2010 Products of the Year
eWEEK Labs names the hardware, software and services that most impressed us in 2010.Each year, eWEEK Labs singles out the products that stood out in our testing in the past 12 months. We focus on the offerings that had the biggest impact in their spaces and that did the most to move enterprise technology forward.
Product of the Year: Apple iPadIt was the hottest thing in computing since the original Apple Macintosh. It was an evergreen topic of conversation, from its unveiling in the first week of January 2010 to holiday dinners at year's end. It is already changing the landscape of mobile computing and inspiring numerous imitators.
Cisco CleanAirCisco CleanAir, a spectrum analysis feature set comprising recent-generation Aironet 3500 series access points and Version 7.x Unified Wireless Network software on the APs and Wireless LAN Controllers, delivers outstanding RF (radio frequency) reporting, tracking and assessment capabilities to help wireless administrators build robust wireless networks to host mission-critical applications and dense endpoint deployments. I gave Cisco and CleanAir eWEEK's Analyst's Choice award when I reviewed the products back in August, as I was blown away by CleanAir's interferer detection and fingerprinting, as well as the network's automated self-healing capabilities and the integration with Cisco's desktop RF analysis software. But I was most impressed with CleanAir's ability to distill the findings into an understandable and actionable framework, allowing wireless administrators and senior executives alike to get a better understanding of the deleterious effects of radio interference without requiring them to get lost in the weeds of spectrograms, fast Fourier diagrams and the like. Unless they want to. One can certainly argue the value of Cisco CleanAir, given the massive hardware upgrade requirements needed both at the network edge and in the network core, as CleanAir requires deploying brand new Cisco APs and it really needs a Mobility Services Engine at the network core to provide optimal functionality. Indeed, integrated (albeit excellent) spectrum analysis probably should not be at the top of the feature wish list when considering a new WiFi solution, as questions of network architecture, airtime fairness and client density should be paramount. Despite all that, CleanAir is one of the best conceived and best executed wireless LAN features I've seen in years, and Cisco deserves commendation for leveraging its acquired Cognio technology in such a thoughtful and groundbreaking way.