Bob O’Hara

I’m retired.  That means I am so busy now I don’t know how I ever had time for a full-time job.  I retired from Cisco, who had acquired the company I started with three colleagues.  That company was Airespace.  Airespace was a venture-funded startup, funded by Storm Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and Battery Ventures.  We invented the centralized controller architecture for 802.11 wireless LANs, making it much easier to deploy, manage, and operate large wireless LANs, like those found in big companies, schools, and universities.

Bio – Expert Witness

Well, I am not completely retired.  I provide services as an expert witness. I have provided expert witness services in two areas.  The first area is interpreting the application of various patents and whether they are essential to the practice of the IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN standard.  The second area is interpreting the policies and rules of various standard setting organizations, such as the IEEE Standards Association, and how they may be abused in an anti-competitive manner.  I also provide consulting services to companies developing wireless communication products.

Bio – Consulting

I have also been consulting with Facebook on their Terragraph wireless project.  Terragraph is a technology to provide multi-gigabit internet backbone distribution using commercial 802.11ad chipsets that operate in the 60 GHz unlicensed band.  Terragraph distributes internet backbone connectivity to businesses and hotspots in dense, urban environments.  It applies particularly well where it is either inappropriate or cost-prohibitive to use fiber optic cable for internet distribution.

Bio – Standards and Wi-Fi

Prior to founding Airespace, I ran my own independent consulting business, aiding client companies to define and implement strategies to standardize local area networking technologies. I contributed significantly to both the Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) and power line networking standards during this period. My introduction to Wi-Fi technology occurred while I was employed by AMD, where I contributed to the development of the first commercial chipset for the Wi-Fi standard. Also while at AMD, I was a field application engineer, working each day with our customers, often in their development labs, helping them to apply AMD’s chips in their products and solve the problems they encountered during their product developments.

Bio – Secret Stuff

Before AMD, I spent several years as an engineer at Fairchild Space and Electronics and at TRW Defense and Space Systems Group.  At Fairchild, I developed military avionic systems.  At TRW, I was involved in the development of systems that Tom Clancy wrote about in The Hunt for Red October.

Bio – Jazz

But, the part that may be of most interest is the five years I was a member of the Bowie (Maryland) High School Starliners Jazz Band. The Starliners was a 25-piece jazz band, run as an extracurricular activity by volunteer director Col. Joseph Carley (USAF, Ret.). The band played dance gigs 4-6 times a month, to provide the income for uniforms, music, and transportation to jazz festivals. I was a reed man (alto sax, clarinet, and flute). My passion for jazz began in this band. I started playing in the Starliners when I was only 13, a few years before even getting into the high school. Only when I eventually realized how difficult it would be to earn a living as a musician did I finally select electrical engineering as my major in college and my career.