Seeing Is Believing At CRNtech Live

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Whether you call it emerging technology, disruptive technology or just building a better mousetrap, change in the IT world is always exciting. For solution providers, that excitement often can translate into profit.

But the real trick is to identify new technologies that are more than just hype and have enough momentum to change how solutions are defined. But who has the time for that?

Luckily, I was able to get a small taste of the future at CMP Technology's CRNtech Live show in New York on March 28. Three vendors demonstrated products that could potentially change the way people think about and deploy certain technologies.

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Right off the bat, a company called Extricom demonstrated a product that was billed as an interference-free WLAN system. Simply put, Extricom identified the weaknesses found in today's wireless mesh systems and greatly improved on the idea of a resilient wireless network for the enterprise worker.

The company achieves this by deploying wireless in a different fashion: A centralized switch handles most of the chores, while remote radios are connected via Cat5 cables back to the switch. The remote radios carry 802.11a/b/g traffic back and forth from the network backbone. Administrators no longer have to worry about individual access points, frequencies used, handoffs from cell phones and so on. The technology offers the equivalent of a hard-wired experience, but without the wires. This definitely is one technology that I am going to explore in depth in the future.

Adtran is another company that showed a really cool product: the Netvanta 7100 office in a box, an Ethernet switch that combines VoIP with Ethernet and even provides power-over-Ethernet for VoIP phones.

While the individual technologies involved are not earth-shattering, the combination of those elements is worth a real look for VARs servicing small businesses. Again, this will be a product that I intend to take a long, hard look at in the near future.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention the product presentation by Eaton, whose new power distribution and UPS devices should earn a special "green" award.

Eaton has reduced both power consumption and heat generated to make enterprise-class power solutions much more palatable to those building data centers. The upside is that the equipment offers significant savings over other big-name power products and is competitively priced. It pretty much comes down to being "green" without paying a premium and saving money over the long haul. Again, another technology that's worth a good look.

If you're interested in getting ahead of the curve and taking a peak at the future, keep your eyes open for our next CRNtech Live event and sign up for a visit. See you there!

What's your opinion? You can reach Frank J. Ohlhorst, director of the CRN Test Center, at

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