Listen to Live Q&A with Victor Pak

 

Listen to the Recording
of the Live Q&A Event

On March 24th, 2016 Victor Pak, co-founder of Pakedge, and Martin Plaehn, CEO of Control4 sat down together to answer questions from dealers who wanted to know more about the acquisition of Pakedge by Control4.

 

Time stamps:

  • 00:00 min
    • Very brief introduction

 

  • 1 min
    • Vic  opening remarks – Pakedge still exists, the team you trust is still here.
      • What’s the same & whats changing
      • Addressing product development plans and policies
      • What does this mean for non-Control4 dealers. We really are committed to open integration.

*Side Note* Please ignore rumors that our competitors are spreading,
no one will be cut off from Pakedge products and services.

  • 3min 50sec
    • Martin – why C4 bought Pakedge

 

  • 6min 10 sec
    • Martin reiterates and expands on committing to open integration for all dealers, no matter which automation brand they use.

 

  • 7min 20 sec – 10min 15sec
    • Why is the the acquisition of Pakedge by C4 a good thing for non-C4 dealers?
    • Accelerated investment, infrastructure, road maps, resources and processes, etc.

 

  • 10min 20 sec
    • Buying Pakedge, internal sales reps, distribution, and man reps

 

  • 12min 30 sec
    • Martin – keeping the Pakedge as a distinct brand

 

  • 13min 20sec
    • Tech support, who to call

 

  • 14min 15 sec
    • Supporting dealers who buy competing brands

 

  • 18min 15sec
    • Connect+ (and BakPak) how will that be affected or change?
    • It’s not just for C4 products

 

  • 19min 15sec
    • Pricing
    • Pricing and program differences between Control4 and Pakedge store (21:17)

 

  • 23min 30 sec
    • Commercial market and products

 

  • 24min 35 sec
    • What about Pakedge dealers who don’t sell C4 will they be hounded by C4 sales to recruit?
      • FYI – Pakedge management team can be reached at wecare@pakedge.com

 

  • 25min
    • Will C4 offer other networking brands other than C4

 

  • 26min
    • Product Quality

 

  • 27min 10sec
    • turn around time when ordering Pakedge through C4

 

  • 28min
    • Will Pakedge policies changes to match Control4 or stay the same?

 

  • 28min 30sec
    • Benefits of bundling C4 with Pakedge?

 

  • 30min
    • C4 devices and other third party devices on BakPak
    • EA controllers on BakPak?

 

  • 32min
    • Using managed switches with C4

 

  • 32min 30 sec
    • Recurring revenue with remote management and building a unified platform

 

  • 34min 30sec
    • Vic will you be staying with Control4/Pakedge

 

We are always interested in hearing from our dealers. Please send feedback and concerns to wecare@pakedge.com where it will be reviewed by a special team and our Pakedge management team.

 

 

 

Open Letter from Vic

As most of you have heard, on January 29th, 2016 Pakedge was acquired by Control4 Corporation.  We recognize that with this type of news, there can be many questions about continuity, potential changes, and the future.  To provide you more information and to address questions you may have, I am inviting you to a live Q&A Discussion with me and Martin Plaehn, CEO of Control4.

 

Listen to the Recording
of the Live Q&A Event

 
 

 

As a preview to this discussion on March 24th, I want to reiterate our continued and steadfast commitment to deliver world-class networking products specifically designed to optimize AV and automation systems.  Additionally, I want to assure all Pakedge dealers that you can expect the following from the combined Control4 and Pakedge team:

  • The Same Pakedge Brand and Team You Know and Trust – Pakedge operates as the Network Solutions Group within Control4. Pakedge products will remain under the Pakedge brand and available through Pakedge dealers and distributors.  We have and will continue with dedicated Pakedge technical support as well as a networking-focused sales team.  Our product development team and roadmaps remain intact and are proceeding without interruption.  We continue to stand behind our products with our three-year warranty, our firmware updates, and lifetime support — as we always have.  And, we will continue to solicit and welcome your feedback on products, services, and business policy.
  • Business Continuity and Acceleration – In terms of business processes and ordering Pakedge products, not much has changed. All Pakedge dealers can and should continue to order and track their business as they have in the past.
    • For dealers in the US or Canada: Please continue to use our online store, our inside sales team (sales@pakedge.com ), or your manufacturer’s representative.
    • For international dealers: Please continue to use Pakedge distributors or consult with our international sales team (international@pakedge.com).
    • And, should you also be an Authorized Control4 Dealer, you have the option of ordering Pakedge products through the Control4 Dealer Portal.
  • Better Business Experiences for Our Dealers – With Control4, we are even more committed to improving the processes and operations to streamline end-customer and dealer account management, as well as to strengthening the IT infrastructure we need to more efficiently deliver meaningful business and technical training to all Pakedge dealers. For example, later this year, we will roll out a more cohesive Pakedge-focused online dealer portal featuring a dynamic e-store, product knowledgebase, and learning management system – all designed to help all Pakedge dealers become industry-leading networking masters.
  • Continued Commitment to World Class Technology and Open Integration – At Pakedge we’ve always made technology development our top priority and that has not changed now that we are within Control4.  Our commitment to open integration with numerous application vendors remains strong and we have no plans to cancel or limit the breadth or depth of our integration with other solutions, including non-Control4 automation systems.  We are continuing the integration and testing work with all our partners – exchanging tests and products with manufacturers as well as engaging with their technical teams to ensure all integrations are robust.

We’re looking forward to a great year for all Pakedge dealers. I hope you join us on Thursday, March 24th at 8am (Pacific Daylight Time) to learn more.

Sincerely,

Victor Pak
Co-founder Pakedge Device & Software, Inc.

Gigabit Internet service is coming! Are you ready?

Gigabit Internet service is coming! While we have all heard about google fiber and AT&T fiber, Verizon FIOS, an announcement made by Comcast last week about a breakthrough served to accelerate the rollout of gigabit fiber. Comcast has successfully tested a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that allows them to provide gigabit internet service through its existing coax infrastructure with rollouts planned by the end of 2016.

As gigabit internet is coming, a common question is asked – what do I need to get ready? There are three things that you need to prepare – cabling, network, and client devices.

Cabling.

In order to take advantage of the maximum potential of gigabit internet, if you have wired connections – make sure your Ethernet cables in wall are Cat 5e or above. These are capable of support gigabit throughput.

Network.

One of the most critical links is in the modem and router. Usually the modem is provided by the Internet Service Provider. Some of these routers may include an all in one router and wireless, which may not work as well with our customers networks. In that case, you will need a router with a LAN to WAN throughput of close to 1 gigabit. In this case, there is only one option in the marketplace that is designed specifically for AV – the Pakedge RK1.

Now is also a good time to look at your existing switches. You will need to have 10/100/1000 (gigabit) switches throughout your network. If you have fast Ethernet switches (10/100), you will need to selectively replace those. I say selectively, because you may have parts of your network that is not concerned with gigabit service. For example, you may have a printer that is connected to a 10/100 switch.

It is also important to look at your wireless access points. You want to be on the latest 802.11ac wave 1 3 x 3 wireless. This is important because a 3 x 3 has a maximum theoretical speed of 1.3 Gbps (that is a maximum speed, but in actual usage, you will get about one half to two thirds of that due to attenuation and other real world conditions). Compared to a 2 x 2, a 3 x 3 is about 20 to 30% faster in real world use. Compared to 802.11n technology, a 3 x 3 is approximately 5 times faster. If you are going to replace your current 802.11n model to 802.11ac, please note that you may need more WAPs as the 5 GHz footprint is smaller than the 2.4 GHz footprint. Good options for a 3 x 3 wireless are the Pakedge WX-1 and WK-2 wireless access points.

RK-1-SocialMedia

 Client devices.

Finally, your client devices must be capable of supporting gigabit traffic. If you plan on streaming content to your computer, whether it is a laptop or desktop, you will need to verify that it has a gigabit port. If not, you may need a gigabit network adapter such as these –

  1.       USB to 10/100/1000 Ethernet (ideal for laptop computers or desktop computers with an available USB port) – http://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-1000-Gigabit-Ethernet-Adapter/dp/B00M77HMU0/
  2.       Gigabit Network Adapter card (for desktop computers) – http://www.amazon.com/Realtek-RTL8111C-Ethernet-Interface-SOFTWARE/dp/B007MWYCG2  

If you are connecting your computer to the network via wireless means, verify to make sure your computer has an 802.11ac adapter card such as these:

  1.       For desktop computers – http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-Archer-T6E-Wireless-Express/dp/B016K0896K
  2.       For laptop computers – http://ww.amazon.com/Bplus-7260-HMWG-Wireless-AC-Bluetooth-HMCPartner/dp/B00HJCBV64

Finally, make sure your AV streaming devices are capable of supporting gigabit traffic. Client devices connected to the network through a Ethernet cable must have a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port to pass gigabit traffic through. Client devices connected wireless must support the 5 GHz band and built on the 802.11ac technology standard. The 5 GHz is the one you will be transmitting your content on, as the 2.4 GHz is not capable of supporting that kind of speed (AC is a 5 GHz technology), and more importantly, 2.4 is subject to a lot of interference. Please note that to stream over the 5 GHz band, you may need to add more access points (assuming that your current WAPs do not have 5 GHz or may not be optimized for 5 GHz coverage

Step up your Connected Experience

Discover the Secret Ingredient for Optimizing High Tech Performance

[For residential end-users]

What do high end professional AV and smart home installers know that you don’t? High performance starts with the network.

Whether you spend $2000, $10,000 or $100,000 on an AV system or a smart home system, its performance is only as good as the network it runs on. Would you buy a high performance Lamborghini sports car and fill it with unleaded regular gasoline? Of course not, but that is exactly what you do when you use the integrated modem/router/wireless unit supplied by the Internet Service Provider, or an integrated router/wireless “all in one” unit purchased from the local electronics store.

It’s no surprise that people feel this way about the network – unlike your AV equipment or smart home system that you can see, touch, feel and experience, networking equipment is largely invisible. It sits hidden and out of mind somewhere – on a shelf, in a closet, in a basement, or in a rack, silently working 24 hours a day 365 days a year, ensuring that your services, videos, emails, get to where they are needed. The only time you think about it is when you lose connectivity, or when your system doesn’t work the way you thought it would.

But this is exactly why the network matters. It is the foundation of your smart home and your AV system. It is the single most important thing that you should never worry about. The more connected your life is, the more devices you connect, the smarter your home is, the more you use cloud based services, the more important your network becomes. If you ever experienced lower than expected download speeds, poor quality UHD video streaming, heard every other word on a conversation on a Voice over IP (VOIP) phone service, intermittent wireless connectivity, limited number of people streaming videos on the network at any one time, or your connected devices that just doesn’t seem to work well, or work consistently, then you’ve just seen the network break down. Ironically, most people don’t realize it’s a network problem, and they falsely blame the AV system or the device for the problem.

An enterprise grade network is the “secret” ingredient in pro AV and smart home installations. Here are the key reasons why:

Designed for high performance.

Enterprise class networks are purpose built for performance. They use faster CPUs and memory to process more streams of high bandwidth traffic (including UHD/4K). They incorporate advanced traffic management technologies like VLANs for traffic segmentation, prioritization algorithms to process low latency voice and video streaming traffic, IGMP protocols for multicast traffic processing, and special bandwidth management and port controls for precise throughput performance. They incorporate gigabit speed Ethernet and fiber optic ports to keep up with increasingly fast ISP speeds. They incorporate high power transmitters for seamless wireless coverage and high range, while utilizing advanced algorithms to mitigate interference. Advanced thermal management technologies keep the network equipment cool and running efficiently over its lifetime.

Your system, your way.

No two AV systems or smart homes are exactly alike. No one has the same devices you do, connected to the network the way you do, support the same applications you have, and operated in the same site conditions you have. Unlike consumer grade networks, enterprise class systems give you full control and allow your network to be fully customized, configured and tuned for maximum performance, taking into consideration your specific devices, applications, usage patterns and site conditions. As your needs and network changes in the future, enterprise class networks can be retuned and optimized. 

Scalable and future ready.

Is your network ready for the future? Change is constant. How you use your network today is not the same as how you used your network five years ago, and five years from now. New devices, new applications, and new services are being developed and launched into the marketplace every day. Enterprise grade networks are built to scale and adapt to planned and unplanned traffic increases and applications. Faster CPUs and memory, gigabit data ports, Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports, and full configuration management enable you to integrate almost everything into your network, its functional usefulness, and can hold off obsolescence.

Reliability.

Consumer grade network equipment is designed around low price points and profit margins to target the “good enough” mass market customer. This is accomplished by restricting performance, limiting features, using lower grade components, offer short warranties and limited tech support. Some brands are nothing more than marketing brands, with their logos on a generic “white box” product made in Asia. In contrast, enterprise grade equipment uses higher grade components with tighter manufacturing and performance tolerances to withstand heavy duty conditions. They use higher grade memory and CPUs, manufactured with the latest semiconductor fabrication techniques. They incorporate features like WAN failover and port link aggregation to ensure service continuity.  They provide firmware updates on a regular basis in order to address bug fixes and performance optimizations.

Pro level support.

In order for consumer grade equipment manufacturers to maintain profitability at the low price points they sell the equipment at, they have to minimize costs. For example with tech support, most companies make it hard for you to talk to a live tech support person, and attempt to drive you towards a website /online self-service support system. Those that provide telephone based tech support, do so with undertrained, low paid “script readers” in an overseas call center. Enterprise grade manufacturers employ a two level tech support model – tech support is provided to the end user through a local authorized reseller and distributor, who is trained and certified by the manufacturer, who knows your system, has installed it and can fix it right the first time. In turn, the manufacturer provides dedicated tech support to the authorized reseller and distributor, through its fully trained and experienced tech support staff. These teams typically work closely with engineering to resolve complex issues. As products get more complex, a frequent issue is compatibility with other manufacturers’ products. Enterprise tech support teams work with other manufacturers’ tech support teams in a coordinated manner to resolve issues.

Lifetime value.

Although enterprise grade equipment is initially more expensive than consumer grade equipment, it provides a much better value over the system’s lifetime, an overall lower total cost of ownership and a better investment. It is more reliable and lasts longer. They have longer warranties so you are protected longer. It is scalable, expandable, and can be tuned/optimized to support your needs as your network expands so it doesn’t get obsolete in a couple of years. Many manufacturers offer free lifetime technical support and firmware updates so that your system is always supported.

Never settle for less.

Network professionals and industry magazines have spoken. For three years in a row, Pakedge has been voted brand leader of AV networking. More than a manufacturer, Pakedge is made up of innovators. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the California brand designs and builds the highest quality devices with the value added bonus of sophisticated intelligence features that optimize your network.

Luxury-Pakedge-SocMedia

 

Webinar: Expert Specifications

Choosing the Right Product for Your Job.

Learn to analyze job sites and choose the right Pakedge products based on environmental and structural limitations and integration needs. This one hour webinar will include a checklist of all you need to know in order to spec your network properly.

We will review:

  • Building materials
  • Floorplans
  • Product capabilities
  • MAC filter stationary devices (touch panels, etc.)
  • Third party device integration (e.g. Sonos, Control4, Creston)
  • How to quickly inspect an estimate of what would be needed for the job (sq ft based)
  • Validate port count to choose the right amount of switches

 

Tuesday Dec. 15, 2015
7:00 AM (San Francisco -8 GMT)

Thursday Dec. 17, 2015
9:00 AM (San Francisco -8 GMT)

Sign Up Sign Up

 

Can’t make it? You can always ask a Pakedge sales rep. for a link to the recording. Recording are available a day or two after each webinar. Contact: sales@pakedge.com or (650)385-8702

Cottage.

The project of residential house. 3D image.

2×2, 3×3? What’s the difference?

Why should I choose a 3×3 Access Point over a 2×2 Access Point?

In October, Pakedge announced the release of its WX line of 3 x3 802.11 ac wireless access points (AP) designed for high-end residential and commercial applications. At the CEDIA Expo in mid October, we previewed the WK-2, a 3×3 version of our popular 802.11ac WK-1 AP. The WK-2 will be released early December.

Hello-wireless

What does 3×3 mean?

It is common to see AP product descriptions with 2×2 or 3×3. The first number is the number of transmit antennas while the second number refers to the number of receive  antennas.  For example, our WX-1 AP is 3×3, which means that it has 3 transmit antennas and 3 receive antennas.

Sometimes you will see a third number at the end preceded by a colon (e.g. 3×3:3).  The last number refers to the number of spatial streams – the number of independent wireless data transmissions that are sent over the antennas on the same channel.  These spatial streams are fundamental to MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antenna technology which takes multiple copies of the same data signal and transmits them through physically distinct paths to a receiver which recombines the signal from the various streams. In the example of our WX-1, which is a 3×3:3 WAP, it is capable of transmitting and receiving 3 simultaneous streams of information on a single channel.

In both cases, the numbers should not be confused with the number of radios inside the WAP. There are two radios – one for the 2.4 GHz transmissions, and one for the 5 GHz transmissions.

How does a 3×3 AP provide more performance than a 2×2 AP?

All things equal, you can expect more performance from a 3×3 AP than a 2×2 for several reasons. First, for a 802.11ac AP, a 3×3 AP provides a maximum throughput is 1.3 Gbps (3 x 433 Mbps) versus 867 Mbps (2 x 433 Mbps) for a 2 x 2. Note that the maximum speeds are used for reference purposes. In real life applications, the actual throughputs observed are significantly less due to attenuation, and other factors.

Second, the increase in the number of antennas help improve signal link quality and reliability through a technique called spatial diversity. Because the antennas are physically separated from each other, each antenna sees a slightly different copy of the signal. The signal seen by one antenna may be slightly imperfect in one area of the transmission while the other antenna may see it perfectly. This is especially significant in environments where the RF environment is less than ideal due to site geometry, building materials, and interference.

Our resellers have said that they’ve seen performance gains of anywhere from 10 to 30% in the field.

How would a 3×3 make a performance difference if the client device is a 1×1?

The performance benefits are clear when you have a 3×3 AP paired with a 3×3 client device like an Apple MacBook Pro, but what about a 1×1:1 device like the Apple iPhone?  In this case, there are no MIMO gains from the additional spatial streams. However, there are still performance improvements to be had with a 3×3 AP versus a 2×2 AP.

The first improvement occurs on the AP side through a technique called Space Time Block Coding.  Since the 3 x 3 AP knows that it is only transmitting to a 1×1 client, it uses the leftover antenna chains to break up and transmit blocks of data to ensure that the client device can reconstruct the original signal even if parts of some streams get lost during transmission.

The second improvement occurs at the AP end. Even though a 1×1 client can only send 1 stream, that single stream bounces off walls, furniture, and other objects to arrive at the AP’s three receiving antennas as separate signals.  The AP uses the same signal recombination algorithm (discussed earlier – called MRC) to take the signal received on each antenna chain and piece together the original data signal by combining the strongest segments from each chain.

Based on our testing with the 3×3:3 WX-1 paired to a 1×1:1 device in a real world environment, we observed a 14 to 34% throughput improvement when these features were enabled.

Fast and Easy Network Setup in Just 15 Minutes – The Power of the Connect+ Platform.

High Performance Networks that Optimize Traffic and are Easy to Setup

A year ago, Pakedge unveiled it’s vision for the next generation AV network. Called the Pakedge Connect+ platform, it is comprised of Pakedge hardware and select 3rd party devices that are overlaid with a layer of software intelligence that interconnect the hardware to optimize performance and ease of use.

In 2015, this vision became a reality through a series of consecutive product releases – the RE2 router in January, the WK  access points in May, the SX switches and BakPak 3.0 in June. In the second half of 2015, we continued with the launch of the SK series of switches in July and the WX series of wireless access points in October. We will close out 2015 with the RK1 router and WK2 (wireless access point) product releases.

At the 2015 CEDIA Expo, we showcased one tiny, but powerful real life example of what a network platform can do – setting up a complex high performance network in just a few minutes. With this one example, we showed the power of the platform:

  • End to end integration of protocols, processes, and intelligence across multiple devices,
  • Automated implementation and consistent application of these throughout the network
  • Complex processes masked by intelligence, engineering, integration and automation

We chose the network setup with virtual local area networks (VLANs) as our showcase demo because it is relevant to both our dealers and their customers. One of the secrets to a high performance AV network is the use of VLANs to segment the different types of network traffic. But many dealers shy away from specifying and using VLANs because they are hard to setup correctly and apply consistently across the network. Using Pakedge Zones, enabled through the Connect+ platform, Pakedge has provided dealers with a foolproof and automated way to segment traffic for high performance AV networking, and to do a complete network setup in under 15 minutes!

Demo Video and Webinar

If you missed our demo at the CEDIA Expo, or wasn’t able to attend the Expo, or just want to see it again, we made this short 5 minute video (see below) of a fast and easy network setup with Pakedge Zones to highlight just one simple but powerful example of the Pakedge Connect+ platform.

PakedgeZones-EasySetup_still

We will also be hosting two training webinars in November highlighting this application in more detail. The dates and times are listed below. Please click on the most convenient date to register.

Webinar: Setting up a complete Pakedge network in less than 20 minutes!

November 17, 2015 (Tuesday) – 7 a.m. PST (10 a.m. EST)

November 19, 2015 (Thursday) – 9 a.m. PST (12 noon EST)

If you have any questions or would like more information after watching this video, please visit our Pakedge Zones webpage, Connect+ webpage, or contact us at sales@pakedge.com or call us directly at +1-650-385-8702.

In the coming months, we will be showcasing different applications enabled by the Pakedge Connect+ platform. Please check back regularly to see more.

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