An Interview with Joe Wargo, Alpha Omega Wireless
We have noted on multiple occasions before, as businesses and people have become more mobile, printing has evolved to keep up. We have spent a lot of time covering the printers and apps related to printing, however, we have not spent much time covering the underlying technology. Additionally, we have not said a lot about the deployment and use of wireless and mobile printing other than the fact that businesses do use it and have come to rely on it. To this end, we reached out via HARO to dig deeper and were able to connect with people deeply involved with the technology. In this first of two interviews, we turn to Mr. Joe Wargo, CEO and President of Alpha Omega Wireless an Austin, TX-based wireless network integration business. The interview was conducted via email and the transcript is below.
1) When was your company founded and why?
Alpha Omega Wireless, Inc. was founded in 2003. The company was created with a core focus on being a broadband Wireless Integrator and Value Added Reseller of enterprise and carrier grade outdoor wireless network solutions.
2) Who are your key employees and their backgrounds (including yourself)
Joe Wargo, CEO / President
Joe comes to Alpha Omega Wireless with over 15 years of technical and sales experience in the technology sector. Joe has held the role as CEO and Vice President of Sales for a technology services and reseller company. He has also been in the role of Director of Business Operations, responsible for overall business development and management of an industry leading technology services company. Joe has been responsible for developing large enterprise accounts such as Intel, IBM, Nike, and numerous City, County, and State Agencies. Joe served in the US Army as a Nuclear Electronics Specialist. Joe holds a B.S. Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Computer Science from Oregon State University and is also a Certified Wi-Fi Engineer and a Certified Wireless Broadband Engineer.
At Alpha Omega Wireless, Joe is responsible for the business operations, customer relations, technical oversight, and manufacture relationships of the company. Joe’s job includes oversight of the company’s client base, establishing and maintaining the company’s products and services, and ensuring quality of service with the clients. Joe also acts as the Vice President of Business Operations for the company.
Frank J. McClory, COO / General Manager
Frank comes to Alpha Omega Wireless with over 25 years of RF systems experience in supervisory and management level positions. Frank is a veteran who has served 10 years in the US Navy as an Electronics Technician and has spent the remaining time in the private sector as a Business Manager and Senior Electronics Technician.
At Alpha Omega Wireless, Frank is responsible for overseeing or assisting in all field services including path calculations, site surveys, installations, project management and quality assurance on all projects. Franks duties also include site evaluation, spectrum analysis, programming and repair of two way radio portable, control stations, remote control, console, mobile and repeater, microwave, paging, mobile data, supervisory control and data acquisition and In building amplification systems.
3) When looking at mobile/wireless printing options, what are the factors that you (and others should) consider?
(a little history)
Being a wireless company it’s obvious that we take full advantage of the use of wireless technologies. But with any business organization the need for wireless connectivity is rapidly growing. The overall ROI (“return on investment”) and TCO (“total cost of ownership”) of a wireless network are much lower than that of a traditional wired network. In a traditional structured wired network there is large upfront costs in materials to install data drops everywhere in a building where needed. There is always the unforeseen data drop locations that get overlooked and need to be added later. Also throughout time there is always moves/adds/changes that occur at great costs.
Wireless networks are quick to deploy and can handle way more capacity of users and devices. Most all IP equipment (computers, printers, scanners, phones, etc.) are Wi-Fi enabled. Instead of needing a single data cable drop per devices you can add hundreds of devices per Wi-Fi access point. A traditional hard-wired line drop can run on average $150 a drop. A single Wi-Fi access point can cost under $500 and can take place of 100+ wired drops.
Most organizations are moving forward with purchasing mobile devices, like laptops, and tablets. There are a lot of advantages to mobile devices such as the ability for employees to work anywhere or get together for collaboration. In our case our employees travel a lot and need laptops to do their job. In our office we don’t have any assigned offices or desks. Employees sit wherever they wish but still need the ability to print documents and reports. This is only possible in a wireless environment. We have gone as far as enabling over the Internet printing (being able to send to our office printer a document over the Internet from another location).
Having a Wi-Fi standard printer(s) allows every Wi-Fi enabled device to print directly to the printer. This saves a lot of money on IT infrastructure costs. With the newer Microsoft operating systems, Droid, and Apple IOS and MAC OS devices connecting to a printer is simple and quick. Gone are the days of having to do elaborate printer software installations. The key thing to look for is a wireless printer that is compatible with IOS and ’Droid devices natively.
4) When you set up your wireless networks for clients, does the need for some type of printing generally come up? Does your company advise them on the types of options available?
For most companies the question about printing comes up when talking about a wireless network solution. Currently and moving forward more and more organizations are allowing employees to use BYOD (“bring your own device”). The good news is that most wireless printers use the IEEE standard of 802.11a/b/g/n and the newer 802.11ac standards. This allows them to easily communicate on the Wi-Fi network and allow any other 802.11a/b/g/n/ac device to communicate with it. The only issue to take into account is to make sure the network isn’t blocking the broadcast of the printer on the network so devices can discover it.
5) Can you provide the types of wireless printers you are currently using for yourselves?
For our organization we are using HP printers. We have used Xerox in the past and in some case some SOHO Epson and Brother printers. We choose HP because of the availability of ink and overall quality. Very simple to set up wirelessly.
6) What kinds of security protocols do you have in place on your networks to ensure clients information is protected?
When it comes to the wireless network, in this case a Wi-Fi network, there are several layers of security that can be implemented to keep the network traffic secure. First is the use of encryption like 256bit AES encryption. Encryption keys like WPA2 or greater should be used. In an organization environment the use of radius authentication can also be used.
7) When you contract with companies to provide wireless solutions, does printing or cloud access still come up on a regular basis?
Yes almost every time. More and more organizations are benefiting of using cloud or host based services. When bandwidth is not the issue it is extremely cost effective to use cloud or hosted solutions. The days of having to maintain expensive networking hardware and servers are gone. Cloud and hosted solutions also make much more sense in a mobile and wireless environment so employees can get work done virtually anywhere in the world.
8) Where do you see your company and the wireless industry going in the next 5-10 years? Will we continue to see more standardization and collegiality (e.g. Mopria Alliance for mobile printing)?
The wireless industry, we believe, is in its toddler years. There is so much more growth in the coming years. Bandwidth is no longer a clog in the wheel. You can get LTE/WiMax or Wi-Fi connections almost everywhere with high-speed connectivity. With the standards being adopted and used more and more devices will be introduced to the marketplace and mobility will be king.