Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Corporate Twitter Launch - Internal Communications

Corporate Twitter has been fun -- new medium, new tools.

Below is an email I sent to the company to launch 'Firetide on Twitter' internally. Please feel free to reuse; it's been adapted from an excellent reference I found online, obviously shortened from 20 pages to one (oh, those UK bureaucrats!).


Hello All:

Firetide is now on Twitter at!

Below is more info on this effort:

About Twitter
Twitter is a 'micro-blogging' platform which allows users to post short text messages (up to 140 characters in length) and converse with other users via their phones or web browsers. Unlike email or text messaging on mobile phones, these conversations take place in the open.

The platform is experiencing a phenomenal adoption curve in the US and being used increasingly by media, analysts, editors, as well as our integrator and distributor customers and technology partners. It is free to use with and has the potential to deliver many benefits for our communications and marketing objectives.

Key Objectives:
  • Extend reach of our messages online (e.g. news, web updates) by building relationships with relevant audiences
  • Provide leadership and credibility, increasing our visibility as the experts in 'infrastructure mesh' within the online space
  • Provide an additional, low-barrier method for audiences to interact with Firetide to provide feedback, seek help and suggest ideas
  • Monitor mentions on Twitter of ‘Firetide’, ‘wireless mesh’ etc., engaging with our critics and key influencers to resolve problems and correct factual inaccuracies, and with satisfied customers to thank them for their positive comments
  • Provide live coverage of events (such as trade shows) for those who cannot attend
Types and Sources of Content:

Content will comprise a mixture of Firetide communications re-purposed for Twitter, and content produced exclusively for Twitter and will consist of:
  • Firetide news releases
  • Firetide press coverage
  • Upcoming and current Firetide events and marketing programs
  • Firetide website updates - new or updated sections, new white papers, new case studies, etc.
  • Videos on YouTube and photos on Flickr
To position Firetide as a filter of business intelligence and industry information, we’ll feature links to:
  • Research findings and statistics
  • Relevant industry events
  • Industry insights
  • Educational materials
  • Relevant partner news (resellers, distributors, solution partners)
***If you have ideas for ‘tweets’ or interesting content (photos, videos) please let me know – that would be very helpful!***

Why is Twitter important?
  • It’s establishing itself as the main source of live update information
  • It is increasingly used by our customers and partners
  • Search Engine Optimization – because it is updated frequently, Twitter content ranks highly on Google, and will give us additional exposure.
To keep our followers engaged, updates will be relatively frequent, between 1 to 3 messages per work day. During special events, updates may be more frequent.

To promote our presence on Twitter, we’ve added a link to twitter page from “Contact Firetide” sidebar on the web site and are also promoting it through our regular communications (newsletters, webinars, etc).

To see how well our brand is performing on Twitter, we’ll track mentions of ‘Firetide’ and tone of these messages. We’ll track number of relevant followers, as well as followers who ‘un-follow’ us. We’ll also track click-through on the links in our messages; ‘re-tweets’ of Firetide messages, and overall performance via tools like Twitter Grader.

Please help spread the word by adding the link to your signature.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Firetide on Twitter!

Started a Twitter account for Firetide with a few tweets:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's All About the Numbers

Interesting games high tech companies play. Below is the email I sent to John Honovich of regarding Proxim's new product announcement (redacted), especially the reference he made to Firetide (italics are mine):
Hi John:

I had to get back to you on this (see, it pays to be a subscriber to your premium service). Correct, what Proxim put in the headline (300/600 Mbps) is actually radio data rate, not usable bandwidth. They indicated that usable bandwidth is 100 Mpbs for ‘300 Mbps’ product. The radios Firetide uses also provide 300 Mbps data rate per radio (that’s 801.11n standard); for dual radio product, our mesh provides 600 Mpbs ‘data rate.’

However, when we announced our product, we did *not* use data rate when we said “400 Mpbs” – it’s the actual throughput of the dual-radio product. True, it was achieved in indoor, lab conditions which are quite favorable to MIMO due to multipath reflections created by walls etc. Outdoor throughput will of course be lower and will wary depending on how much one can take advantage of MIMO’s multi-path, but not by the orders of magnitude in stepping down from Proxim’s data rate to usable throughput. Also, I’m quite sure that Proxim’s 100 Mpbs is lab test result, not the field data.
Originally posted by John Honovich
New 300 Mb/s Wireless Video Surveillance Product Offering

Proxim has released two series of high speed wireless networking equipment targeted to the video surveillance market. [...] Key point - though the series says 300Mb/s, an examination of the data sheet indicates that the system is actually for 100Mb/s of throughput. [This is similar to the variance in Firetide's new super high bandwidth product].

Proxim reports that later this year, it will release a 600 Mb/s version. Proxim says there will be a variety of models offered, some of which can be software upgraded for higher speeds while others require new equipment.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wi-Fi Planet Article on Non-line-of-sight Mesh

Firetide Releases New Non-Line-Of-Sight Mesh Node
By Naomi Graychase

June 30, 2009

Firetide has released its new HotPort 6000-900, the company’s first product to operate in the 900 MHz spectrum, which enables clients to run high-bandwidth applications in environments where achieving line-of-sight is difficult or impossible.

The HotPort 6000-900 is targeted primarily at public utilities where it can increase the capacity of existing SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) backhaul connections. With real-world throughput of up to 26Mbps, it enables bandwidth-intensive applications, such as video surveillance, and extends mesh reliability into non-line-of-site scenarios.

Firetide’s “wireless infrastructure mesh” approach has met with success in public and private video surveillance markets. Clients include the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which uses Firetide equipment as part of its Advanced Surveillance and Protection Plan, and the Phoenix, AZ Police Department, which used a Firetide network to protect visitors during Super Bowl XLII.

“When we started the company, we designed the network from the ground up to be a multi-service network,” says Ksenia Coffman, Marketing Communications Manager at Firetide. “Our systems have capabilities uniquely designed for high-bandwidth and low-latency to achieve evidence-grade video. Our virtual Internet switch runs proprietary protocols and to the IT administrator, it appears as though it were a regular switch; its completely transparent, that’s what sets us apart.”

The HotPort 6000-900 mesh is uniquely designed for the noisy 900 MHz spectrum, says Coffman. It employs Firetide’s ‘Smart Adaptive’ mesh technology to mitigate the effects of interference that typically bring down wireless throughput and reliability in this band. “Firetide’s noise-aware data path and noise filtering algorithms enable mesh to better handle interference from other 900 MHz devices, as well as from adjacent frequency bands taken up by cellular and 3G traffic. Tools, such as the spectrum analyzer, which is integrated into the product, allow a network administrator to remotely monitor the health of the network and take actions to further optimize the network performance,” says Coffman.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wireless Mesh Article in SDM Magazine

The article I contributed written answers to:

Benefits that Mesh Well Together

The best way to position “wireless mesh” is to contrast it with other available wireless technologies, explains Ksenia Coffman, marketing manager for wireless mesh network provider Firetide, of Los Gatos, Calif. “If you look at the available wireless technologies, you can see wireless mesh is clearly differentiated,” she observes.

Point-to-point wireless systems. These systems provide connections between two fixed locations, and often offer greater capacities and distances compared with point-to-multipoint and mesh technologies. These connections, or bridges, are ideal for backhaul of other wireless technologies, Coffman explains.

Point-to-multipoint wireless systems. These systems deliver high-speed network connections to multiple remote locations. When towers or tall buildings are available, point-to-multipoint systems can offer cost-effective deployments. However, the central “base unit” creates a potential single point of failure.

“Should the unit lose power or become inoperative, the whole network goes down,” Coffman says.

Multipoint-to-multipoint (or wireless mesh) systems. These systems are by their very nature self-healing for resiliency, Coffman notes. Redundant links eliminate single points of failure associated with conventional wireless networks, while multiple paths overcome line-of-sight issues. On a wireless mesh network, unlike with a point-to-multipoint system, any mesh node can act as a “head end,” allowing multiple command centers to be set up, at any point in the network, she describes.

The flexibility of mesh allows it to be deployed in any of the above scenarios — point-to-point for backhaul, point-to-multipoint, or “true” mesh for complete redundancy.

Some deployments start as point-to-multipoint, later to be reconfigured into a mesh topology, when security needs call for ubiquitous coverage, Coffman says.

Full article

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Remote Surveillance Article in Security Products

My contributed story ran in the March issue of Security Products. It was a fun project to write and get contributors for:

Out of Sight

Taking advantage of the latest high-throughput wireless network technologies

By Ksenia Coffman | Mar 03, 2009

Out of sight never means “out of mind” for security professionals. But how do you provide security at remote locations without deploying foot patrols 24/7 or burying fiber to extend surveillance reach? Many organizations tasked with ensuring public safety and securing critical infrastructure are increasingly turning to wireless security and surveillance to cover remote areas without breaking the bank.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wireless Issues For Critical Applications

Nice to be getting great quotes (of course, I wrote them myself, but who's going to notice :)

Excerpts follow:
Wireless Issues For Critical Applications
Minimize Potential Problems In The Enterprise

In the opinion of Ksenia Coffman, marketing manager for Firetide (, however, wireless mesh networking is the best choice for critical applications. Coffman says wireless mesh networks provide redundancy and multiple paths to ensure reliability of critical information, be it enterprise application data, alarms, access control communications, or video transmission.

Coffman says high-performing wireless mesh infrastructure is not trivial to design or deploy, and professional-grade wireless equipment is a considerable investment. “Before making a wireless move,” Coffman notes, “enterprises should carefully weigh the costs vs. the benefits. In an outdoor setting, for example, wireless makes a lot of sense, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.”

Wireless vs. Cable

Ksenia Coffman, marketing manager for Firetide (, says she doesn’t see cable going away and enterprises switching to 100% wireless, especially in an indoor environment (or the “carpeted space,” as she calls it). “However,” Coffman notes, “in outdoor areas or in a mobile environment, wireless makes a lot of sense. A typical example would be a large enterprise campus, university campus, or a large medical facility.”
Full article.