The Top Secret Recipe for “Wireless Done Right”
By Jim Holt
Somewhere inscribed in pencil on a yellowed piece of paper inside a Louisville, Kentucky safe is Colonel Sanders’ Original Recipe of eleven herbs and spices, says KFC spokesman Rick Maynard. The safe lies inside a state-of-the-art vault that is surrounded by motion detectors, cameras and guards.
Many of the top technology and consumer product “Brands” we enjoy have these top-secret recipes, formulas or algorithms and they go to great legal lengths to protect them.
We’re not talking about that kind of recipe for wireless in this blog.
We are talking about navigating the paradox of a nearly infinite set of choices including following expert best practices, guidance, checklists, equipment, and configuration choices. And it all depends on “what kind of wireless you want to make”. In the major enterprise wireless technologies, there are many thousands of choices and rules depending on your requirements and your indoor and outdoor environment.
It’s almost like other recipes, in that we need to first decide what you’re going to make or build. Do you want to “make” (enable) – Voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN) or do you want Real-time Locating System (RTLS) for Tracking or Way-Finding? Or maybe you are trying to create High Density performance and an environment friendly to Mobility and fast Roaming. Maybe you were charged with automating a corporate security policy into the network with monitoring, alerting and reporting against a risk framework. What happens when you or your team pick combinations or all of the above related to those requirements and the list of more?
Requirements, location of access points, power, channels, antennas, mounting choices and all of those many configuration settings create a real paradox of choice. It gets worse when you haven’t been “through the drill” and today’s choices aren’t the same as they’ve been for you in past. Confronted with a nearly unlimited selection of options, only the most experienced people and in our case engineers, will make the right choices for the requirements and the physical environment.
And if you don’t make the right choices or begin to experiment, what happens? You get a daily or weekly recurring troubleshooting exercise, possibly performed by the same people involved when decisions created or permitted the trouble to exist in the first place. And frustrated by a growing list of user complaints and escalations, you finally search for best practices or switch to a new recipe that disagreed with the old one.
So now we need to know more about the author of the recipe or best practice you’re either following or about to follow? Is the common phrase in your enterprise; “I followed the best practice exactly, and it failed.” When the assessments and audits begin later; it is so common to hear phrases like; “it was more convenient to locate the access point here” or “the only place I could install it was there”. “I ran out of time, so I let the auto feature select everything”, “it seemed like no big deal and besides, it was recommended by the best practice I was reading”, and “it took way less time than doing those suggested manual overrides”.
In the face of expert advice, it’s easy to say, “that’s what I did,” and it didn’t work. Usually you didn’t follow that advice exactly. By the way, if by chance your physical RF layer is wrong, you’re mostly wasting time, thinking you’ll fix it from settings in your connected laptop.
What if you re-did your plan from the start, embracing real RF and WLAN experts? Maybe you also decide to be a student and learn along the way. After that experience, and if you invest in the right tools and the right training, then go ahead and see what happens when you do wireless the right way yourself, you’ll never go back to “Bad-Fi” again.
If you have a critical problem, we’ll be able to identify the required fix fast and if we follow the “Wireless Done Right” recipe, it will be like magic in meeting or exceeding those requirements. A Google search, will give you unlimited access to technology and best practices, not all of them agree and therefore not all of them work, especially in your unique physical environment.
There is a “Wireless Done Right” recipe, it’s not handwritten, it’s not in a safe. It changes slightly over time as the technology changes; we’ll walk you through it. The hard part about getting good advice isn’t getting it. It’s following it.
Steps one in the recipe – Let’s talk!