says "I could not start up a network-based forum that was not IPv6 accessible... IPv6 is also a chicken and egg problem. Most websites do not support it because clients do not have it. Most ISPs do not provide it to clients because most websites do not have it. I am in a position that I can help break the cycle from both sides. I'll convert one person at a time if I have to."
(A hat tip to another wireless expert, Wirednot's Lee Badman, for making me aware of WirelessGeek.net via his blog).