Atmosphere is digital for the first time ever, but I still had the opportunity to connect with Keith Parsons. Keith produces the most excellent Wireless LAN Professional Conferences. Check out the podcasts and other great resources at Wireless LAN Professionals.
JE: How did you initially get involved in networking?
KP: Networking was a way to see computers having more value to end users. Being able to connect to ‘the world’ was an eye-opening experience. It was just intriguing and cool to see information on one computer magically show up on other computers.
What keeps you motivated working in the networking field?
There’s always something more to learn. The basics haven’t changed in decades, but nearly every week there is still something new to learn and experience. There’s never a dull moment.
Do you collect any tech?
Don’t know if it counts as tech, but I do have quite a large LEGO collection as well as a room full of tech-parts. To be able to quickly adapt and use tech, you need a lot of parts.
What is your vision for how organizations will use AI for their network and security?
For me, AI is just a faster, and more efficient way to replace the human element on issues that follow best practices. But that humans find a wee bit boring today. It’s like setting channel and power—no one likes doing it for a thousand APs. It is possible, but just not enjoyable. So set the rules, give loads of examples, set goals and then let the AI figure it out for you.
Branch office connectivity has been a longstanding pain point. How do you see the rise of SD-Branch solve that problem?
I’m not sure if I’m qualified to answer this one. SD-Branch is a marketing term. Keeping branch offices connected is the general networking term. Like AI, you can do things to help alleviate some of the less-enjoyable parts of connecting offices with solutions rather than just human labor.
As organizations continue to migrate to SaaS and cloud, what's the biggest impact on the enterprise network that you're seeing?
The biggest impact to the network is more and more north-south traffic flows and continually bigger and bigger pipes throughout the entire infrastructure.
Who do you admire most in the technology industry? Why?
Elon Musk for taking on HUGE adversaries and having the confidence and chutzpah to go head to head with anyone. As well as his varied interests all at the same time.
What are you looking forward to at Atmosphere?
The best part, for me, has always been the executive keynotes, seeing Aruba Networks eating their own dog food, putting it all on the line and taking risks.
In the past, the worst part was the party. I’m not an extrovert who likes loud and boisterous situations. I’d rather have a quiet intimate conversation with other tech geeks instead. And I can still do that today.