Wireless Communication - Who Needs it Anyway?

17th Mar 2017

Well, I guess these guys do…

‘Tis the early spring holiday season and I’ve been on my travels.  As with my colleague, Jim Lucking, who posted a blog on holiday hotel WiFi recently, we get intrigued when we see ‘interesting’ installations which we can’t help feeling would benefit from a bit of wireless technology!

To protect the innocent, no details on where the above banner photo was taken but it’s not too hard to figure out that it wasn’t in the UK!  I’ve travelled to many places where overhead network cabling is quite common - there’s a lot of it in the US for example - but I’ve not seen quite this density of cabling before and felt compelled to make a record of it.

So many questions 

The question that springs to mind is ‘how much of this cabling is actually in use/functional?’  That one is quickly followed by ‘if a truck drove into this pole and took it down, how many people/businesses would lose service?’ and ‘if an individual loses service, how do you figure out where the fault is and how to fix it?’ or ‘what happens if someone ‘borrows’ one of those amplifiers hanging in there?’  How about security?

While it would look extremely difficult to put wiretaps on any of the pairs here, once they were in they’d be near impossible to detect!  The list is endless and bounded only by your imagination.  Still, the picture was taken in a large, thriving city so clearly it works.  Hard though to get away from the idea of a Wide Area Metro Wireless solution to replace large chunks of the wired network and tidy up the vista in the process.

The problem with the above is that the logistics of making such a change are probably an order of magnitude more challenging than the technology required to implement it…

Closer to home

Somewhat intractable problems aside, no-one ever has this sort of spaghetti in their business networks, right? 

Not exactly...

Once more, no names mentioned to protect the innocent, but this was left behind for the incoming business by the outgoing folks.  Sadly, other areas were worse with the cables simply having been cut short!

It was all labelled up of course (not).  Fun and games then for the incoming IT manager who has to figure out where all this stuff comes from/goes to before he can decide whether it’s useful or not.

So, I’ve had my fun (at other folks expense) but there is a serious side to all this.  Business networks are increasingly mission critical with ever increasing demands for 24x7 operation and many an FD worrying about the financial cost of the network being out of action for even relatively short periods.

The key to it all, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, is to decide on your key needs up front.  The point is that the thinking has to go beyond the day-to-day capacity or coverage requirements and build in security (physical and cybersecurity), management, maintainability, support, provision for future growth, and so on. Then the network can be designed and implemented to meet those needs reliably now and into the future.

Get this right and the picture, even after many years, should be a long, long way from the rather attractive street scene above…

What Next?

If you are planning to deploy an enterprise-grade wireless network or are experiencing problems with a existing setup, please feel free to contact Ensign Communications for a chat with our technical team.